Engines are going idle on the filming of "Fast & Furious 7" after the tragic death of star Paul Walker in a car crash Saturday.
Walker's death, which has been determined to be accidental, stunned the Hollywood community over the weekend. The L.A. County Coroner ruled today that the 40-year-old actor died of traumatic and thermal injuries; he did not die immediately upon impact.
Walker was on a break from filming "Fast & Furious 7," and amid speculation as to the fate of the Universal tentpole, the studio has revealed that it has put production on indefinite hold. The planned July 11, 2014, release will almost certainly be pushed back.
"Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended 'Fast & Furious' family of cast, crew and filmmakers," the studio announced in a release.
"At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on 'Fast & Furious 7' for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping 'Fast & Furious' fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker."
Given how lucrative the "Fast and the Furious" franchise has been, Universal is likely to find some way to complete it. All big movies have insurance to cover tragedies like Walker's death, so the studio could scrap everything and start over without losing the tens of millions of dollars it's already spent on production.
Insiders tell TheWrap that Universal and the producers might not make a decision for weeks. Many options are on the table, though using special effects to put Walker's face on another actor's body is apparently not one of them.
Meanwhile, proceeds from the "Fast & Furious 6" DVD, which will be released December 10, will go to Walker's charity, Reach Out WorldWide. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the actor founded ROWW to create a network of people with first-responder skills.
[via THR, TheWrap, TMZ, THR]