Fast & Furious 7 was meant to speed into theaters this week, but the sudden and tragic death of franchise star Paul Walker brought the film to a screeching halt, as his cast and crew members mourned his loss, and debated whether or not to continue the series without him.
Eventually, the decision was made to resume production, delay the release, and alter Walker’s role to give his character a proper send-off, while completing his work by using his real-life brothers as stand-ins.
Now, after what must have been a truly emotionally grueling production, filming has finally wrapped. To commemorate the occasion and to pay tribute to Walker, the cast has released an official letter to the fans, via the film’s official Facebook page:
“We made it.
Today we completed the last shot in the production of FAST & FURIOUS 7.
We wanted to take this moment to express how thankful we are for your support. We felt the love and strength from our fans throughout this journey, and it’s because of you that we got here.
There was a time when we didn’t know how we could go on, or even if we should. But we listened to you, and you inspired us not only to keep going but to try and make the best FAST & FURIOUS movie yet.
Our FAST family has been together for almost fifteen years now and has grown a lot in that time. From the start, Vin has been our leader who feels what’s right for FAST in his gut and in his heart. When we had to stop production last year, Vin gathered us back together and moved us forward when we needed it most. He led us to this day.
Some of us have been here from the very beginning. Vin, Michelle, Jordana and our producer Neal all go back to that first little movie we shot on the streets of LA. We came back to LA in FAST 7, and it was an especially emotional homecoming for those who’ve grown up with each other since that first shoot.
There are those we count as brothers who we gathered along the way and are with us again: Dwayne, Tyrese, Luda, Lucas and our writer, Chris. We’ve got some new additions this time in Jason, Kurt, Djimon, Nathalie and our director, James. Caleb and Cody joined us to honor their brother and help complete his work.
Our family is big and strong but it won’t ever quite be whole again without Paul.
All of us — those who’ve been here from the start and those whose first FAST film is 7 — wanted to create a special film for him and for you. We believe we have.
Thank you for being there for us. You are the biggest part of our family, and we couldn’t have gotten here without you.
The countdown to April 3 begins.
Your FAST & FURIOUS Family”
Fast & Furious 7 will finally arrive in theaters a week earlier than originally expected, on April 3, 2015. Directed by Insidious and Saw helmer James Wan, the film stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Kurt Russell, Ronda Rousey, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris.