After weeks of questions and production delays, Universal Pictures has decided to move forward with "Fast & Furious 7" with
The late star will feature prominently in the sequel, the studio suggested in an announcement late Sunday. "
It is not clear how the script will be reworked to accommodate the absence of Walker, who died in a car crash on Nov. 30. Universal executives and lead producer Neal Moritz suspended production for the past three weeks as they convened to determine how to proceed without the actor, who is believed to have shot only about half his scenes before his death. There is no word yet on the resumption of production.
PHOTOS: Celebrities react to the death of Paul Walker
The announcement puts to rest rumors that filmmakers would start again from scratch with Walker's scenes removed; industry experts believed that, for a variety of reasons, filmmakers wanted Walker in the new film and would find a way to make that happen.
While the release delay could somewhat dim Walker in the public consciousness, April has historically been a good month for the franchise. "Fast & Furious 5" and "Fast & Furious" each came out in April and went on to become the second- and third-highest grossing movies in the series.
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT