'Fast & Furious 7' Gets New Release Date

7:01 PM PST 12/22/2013 by Rebecca Ford
Universal Pictures

UPDATED: Star Vin Diesel posted on Facebook that the movie will be released April 10, 2015, following a delay in production due to Paul Walker's death; a source confirms the late actor will appear in the movie.

Fast & Furious 7 will be released April 10, 2015, star Vin Diesel announced Sunday night on Facebook.

Universal had put production on the film on hold indefinitely after star Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash on Nov. 30. It had originally been slotted to open July 11.

Diesel wrote: "The last scene we filmed together … There was a unique sense of completion, of pride we shared … in the film we were now completing … the magic captured … and, in just how far we've come … Fast and Furious 7 will be released … April 10th 2015! P.S. He'd want you to know first … "

PHOTOS: Paul Walker's Career in Pictures

An informed source confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Walker will appear in Fast & Furious 7, but further details were not immediately available.

The 40-year-old Walker, who was on Thanksgiving break from shooting Fast & Furious 7, was at a charity car show when he hopped into the passenger seat of a limited-edition red Porsche. His friend, Roger Rodas, 38, had been driving the car when it crashed on Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia. Both Walker and Rodas died in the crash. (Investigators have ruled out debris or mechanical failure as causes of the crash and are looking at speed alone.)

After two days of emergency meetings, Universal announced that the production of the seventh film would be put on hold so that the shocked and bereaved cast and crew could have time to mourn and the filmmakers could assess how the film would need to be changed.

PHOTOS: Paul Walker and Other Notable Deaths of 2013

Sources told THR that executives were trying to find a way to salvage footage already shot for Fast & Furious 7 instead of starting fresh. But experts say that either way, this tragic twist could lead to the largest insurance claim in Hollywood history.

Sources say writer Chris Morgan and director James Wan (who took over the franchise from Justin Lin) began crafting revisions to the script that Universal execs hope can retire Walker's character from the series using scenes already shot.

The seventh installment in the series was to star Walker, Diesel and many of the other franchise regulars including Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson.

Walker, known for playing ex-cop Brian O'Conner in the car action franchise -- sources say he made $8.5 million for Fast 6 and between $9 million and $13 million for Fast 7 plus backend -- had also starred in Varsity Blues, Pleasantville and Hours, which opened in theaters in limited release this past weekend.

Kim Masters contributed to this report.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford

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