Paul Walker: Fast & Furious 7 to go ahead despite death of star

The new film's release will be delayed until after July 2014

The seventh instalment of the big-budget Fast and Furious film franchise is to continue production, despite the death of its star Paul Walker in a car accident this weekend.

The 40-year-old actor was killed on Saturday afternoon when the Porsche he was riding in struck a lamppost and burst into flames in Santa Clarita, near Los Angeles.

The new film, which was due to be released in July 2014, will be subject to a delay. According to The Hollywood Reporter, its director James Wan and executives from Universal Studios held a meeting by phone on Sunday to determine what needed to be done to  complete the film yet also remain respectful to Walker's memory.

The actor had been on a break from filming in Atlanta during the Thanksgiving holiday, but he and his fellow cast members - among them Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson - were planning to return to the set yesterday. Shooting is now expected to recommence later this week at the earliest. Though much of the film was already complete, production was scheduled to shift to Abu Dhabi in January.

Walker played undercover agent Brian O'Conner in all but one of the six Fast and Furious movies, which have collectively grossed around $2.4bn (£1.5bn) worldwide. The promotion of the next movie in the series is likely to prove problematic, given the films' focus on spectacular car stunts.

Walker was a passenger in the Porsche Carrera GT owned and driven by his friend and business partner Roger Rodas, who was also killed in the collision. Tyrese Gibson, who stars in the Fast and Furious series alongside Walker, was visibly emotional when he visited the crash site on Sunday to pay tribute to his friend.

Universal Pictures released a statement following the news of Walker's death, saying, "Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans."

Further reading:

Star of Fast and Furious films killed in Los Angeles

Profile: Paul Walker

Paul Walker: A Career in Pictures