Fast And Furious Director Recalls Paul Walker’s Final Movie Ideas

Now, as Justin Lin prepares to work on the final two movies for the main storyline, he's opening up about those early talks he had with Paul Walker about Fast and Furious's eventual ending.

By Faith McKay | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Director Justin Lin has been a major influence on the Fast and Furious movies so far. After making The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, he got to work on the 2009 film, Fast & Furious (the fourth one) with stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. It was during the filming of this first Fast Saga project for Justin Lin that Paul Walker first brought up the franchise’s eventual ending. Now, as Justin Lin prepares to work on the final two movies for the main storyline, he’s opening up about those early talks he had with Paul Walker.

“Even with Paul, back in 2008, we started, I think it was over dinner, I think it was over dinner in Mexico, he had brought up, ‘Well, what would be the final film?’ And, we would talk,” Justin Lin told Insider. He went on to share that ideas for a comedy short film had been discussed, where Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker’s character) would have been a much older version of the character. Justin Lin said, “At one point, we were gonna make a short film and it was going to be a comedy. It was gonna be ‘Fast 68‘ and it was going to be Brian O’Connor with the walker. It was this whole joke. We had the whole thing.”

Tragically, Paul Walker passed away in a car accident in 2013. Justin Lin didn’t share if the idea for the Fast And Furious short had been dropped before his death or if his passing was the reason the comedy never happened, but it certainly would have been something that fans would have loved to see online. The franchise has always embraced ideas that many would see as going too far. A joke about Fast 68 would have been fun.

As the interview continued, Justin Lin seemed to be careful about how much he shared about what Paul Walker had to say about the ending for Fast And Furious. This may have been just been because the filmmaker was following his own thoughts, or because he didn’t want to go too far down memory lane while discussing his late friend, but it does seem to imply that perhaps some of what Paul Walker had to say when discussing the franchise’s end is on his mind as he begins working on the final two movies. This kind of reflection can be seen in the interview as he went on to say, “But now sitting here talking to you, I think when Vin finally… said, ‘Let’s do it,’ I felt like, ‘Wow.’ There’s an added layer to that because this conversation has been, oh, it’s been over 10 years. And, when we started, Paul was a big part of that conversation and so I really wanted to hopefully do justice to that.”

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Where does Justin Lin feel like they’re at when it comes to the final Fast And Furious movies? He said, “I think in spirit, I definitely feel like we have it and I think now it’s about: How can we do that in a respectful way and bring that to life?” While the movies are known for being over-the-top, with spectacular chase scenes that defy ideas of concepts like gravity, they’ve also had to deal with some big ideas when it comes to handling things respectfully. The passing of Paul Walker was one of those moments. It’ll be interesting to see what topics the final movies need to work with handling in a respectful way as the franchise closes out.

The filmmaker doesn’t expect that closing out the franchise after all this time will be an easy task. When Paul Walker made jokes about Fast 68, they were still only on the fourth movie for the Fast And Furious franchise and it was 2008. At the time, it sounds like he was surprised at how big it had become. If he knew that in 2022 the franchise would be gearing up for an ending that will span Fast 10 and Fast 11, he’d probably be shocked. Right now, Justin Lin is heading home to work on the final two movies. About the work ahead of him, he said, “It has a challenge to it that I think [of] in a positive way. If it was easy, then something’s wrong. So, it’s a struggle every day, but I think it’s worth going after.”

When Justin Lin talks about the final Fast and Furious movies ahead of him, he focuses on the responsibility of that story, and is clearly recalling conversations he had with Paul Walker and the rest of the cast leading up to this moment. He has a lot of important decisions to make. When fans look ahead to the end of the movies, the conversation quickly jumps to some of the more outrageous possibilities for what could happen in the story. In F9, audiences saw two characters hop into a car meant for roadways travel into orbit and knock on a space station’s door for help. The idea started off as a joke, and then the people behind the movie asked the most perfect of questions: “Why not?” Now, of course, they have the difficult challenge ahead of topping stunts like this. Will they head into space again? Will time travel be involved? (Yes, that’s an actual rumor.) No one knows how they’ll find ways to blow audiences’ minds, but everyone wants to see it happen.

In one of the sweeter notes of speculation, many are hoping that Paul Walker’s daughter, Meadow Walker, may appear in one of the final two Fast and Furious movies. When asked about it, Vin Diesel said, “I would not count anything out.” That seems to be both Vin Diesel’s and Justin Lin’s response to any Fast Saga questions though. Justin Lin said something similar (“I never say never to anything”) when discussing a Fast and Furious and Jurassic Park crossover, so truly, anything is possible.