Paul Walker is tragically gone, but he's not about to be forgotten. Nearly a month after he lost his life in a fiery car crash, the star is still front and center in the minds of his "Fast & Furious" family.
Vin Diesel took to Facebook to share a never-before-seen picture from his final scene with his fallen friend from the set of "Fast & Furious 7," and also announced the sequel's new release date:
"Fast and Furious 7 will be released… April 10th 2015!" he declared before adding, "P.s. He'd want you to know first…"
Universal released an official statement that confirmed both Diesel's announcement, as well as the fact that the late Walker will still have a prominent role and share top billing.
"Continuing with the global exploits in the franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead the returning cast of 'Fast & Furious 7,'" the studio announced.
Fans of Diesel, Walker and the "Fast and Furious" series reacted positively and emotionally to Vin's post, which has already drawn over 1 million likes and 22,000 comments.
There is definitely something eerie about the shot. The actors wear solemn expressions and appear to be captivated by a reddish light — that could be a blaze — off-screen. Still, there is a certain camaraderie that shines through.
"The last scene we filmed together," Diesel explained. "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."
Co-star Ludacris was quick to echo Vin's sentiments, sharing his news via Instagram. "As #TeamPW promised, we want to keep you updated on Paul," he wrote. "For all the @fastandfuriousmovie fans who have been asking, #VinDiesel just announced #FF7's new release date."
[Related: Big Questions Following Paul Walker's Death]
While Universal always intended for "Fast & Furious 7" to roll on following Walker's Nov. 30 death, insiders told Yahoo Movies there were several factors at play in determining how filmmakers would proceed.
Shooting had been under way since September, but there were several scenes with Walker that had not been filmed. According to sources involved in the film, about two-thirds of the script needed to be rewritten to accommodate Walker's loss. In the days after his death, production was shut down immediately, and the original release date of July 11, 2014 was scrapped. Meanwhile, writers and the film's brain trust (studio execs, producers, director James Wan, and Diesel, in consultation with Walker's family) scrambled to come up with the best option to revamp the film in a manner that would be respectful to the late star.
So, while Walker's death continues to sadden fans, at least now they know (definitively) that in the spring of 2015, they will get the chance to ride with him one last time.