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'Fast 9' director Justin Lin says he 'constantly' thinks about the 'most respectful way' to honor Paul Walker in the franchise

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Justin Lin talks Fast 9
Justin Lin speaks with Insider about how much he "constantly" considers the right way to honor Paul Walker's legacy in the "Fast" franchise. Universal Pictures
  • Justin Lin told Insider he "constantly" considers how to honor Paul Walker in the Fast franchise.

  • "Fast 9" director talks to star Vin Diesel, double and triple-checking how they're paying respect.

  • There's a "constant discourse" on how to handle Walker's character as they close the Fast saga.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Paul Walker's legacy is in good hands with director Justin Lin at the helm of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise.

"It is something that I constantly think about," the "F9" director told Insider over Zoom on Saturday when asked about honoring Walker and his character Brian O'Conner in the latest installment of the "Fast" saga.

"I'm talking to Vin [Diesel]. Especially on nine, it was something I kept making sure I'm double checking, triple checking," Lin continued. "Every day, up until like we finally lock and deliver the movie, I was still having that conversation to make sure that, at the end of the day, I have to be OK with the fact that whatever process I went to, I'm doing it in the most respectful way."

Walker died at the age of 40 in 2013 after he was involved in a single-car accident.

The late actor starred in six of the nine "Fast and the Furious" films as an FBI agent who went rogue, alongside Diesel's Dominic Toretto.

dom and brian
Dom and Brian decide to outrace a car snob in the first "Fast and the Furious" film. Universal Pictures

The two played on-screen spiritual brothers, who became just as close in real life - Diesel was even chosen to be the godfather of Walker's daughter, Meadow.

Walker was last seen in 2015's "Furious 7," which was dedicated to the actor.

Recently, Walker's brother, Cody, who helped finish Paul's role in "Furious 7," told TMZ that Diesel and the Fast Family have "done a really good job at tastefully letting the character ride off into the sunset."

"I think Paul would really get a kick out of where it's gone," Cody said of the franchise.

When "F9" (which was released in China in May) finally arrives in North American theaters on June 25, the film will also pay tribute to Walker in subtle and larger ways, including at least one moment that may make fans a bit emotional.

Lin, in addition to directing "F9," is overseeing the final two films in the main "Fast & Furious" saga.

In the next two "Fast" films, it sounds like we'll continue to feel the presence of Walker's character in some way as Lin is making sure the same care is taken to honor the actor's legacy moving forward.

"As we're moving into closing the saga, obviously there's a lot of different options," Lin said of how the next two sequels can respectfully address O'Conner.

"It's a constant discourse, I would say," he continued. "I hope that, whatever we choose, it continues to be done with the kind of thoughtfulness and respect that I hope to bring."

Lin was ready to be done with the franchise after 'Fast 6'

Justin Lin Fast 9
Justin Lin on the set of "F9" with director of photography, Stephen F. Windon. Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures

Lin, who previously directed four films in the franchise (three through six), told Insider he really didn't plan on coming back to the franchise after 2013's "Fast 6."

"I really did mean it when I left," Lin said. "Han [played by Sung Kang] and I left. We were not coming back. The studio has always been really gracious in always checking in to see how I was feeling. I, very much, I didn't want to come back unless it was for the right reason."

Lin said he and Diesel kept in touch over the years and the actor would always end up talking about Dom.

"And I thought, it was cool. We could talk about Dom, but I'm out," Lin said.

Justin Lin and Vin Diesel behind the scenes fast 9 f9
Justin Lin with "F9" star Vin Diesel. Lin previously directed four "Fast" films, starting with "Tokyo Drift." Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures

What brought him back to do not one, but three more films in the franchise?

Fittingly, it was family.

"It wasn't until the idea of further exploring this theme of family, but through blood that excited me because I knew that if we were going to do that, there was a really great chance that we were going to be able to kind of go back and explore and solidify some of the origins of this mythology," Lin said.

"Fast 9" introduces Dominic Toretto's younger brother, Jakob (John Cena), for the first time in the franchise. Part of the mystery in the ninth film is how we've never heard of the younger Toretto until now given that family is at the core of Dom's code.

John Cena Jakob Toretto fast 9
John Cena plays Jakob Toretto, Dom's estranged younger brother, in "F9." Universal Pictures



"I think those are the two things that got me excited to say, 'Wow' on a part nine," Lin said. "We've never done this and we've never done it this way."

Vin Diesel convinced Lin to stick around to finish out the 'Fast' saga

Lin said once he agreed to do "F9," Diesel wouldn't let him go.

"Once I kind of agreed, Vin kind of pulled me aside and he said, 'You're not leaving,'" Lin said, laughing. "We're finishing this thing up."

fast fam f9 fast 9 vin diesel justin lin
Vin Diesel and Justin Lin on set of "F9." Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures

"I've always felt like when we do these movies, especially when we started, a sequel was not a given. If we were able to earn one, let me think of it as one at a time," he added, saying that's not the approach they took for the next three films.

Lin said they've been discussing the final chapter of the franchise "for the last nine or so years," something that excites him.

For fans, it's probably comforting to hear that Lin and Diesel have been mapping out the final trilogy of the now $6 billion Fast Saga for a long time. We've seen what happens when you don't have a trilogy plan in place for a billion-dollar movie franchise like "Star Wars."

"F9" is in theaters on June 25.

Read the original article on Insider

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