On April 4, 2013, Justin Lin, the franchise's director since The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), announced that he would not return to direct a Fast & Furious 7, as the studio wanted to produce the film on an accelerated schedule for release in summer 2014 which would have required Lin to begin pre-production on the sequel while performing post-production on Fast & Furious 6 which he considered would affect the quality of the final product. Despite the usual two to three year gap between the previous installments, Universal chose to pursue a sequel quicker due to having fewer reliable franchises than its competitor studios. However, subsequent interviews with Lin have suggested that the sixth installment was always intended to be the final entry directed by him. In April 2013, James Wan, predominantly known for horror films, was announced as the sequel's director, with Moritz returning to produce and Morgan returning to write the script, his fifth in the series. Diesel and Walker were also confirmed to return to star.
Johnson said that if Universal pursued the accelerated development of a seventh film with a summer start date, he would be unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts with filming on Hercules: The Thracian Wars. However, as production for the film commenced in September, he confirmed his return for the film as Hercules: The Thracian Wars would complete production in time for him to film a significant part. On April 16, 2013, Diesel announced that the sequel would be released on July 11, 2014. In May 2013, Diesel said that the sequel would feature Los Angeles, Tokyo and the Middle East as locations. In August 2013, it was reported that Denzel Washington had turned down a small role in the film, and that Universal was looking for another big star to take the part which would play a larger role in an eighth film. In August 2013, Kurt Russell was confirmed to be in talks for joining the seventh film playing an unknown character. Diesel confirmed his involvement in the film through a production photo on his Facebook page in September 2013. In August 2013, mixed martial artistRonda Rousey was confirmed to be in negotiations to join the cast.Thai martial arts actor Tony Jaa has been confirmed to join the cast, making his Hollywood debut.
It was also confirmed that Lucas Black has signed on to reprise his role as Sean Boswell for this film and two more installments.
Principal photography began in the beginning of September 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a casting call issued.Abu Dhabi has also been confirmed as a filming location, as the production crew chose it over Dubai and will benefit from the Emirate's 30% rebate scheme.Pikes Peak Highway in Colorado was closed in September to film some driving sequences.
On November 30, 2013, while on a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, Paul Walker, the actor playing Brian O'Conner, died in a car accident. One day later, Universal announced that production would continue after a delay that would allow the film makers to rework the film. On December 4, 2013, Universal Pictures put production on Fast & Furious 7 on hold until further notice. Director James Wan has confirmed that the film is not cancelled. On December 22, 2013, Diesel confirmed on his Facebook page that the film would be released April 10, 2015. On February 27, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter has reported that filming of the film resumed on April 1, the cast and crew have headed to Atlanta for about six to eight more weeks of shooting.
Redevelopment of Walker's character
On January 6, 2014, it was reported that Walker's character will be retired instead of killed, new scenes will be developed to retire his character and also will allow the franchise to continue. However, writer Chris Morgan denied any decisions have been made and stated that all options on how to proceed are still being considered. On March 21, 2014, The Daily News reported that the studio has hired four actors with bodies very similar to Paul’s physique and using his face and voice with the use of CGI. On April 15, 2014, it was announced that Walker's brothers, Caleb and Cody, will be used as stand-ins.
Brian Tyler, who scored the third, fourth, and fifth installments of the series, has been confirmed to compose the musical score for Fast & Furious 7.