The Emotional Reason Why Paul Walker Is Back in 'Fast and Furious 9'

If you thought you saw Paul Walker in the 'Fast and Furious' trailer and promo, you weren't seeing a ghost. Brian O'Conner really is back.

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Apr. 15 2021, Updated 9:43 p.m. ET

Paul Walker Fast and Furious
Source: Universal

The new Fast and Furious 9 trailer is here, and if it doesn't get your blood pumping, we don't know what else will. The movie will have plenty of action scenes and Charlize Theron's bowl cut, and it'll also feature something, rather, someone else who might surprise you: Paul Walker (who plays Brian O'Conner). We all saw a glimpse of him in the trailer and promo, and no, it was not a ghost. If you have questions, we've got answers.

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Is Paul Walker in 'Fast and Furious 9'?

Paul Walker is indeed in Fast and Furious 9 posthumously. Director Justin Lin has confirmed we'll be seeing him and that Brian O'Conner is alive. He was brought back because the Fast and Furious franchise is set to end after the 11th movie, and Brian's presence helps provide a sense of closure. However, it doesn't sound like he's getting a lot of air time. 

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When Paul Walker tragically passed away in 2013, he was purposely not written off. Instead of just referencing him, though, Justin made the decision to bring him back to honor his character. "I want to always be very respectful and how we present that. I think that [in] Nine, you will feel the presence of Brian, for sure," Justin told Variety.

Justin elaborates more on Brian's inclusion in the movie, saying,

"The idea of Brian O’Connor still alive in this universe, it’s very impactful and it’s very important. When we talk about Fast 9, this is the first time for me creatively approaching it not as just the one film. In the past, I’ve always felt like, we’re lucky enough to do one, let’s do everything we can. But Vin finally talked me into it, you know, when I came back, he’s like, “Well, let’s think about it as a final chapter.” So Fast 9 is really the beginning of the final chapter of the saga. So in doing that I think there’s a lot of room to really place our characters, and Brian obviously is a big part of the universe still."
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fast furious
Source: Universal

It was actually Vin Diesel who thought Brian should be brought back and claims that he actually felt Paul's presence, which he took as a sign. “And I remember John Cena coming into this Dom shrine that I had, where I would kind of go meditate and train and start getting into that Dom state of mind," Vin Diesel explained. 

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“I remember John coming in, and, call this crazy, but I remember feeling as though Pablo, Paul Walker, had sent him in. And I remember talking to Justin [Lin] that night and saying, ‘My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be,'" he added.

paul walker
Source: Universal

Paul Walker died in a tragic car accident in 2013. He and Roger Rodas had left a charity event in his Porsche and were speeding when they crashed into a lamp post and two trees. Paul was in the middle of filming Fast and Furious 7, and the production team had to rewrite parts of the movie. Paul's brother was even used as a stand-in to play Brian. 

While it feels a little weird to see Paul again, it does feel like we're finally getting some closure.

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