Disciple of Thecla
2/19/14 at 08:08 AM 0 Comments

The Fate of Brian O'Conner

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Photo: Andre Luis - CC
Paul Walker

There is this awkward and strange feeling as I write this. When I first started this article about Paul Walker and his character Brian O’Conner, the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was announced in the news a day or two later. Within a week, three different friends of mine, each went through the death of a family member. Of course, I’m no stranger to my share of these tragedies.

Everyone mourns and misses the loved one who passed from this world. For everyone, there is this longing and regret at not having the loved one nearby. For the Christians, there is the hope and the promise that they will meet again one day in Heaven. In the time between now and that day, there remains all the people and the things that the loved one left in this world.

Regarding Paul Walker, what remains is the character Brian O’Conner for the cast and crew. Paul Walker’s unexpected death has presented a major problem to everyone involved in the Fast & Furious franchise: what to do with the fate of his character Brian O’Conner?

To be honest, this franchise is not the first series to suffer the death of an actor during the series run. In the history of movies and television, there have been many instances in which an actor died or had to leave due to illness. From past examples, Brian O’Conner can either be killed off, written off, or recast.

In the television series Bewitched, the character of Darren was recast when the original actor left due to declining health. William Hartnell, the First Doctor in the British series Doctor Who, was also replaced and the character of Doctor Who recast when medical problems took a toll upon Hartnell’s acting.

However, Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner has been a main staple of the franchise for almost its entire run. Fans loved Paul Walker in his role. Doing this to Brian O’Conner would be a serious insult and offense to his friends who worked with him on the set and also to his family and to his fans. Recasting is not an option and would merely add insult to injury.

The other two options are to kill off Brian O’Conner or to write off Brian O’Conner.

Writing off Brian O’Conner would also be offensive to his friends and fans because this character has been there for almost the entire franchise. To ignore someone and pretend someone doesn’t exist just because that person is dead would be cruel and insensitive to all the people in mourning. It would fail to honor the memory of the loved one because it would be trying not to remember anything.

Killing off Brian O’Conner is the only viable option for this character. The detective series Monk encountered this same problem when actor Stanley Kamel who played Monk’s first psychiatrist Charles Kroger was found dead of a heart attack. The series decided to kill off the character the same way, and so the character Charles Kroger also died of a heart attack.

Although getting rid of Charles Kroger the same way as the actor had been the respectful and sympathetic action toward the actors and characters, getting rid of Brian O’Conner the same way would have the opposite effect in this franchise.

Because of how Paul Walker died, killing off Brian O’Conner the same way would cause the other actors to relive their sorrows and to grieve all over again. Paul Walker died in a car crash, and the franchise is all about massive car crashes and awesome car stunts. One scene I had watched looked like car acrobatics. Killing off Brian O’Conner this way would be unsympathetic to their loss. Also, it would be highly unrealistic within the nature of the Fast & Furious franchise for Brian O’Conner to die the same way as his actor. It would taint the entertainment nature of the series.

Other options for killing off Brian O’Conner would be through gunshots or through a sudden disease. If the movie villains shoot him, then having the main characters avenge him might be a way for the actors to use the movie to help them to cope with their loss. This will be a little tricky, but it can work out.

Shooting Brian O’Conner is the only option in my opinion. Other characters in various movies have been shot or otherwise killed off. To avoid the entertainment feel and to honor the memory of Paul Walker, fill the movie with dialogue and things that Paul Walker loved and cherished in this life.

What did Paul Walker love and cherish?

What were his hopes and joys?

Who or what, if taken away from him, would no longer make him the same Paul Walker? If a certain part of him were taken away from him, would cause him to stop being the same Paul Walker who his friends and family loved and appreciated?

Another way to phrase it…

Who or what made him into what he was? What were the vital and necessary elements and qualities to his life and to himself as a person that make him so loving, lovable and worthwhile?

To pay respects to Paul Walker and to make the final movie a tribute to him, fill the remainder of the movie with dialogue and things that defined Paul Walker. Answer all those questions and apply the answers to Brian O’Conner. Then, the movie will become a tribute to his memory.

The other question concerns the franchise itself. Can the franchise continue without Paul Walker, or should this be the final movie? If this is the final movie to end the franchise, then this movie needs to show the fate of all the franchise’s main characters. I suggest having Vin Diesel’s character and Michelle Rodriguez’s character retire from their prior job, settle down together, and start their own oil business. Start drilling for oil and selling it very cheap so that other people can enjoy their cars more often. That would be a way to end their characters’ role in the franchise while keeping the same theme and tone of the franchise.

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).