Universal and the team behind Fast & Furious 7 have been in a bind since Paul Walker’s death in November. His tragic car crash was followed by a break in production and a speedy brain-storming session to figure out how to tie up any loose ends with Walker’s character.

Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 6 premiere
Walker's character will be retired, not killed off, say producers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, will not die in the seventh film, but will instead be “retired” in order to gently ease viewers into the transition. The studio hopes that this decision will not only satisfy fans, but allow the production team to utilise existing footage of Walker, since the 40-year-old actor passed away about halfway through the Fast & Furious 7 shoot.

Paul Walker, Sao Paulo Fashion Week
The actor managed to complete some of his scenes before the shocking incident.

In the few weeks following Walker’s death, director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Universal's lead executive on the Fast films, pored over the footage Wan had shot. They devised a plan to rework the existing script, so that Walker could remain a part of the story for the seventh film, but would be written out by the end. Naturally, some additional scenes will have to be filmed, but the extended production schedule (the release date was recently rescheduled for April 10, 2015) would allow plenty of time for reshoots.

Walker was killed in a car accident on November 30th, while attending an event for Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide in aid of Typhoon Haiyan. The actor left in his friend Roger Rodas' Porsche Carrera GT, with Rodas driving the vehicle. The car crashed into a light pole and burst into flames soon after, killing both Walker and Rodas.

Paul Walker, Fast & Furious Premiere
Universal will retire Walker's character, but also respect the actor's memory in the process.