When Furious 7 opened in April, several news articles mentioned how the film’s VFX team had re-created Paul Walker using virtual imagery. Walker died in November 2013, several months before the film was finished.
“We had to complete a performance — what Paul Walker would have done if he’d been able to continue,” Letteri told Variety. “And it had to be his performance.”
Letteri added there was no way to complete Walker’s performance without closeups, saying “anything else would have shortchanged his performance and the film.”
The Weta team used old footage and outtakes from Furious 7 and previous films to build an archive for the VFX. The team also motion-captured Walker’s two brothers, Cody and Caleb, and John Brotherton, who was also in the film.
Letteri told Variety if this happened five years ago, the technology would not have allowed them to do what they did.