Actor Dwayne Johnson (aka the Rock) has risen in prominence over the past decade or so. Part of that came from his appearance in the Fast and the Furious franchise, which began with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. Now, Johnson is paying tribute to the late Walker on his birthday.
Paul Walker was known for ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise
Walker began acting at a very young age. However, it wasn’t until the ‘90s that he became a familiar face, appearing in movies such as Pleasantville and Varsity Blues.
However, his breakout as a movie star came with The Fast and the Furious in 2001. Walker’s career continued to grow from there, as he starred in action and drama films such as Into the Blue, Flags of Our Fathers, and Eight Below.
Dwayne Johnson joined with ‘Fast Five’
Walker reprised his role as Brian O’Connor as it spun into a franchise, starring in 2 Fast 2 Furious 2003). He did not appear in the third film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), but returned for the fourth, Fast & Furious (2009).
Then, the fifth film, Fast Five (2011), saw the entrance of a new character: Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs, a DSS agent. Both actors returned for the next entry, Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Walker passed away in 2013
Filming for Furious 7 had begun when tragedy struck. On Nov. 30, 2019, Walker, a car enthusiast, was in the passenger seat as his financial advisor, Roger Rodas, drove a Porsche that the two owned together. The car crashed, exploded into flames, and both were killed.
The death was ruled an accident, and heartfelt tributes began to pour in. Production on Furious 7 was halted for a time, and later resumed with Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb filling in as body doubles while CGI aided in recreating Walker’s face as needed.
See Johnson’s tribute to Walker on his birthday
Though Walker wasn’t as close to Johnson as their other co-star, Vin Diesel, the two did act in two, almost three films together, so chances are, they became at least moderately friendly. On Sept. 12, 2019, which would have been Walker’s 46th birthday, Johnson posted a photo of the two together on Instagram.
In his tribute, Johnson wrote that he usually prefers “to keep our memories and bond private and quiet.” He said that they bonded over having daughters of about the same age (Meadow Walker and Simone Johnson) and “the pride and protection we took being their fathers.” Johnson ended his message by writing “Happy Birthday” in Samoan.
Johnson has stayed involved in the franchise
Walker’s character was, understandably, written out with Furious 7. Johnson appeared in the eighth film, The Fate of the Furious. He then starred in a spinoff, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, which came out in Aug. 2019.
However, there seems to be some contention between the original series and the spinoff one. Allegedly, the release date of the upcoming Fast & Furious 9 was pushed back to 2020 because of Hobbs & Shaw. Johnson will not be appearing in the ninth film.