The biggest challenge Furious 7 faced had nothing to do with sky-diving cars, or even cars jumping between buildings. Ever since Paul Walker’s death in November 2013, fans have speculated about Brian O’Conner’s final moments in the series: Will the series kill him? Or will he walk away from his life behind the wheel?
For the fans who have seen the film, all those questions have been answered. Major Furious 7 spoilers ahead!
After “one last ride” to help Dom take down Deckard Shaw, Brian turns back to what matters most: His family. On a beach in the Dominican Republic, Brian and Mia play with their son, Jack, while the rest of the crew—Dom, Letty, Roman, Tej, and Ramsey—looks on. With Mia and Brian now expecting a second child, they all realize that Brian no longer belongs on the road. He belongs with Mia, their son, and their unborn daughter. After all, these movies are about family.
As Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” plays, Dom stands up to leave Brian behind, telling Ramsey that he doesn’t need to say goodbye because it’s “never goodbye.” But Brian doesn’t let him get away that easily. Instead, Brian catches up to Dom on the road, where the two end things in the only way they know how—with a quarter-mile race.
After one last signature smile from Brian, the road comes to a fork—Brian goes one way, and Dom goes the other. All the while Dom’s voiceover tells Brian that no matter how far away he is, he’ll always be his brother.
Once the two drivers part ways, the film goes into a montage of Walker’s journey throughout the series, from his curly-haired The Fast and the Furious days to his work on Furious 7.
It was a fitting, beautiful send-off for Brian—but what’s most significant is that it very clearly wasn’t about Dom saying goodbye to Brian. Instead, the film seemed to forget all about the fourth wall, allowing this to be a moment of Vin Diesel saying goodbye to Paul Walker. That last scene was about losing a beloved character, but it was much more about losing a beloved friend. Thankfully, there’s not too much of a difference between what Dom would say to Brian and what Diesel would say to Walker. It’s a move that many films probably couldn’t pull of—but that worked seamlessly in this case.
For a series that’s known for its over-the-top action, cheesy lines, and general unbelievability, Walker’s subtle goodbye was poignantly earnest. Not bad for a bunch of gearheads. Not bad at all.