Vin Diesel choked up while paying tribute to the late Paul Walker at CinemaCon on Wednesday.
He said that he decided to go forward with “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to make good on a promise Walker made that there would be an eighth chapter in the long-running series. That film, “The Fate of the Furious,” opens next month. Universal later surprised the audience by debuting the full movie.
“It was Paul Walker who promised eight,” Diesel said. “It played over and over again in my brain.”
Walker died in an automobile crash in 2013. He was 40-years old.
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“Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,” Diesel said. Diesel, who has called Walker his best friend, said the actor continues to live through the characters.
“You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium,” Diesel said. “There’s something beautiful about that. There’s something celebratory about that.”
Fighting back tears, Diesel put a hand over his eyes.
“I always feel like he’s looking down on us so we didn’t want to let him down,” Diesel said.
Diesel wasn’t the only member of the franchise to reflect on Walker’s legacy.
“We move and operate in the memory of Paul Walker,” co-star Tyrese Gibson added.
CinemaCon is an annual exhibition industry trade show unfolding this week in Las Vegas.
Diesel said that “The Fate of the Furious” will kick off a new trilogy. Before each “Fast and Furious” movie, he said he asks himself a question.
“How do you reinvent yourself?” Diesel said. “How do you defy expectations?”
When Diesel announced in 2015 that the series would move forward, he used CinemaCon as a platform, telling theater owners that the film would be the best movie ever made.
“Hold me to that,” he said.