Despite the unfortunate death of Paul Walker, his character "Brian O'Conner" is still alive in the Fast & Furious universe. This was confirmed by director Justin Lin, who assured that they are trying to explain his absence in F9 in the most respectful way possible. "That is a constant issue and something I always want to be very respectful of," Lin told EW.

Paul Walker's character is alive in Fast & Furious 9 

The last time we saw Walker's character in Fast & Furious was in 2015 in the memorable final scene from the seventh film in the franchise. But his character, the agent-turned-family man "Brian O'Conner," lives on in the story starring Vin Diesel.

Paul Walker as "Brian O'Conner" in 'The Fast and the Furious'.

In a recent interview, director Justin Lin told EW that one of the challenges he faced in F9coming out this year—was handling Walker's absence though his character continues to be present in the story.

"The fact that Brian O'Conner is still alive in this universe needs to be acknowledged. We're treating F9 as the first film of the last chapter, and at some point it is something I think about and how we can really show his presence but in a respectful way. So it's always ongoing," he said.

Will "Brian O'Conner" be in Fast & Furious 9?

After "Brian" reappeared in the trailer for F9, fans began to believe that his return to the saga (in some form) was imminent. Although Lin has not ruled it out, everything seems to indicate that the character will not feature in a starring role.

'The Fast and the Furious' Cast back in 2001.

"I feel like in 9 we've done ["Brian's" story] in a way that I feel good about, but, as we go into trying to wrap up the saga, it's something that I will continue to always be thinking through," Lin said.

Fast & Furious 9 premieres this summer with the cast of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris all reprising their roles in the popular franchise.