Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel pay tribute to the late Paul Walker at the CinemaCon 2017 preview of 'The Fate of the Furious'. Picture: Chris Pizzello / AP

Las Vegas, Nevada – Vin Diesel choked back tears on Wednesday as he paid an emotional tribute to his dead "The Fast and the Furious" co-star Paul Walker at the CinemaCon convention.

The 49-year-old revealed it was Walker who insisted there should be an eighth instalment in the $3.9 billion (R50 billion) franchise, as he introduced "The Fate of the Furious" at the gathering in Las Vegas.

"Part of Paul's legacy lives through every frame that we shoot," Diesel said, fighting his emotions. "You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium. There's something beautiful about that. There's something celebratory about that; I always feel like he's looking down on us, so we didn't want to let him down."

Walker was 40 when he died in a fiery single-vehicle crash in California in 2013, before the seventh film was released.

Tyrese Gibson, who has been in the high-octane franchise since "2 Fast, 2 Furious" in 2003, echoed Diesel's tribute.

"The last time I was on this stage we were here with Paul Walker. We move and operate in the memory of Paul Walker," he told the crowd at the Caesar's Palace hotel.

In "The Fate of the Furious," due to hit theaters on 14 April, a mysterious woman seduces Diesel's Dominic Toretto into the criminal underworld.

New Trilogy

Diesel, now a producer as well as star, confirmed a previous announcement that the series would extend to at least a 10th movie.

"As the world sees this movie, they'll see how it's the beginning of a new trilogy," he said.

Diesel and Gibson were joined onstage by Ludacris and newcomers Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron, before Universal delighted the CinemaCon audience by premiering the movie.

Agence France-Presse

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