The Fast and the Furious star Vin Diesel fights back tears for friend Paul Walker

Cinema still from the movie The Fast And The Furious.
Cinema still from the movie The Fast And The Furious.PHOTO: UIP

LAS VEGAS (AFP) - American actor 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 Diesel revealed it was Walker who insisted there should be an eighth instalment in the US$3.9 billion franchise, as he introduced The Fate Of The Furious (2017) at the gathering in Las Vegas.

"Part of Paul's legacy lives through every frame that we shoot... You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium," Diesel said, fighting his emotions. "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 (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 cinemas in Singapore on April 13, a mysterious woman seduces Diesel's Dominic Toretto into the criminal underworld.

Diesel, now a producer as well as star, confirmed a previous announcement that the series would extend to at least a tenth 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 rapper Ludacris and newcomers Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron, before film studio Universal delighted the CinemaCon audience by premiering the movie.