World War Z 2 – Sequel Plans23.06.13 # Sequel # One Comment
There’s been some World War Z 2 talk over recent days, so what has been said and how likely is a sequel?
World War Z, the adaptation of Max Brooks’s bestselling zombie novel, was plagued by bad buzz long before it arrived. Word of budgeting problems, director-star feuds, reshoots and postponements were all worrying signs, but the film managed to shake most of its omens and go on to achieve a strong $25 million opening day – the biggest for any Brad Pitt movie. With a $66m weekend now forecast, it’s the third-biggest pure star vehicle opening ever, behind I Am Legend’s $77m and Bruce Almighty, and is expected to finish with $200m domestically. If the film is as expensive as reported (around $200m), then it will need similar strength overseas, but with $45m already taken, that’s quite possible. Critical and public reception has been mostly positive. Paramount’s vice chairman has announced today that they are actively developing a sequel.
“This isn’t the end, not even close.” says Gerry Lane at the end of the film, very much hinting that there could be more to come. Brad Pitt himself certainly thinks a follow up is possible. “There is enough to mine from the book,” he said. “We could barely get a fraction of it in. So we’ll see.” But is he speaking as producer or star? Would he return in front of camera? The book is told from multiple viewpoints.
Director Marc Forster may also want to return. “Let’s see how this goes,” he said. “We hope this movie goes well and we shall go from there.” But it’s highly debatable whether the studio would allow him after such a rocky production – not least because they had to shoot an entirely new third act at an extra $20m cost.
So where will the plot go from here? While little is decided, the best clues are in the novel. The first movie, even with its significant deviations, only takes us a fraction of the way into the story. The book is very much about the aftermath and the clean-up.
At the point where the war ‘turns’ the U.S. have been pushed back to behind the Rocky Mountains where, over the years, they have re-formed the army with completely different fighting techniques (tanks are discarded in place of bite-proof body armour, special-spades used to chop brains in half, accurate rifles and complete formation rethinks such as ‘firing squares’). On their slow push back east to New York they encounter threats including:
- Independent states that have seceded from the union and have to be conquered with conventional war.
- ‘LaMOEs’ aka ‘Last Man On Earth’s. Isolated individuals who decide they have been having a good time and snipe at the army.
- ‘Quislings’. Humans who have broken down psychologically due to the presence of zombies (‘Z-Shock’) and have started acting like them.
- ‘Ferals’. Kids who survived the outbreak years earlier but now are fully grown, and wild.
- Long grass. Some zombies have decayed so much that their legs aren’t working, so they lie in the overgrown grass, unseen.
- Clearing the ports and harbours. Huge refugee ships where infection broke out have been turned into massive underwater storage tanks for zombies. The zombies themselves can walk along riverbeds and the ocean floor, emerging unexpectedly.
Stripped down societies get a lot of play in the novel. For instance in the US, anyone without a practical skill is put to work as a labourer, so the fields are filled with musicians, bankers and ‘management consultant executives’. There’s a wealth of material.
This is all assuming the movies continue to take a linear approach. The book presents several different accounts of the same global pandemic with overlapping timelines.
Any World War Z sequel will almost certainly address the origins of the infection. In the novel it comes from China, starting with a father and son who swim down to a flooded village where something happens to them. The secretive Chinese government then do everything they can to cover it up. Director Forster said, “We wanted nothing offensive against China or any other country [in our movie]. Those were creative choices.” This site really hopes World War Z 2 taps into the novel’s satirical edge. So far it’s been a play-it-safe approach.
What would you like to see happen in a World War Z sequel? What should the plot be? Should Brad Pitt return, or should it be from a fresh perspective? Leave your thoughts in the comments.