THE IMPOSSIBLE Director Juan Antonio Bayona to Helm WORLD WAR Z Sequel

     December 10, 2013

juan antonio bayona world war z sequel

Paramount is forging ahead with plans for a sequel to this summer’s zombie tentpole World War Z, and the first order of business is finding a new director.  Due to the contentious and trouble-laden production process, WWZ helmer Marc Forster wasn’t keen on returning to direct a potential follow-up.  When the film defied expectations and had Brad Pitt’s biggest opening weekend of his career, soaring to $540 million worldwide, Paramount started making moves on a follow-up.  Now the studio has settled on a new director to take the helm of the franchise, attaching The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona to oversee the development of World War Z 2.  Hit the jump for more.

world-war-z-2-sequel-brad-pittHeat Vision reports that Bayona was on “a very short list” of directors that Pitt and the studio were looking at to take the helm of the follow-up, and after meeting with Pitt—who will again be producing this sequel—Bayona has landed the gig.  Writers are not attached just yet, but Bayona will be overseeing the writing and development of the follow-up.  Bayona first burst onto the scene with the well-received 2007 horror film The Orphanage before exploring the effects of the 2004 tsunami in the 2012 drama The Impossible, which netted Naomi Watts a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Though World War Z concluded with Pitt’s character being reunited with his family and a drug to combat the zombie infection being distributed throughout the world, the original ending of the film was much more open-ended and sequel-ready.  Forster and his production initially shot a third act that found Pitt fighting zombie hordes in Russia while his wife was being held captive by a military leader, the character played by Matthew Fox.  The intention was to center a sequel around Pitt’s quest to rescue and reunite with his family, but the reworked third act of the film seems to have scrapped that plan so it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

There’s no word on what the story of the World War Z follow-up will be, but as someone who was pleasantly surprised by the first film, I hope Bayona takes note of how much more effective the smaller-scale tension in the final third was than the full-blown action sequences from the middle of the film.  I’d very much like to see that sort of character-centric drama explored further in the sequel.

What about you, readers?  What do you want to see from a World War Z sequel?  Sound off in the comments below.


  • Steven

    JAB’s talents and abilities should be used elsewhere! World War Z was entertaining, but it doesn’t warrant a sequel.

  • raymond

    I can not wait to see the CG zombie tsunami, it will surely top zombie wave and zombie wall

  • João Paulo

    I liked it, good choice, can’t wait to see.

  • Straight Talk

    WWZ was better than expected and The Impossible was almost flawless so to say I am excited about this decision would be a gross understatement.

    • The Flobbit

      WWZ was pretty good, but The Impossible was riddled with flaws, not the least of which is a terrible screenplay.

      • danny

        riddled with flaws…. such as?

  • yrulaughing418

    the Battle of Yonkers from the book would make a great opening sequence, and would be a decent bit of fan service. show how conventional military tactics don’t work against zombie hordes, and then contrast it with the strategies being used at the end of the first film

    Neil Blomkamp would have been the ideal director for these movies since he could have successfully adapted the book’s interview/documentary format… but then, it couldn’t have starred Pitt

    • jack

      But the change of zombie type from slow to fast would make that battle seem kind of ridiculous…they would have to create some new version and with the way these zombies swarm, any human force would quickly be overcome…switching the zombies screwed up a lot

      • Oolie zool

        and it was a lazy screw up at that.

    • The Flobbit

      I would KILL for a Neill Blomkamp World War Z.

  • Scott Baiowulfgang Amadeus

    I’ve got a great idea for the sequel. How about adapting the book?

    • FireWithFire

      The book wasn’t adaptable as a movie. Its easy to complain but there is no way they would have had a watchable, enjoyable movie with a faithful adaption.

      • raydude

        Split the book up into a trilogy of movies and you not only have a faithful adaptation but a reason for a sequel or two.

      • FireWithFire

        That is easy to say now in retrospect with the movie being successful… but you can’t go in expecting to make 3 epic movies. A faithful adaption of the book would not have worked. Its totally unrealistic. They had to make compromises. That is the problem with neckbeard fanboys… they don’t understand that fact.

      • jack

        you’ve said that twice now with nothing to back up your opinion….explain why it would be unrealistic (this is a zombie movie, nothing in it is realistic). Every adaptation makes compromises.

      • FireWithFire

        Why would a faithful adaption be unrealistic? Because in the novel there is no fluid storyline. There are no characters with more than one scene. Movies that are vignettes pieced together are rarely successful, and audiences have no one to root for. Furthermore, in the novel none of the plot-lines are even connected.

        How would you make that movie? Just have a narrator and skip scene to scene? I don’t know what people expected them to do. The book is great in its own way, but it was in no way a book that could be converted to film identically.

      • Scott Baiowulfgang Amadeus

        Not as the first film maybe, but since they already cured the plague by the end of the movie, why not have Brad gather other survivor’s stories and show them as flashback? If that works, you can do another sequel with the same set up.

      • FireWithFire

        I actually agree with you there. That might be interesting. Or showing different stories in phase 2 of the zombies.

        That first comment was snarky and acting like they made some huge error with the first film. There is certainly more latitude with the sequel seeing as the audience is already going to be there. They couldn’t have done something as risky/unconventional as this with the original though.

      • Oolie zool

        bs, the book was perfectly adaptable and would have been somewhat unique at that.

      • FireWithFire

        How was it perfectly adaptable? There weren’t any characters in more than a single scene. How does that translate to film? How do you market a movie like that?

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  • poppincherry

    You sap suckers liked WWZ? LOL!
    Infecting people with deadly disease without knowing how the fuck you’re going to cure them was stupid as shit. Oh lets give New Yorkers ebola so the zombies won’t kill them. Um, so how long before ebola kills the New Yorkers because we can’t kill the zombies and um you know it was a stupid fucking idea after all man!
    Dumb ass movie.
    And of course, when Pitt went into the lab and injected himself with a disease the producers didn’t say which one because it would have had audience members pissin bullshit at the screen.

  • Redjester

    I’m saying this as a fan of WWZ (although it would have been infinitely better if it had followed the book more closely), but this director is much too talented to be wasting his time on a film like this.

  • Strong Enough

    bring that hot Israel chick back

  • Person

    I just want Criterion to do a World War Z release and detail the production fiasco and actually INCLUDE INTERVIEWS WITH BRAD PITT, but such wishful thinking. I mean, if they couldn’t even get Cimino to talk about the fiasco on Heaven’s Gate, WWZ doesn’t stand a chance.

    But yeah, sequel sounds promising, if unnecessary. But you can say that about half the sequels out there anyway. Liked the first one a lot but it’s the definition of a “one-time watch.”


      Yeah I think you’ll be waiting a while for a Criterion Release of World War Z.

  • Oolie zool


  • The Flobbit

    Please guys, let’s do this right: Yonkers, Battle of Hope, underwater zombies, the space crew, etc.

    What I want to see is a sort of found-footage episodic TV series adapting each interview as a TV episode, with flashbacks towards the zombie war. How awesome would that be?

    • paul h

      That would be seriously awesome :D

      I’ve still not made it more than half way through the film yet, just makes me so mad :(

  • Chaz Reinholt

    I would like to see more short sequences, much like the book. The campaign to retake America was the best chapter of World War Z, in my opinion, and it would be great to see it on the big screen.

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