As evidenced by 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four, sometimes reports of a tumultuous production can indeed be indicative of a disappointing final product. But one of the best examples of the opposite is Paramount’s World War Z, which battled rumors of issues on set and word of extensive reshoots and reworking of the film’s third act. When the movie finally hit theaters, however, it actually wasn’t that bad. Moreover, the finale—the part of the film that was causing Paramount so much trouble—ended up being the most compelling and satisfying portion of the film.
And the movie was a financial success to boot. So much so that Paramount and Brad Pitt started moving forward with a sequel, signing The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona to take the helm and Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises) to pen the screenplay. Bayona had to tackle A Monster Calls first and Pitt has his own busy schedule to accommodate, but Paramount has dated World War Z 2 for release on June 9, 2017, and it now appears that things are coming together for production to get underway next year.
Steve recently spoke with Knight in anticipation of the release of Pawn Sacrifice, and the filmmaker revealed that he just recently turned in a draft of the World War Z sequel, saying he was essentially given a blank slate when he initially came onboard:
“I was approached with the idea of, ‘How do we move this along?’ so who could resist?”
Indeed, Knight previously said the follow-up begins with a clean slate, but nothing else is known story-wise for what befalls Pitt’s character in the zombie-infested sequel. A clue may be gathered by what Knight most liked about the first film:
“I think the beauty of the first film was the way that it never paused for breath. It never spent a moment thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, we’d better tell the audience what this is all about.’ It stayed in the moment, it stayed with that person.”
So if Knight was a fan of the single POV of World War Z, one could reasonably assume he’ll be keeping that aspect of the franchise intact for the sequel. But again, we don’t know anything about the story for the follow-up at this point, so it’s unclear where the film will be going.
In the originally shot third act for Marc Forster’s film, there was a time jump that saw Pitt’s character leading a team of zombie-clearers in Russia, discovering that cold is their weakness, then setting out to rescue his wife from the clutches of Matthew Fox’s military character in the planned follow-up. It’s unclear if Pitt, Bayona, and Knight will be drawing from any of that original story for this sequel, or if they’re charting new territory. Regardless, that’s a formidable filmmaking trio and I look forward to seeing what they put together.