It’s been nearly seven years since Zombieland was released to critical and commercial success in 2009, providing a nice, positive bump to the then-budding careers of Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. Ever since then, we have been promised a sequel to the smartly-written and clever spin of a well-worn premise.
In the initial stages, the plan was to utilize the trend-of-the-moment, 3D (this was 2009, remember). Then, after a few years of waiting, director Ruben Fleischer informed us that the delay was caused by his desire to make other films considering, impressively, Zombieland was his first (followed by the less-impressive 30 Minutes Or Less and Gangster Squad. Also, Fleischer shared that there was an inability to crack a story that everyone was excited about. Since then, the most recent update was a little more promising, as writer Dave Callaham (Doom) was brought on to pen a script, with Fleischer on board to return for the sequel that Sony seemed eager to get going. But nothing seemed to come of it.
Now, we have been given, if not exactly updates, then at least positive indicators of an emerging sequel. Slashfilm relays the news from the screenwriters of the first film, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Here is what Reese had to say about a sequel:
It’s actually still in development at Sony, they’ve had a couple writers take a crack at it, we’re still exec producers and we’re guiding and helping where we can and I think there’s still very much talk about it, but I think it has to be right. I think all the actors and [original ‘Zombieland’ director] Ruben [Fleischer], all feel like there’s no reason to do it again if we’re not getting it exactly right.
So it appears the script is still very much the issue. It’s curious why Rhett and Wernick don’t just jump on it themselves and try to bring back the original creative team rather than bring on a new writer, which is what appears to be the case. However, it is encouraging that they do indeed want to maintain the original cast and characters, and them staying determined to retain the integrity of the story without making sacrifices just for the sake of a sequel is reassuring. Reese mentioned “a couple writers”- we don’t know of others involved, so it would be interesting to learn who else took a crack at it. Interestingly, he doesn’t make mention of the most recent name associated with writing duties, Dave Callaham.
I think many are still game for a sequel. But given that the success of the first film rested on the breath of fresh air it invigorated into a familiar formula, I can understand the desire make sure a sequel is as strong as can be. A few years ago an Amazon series was announced, and a pilot even filmed (read our review), but that idea was scrapped. If they could get a script together for a proper sequel with the original cast, that may have been for the best. Hopefully they can get it together soon, though, as it may not be easy to wrangle these increasingly busy original cast members together again.