Chronicle Screenwriter Max Landis Reveals How Dark His Unproduced Sequel Would Have Been

I was a pretty big fan of Josh Trank’s found-footage superpowers flick Chronicle while I was sitting inside the theater watching it, but further thought into Max Landis’ screenplay kind of killed the mood and I retroactively began to dislike it. In fact, I was pretty happy when Landis announced last month that Twentieth Century Fox was moving on with other screenwriters for what will probably still be a pretty terrible Chronicle 2. But this past weekend, Landis took to Twitter to reveal his ideas for the sequel, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. And you know what? It sounds pretty damned interesting, even if it extends the dark and dreary superhero motif that we’re all kind of sick of at this point.

Already in retrospect mode, Landis says he’s “not even sure if fans of the first film would’ve been ready or eager for my second installment as originally written,” saying that it was a sequel that extended the themes and ideas presented in the first film rather than a Xeroxed copy of it. In fact, he goes so far as to call it a “different genre of movie.” A good story always starts with high ambitions, but he probably should have realized Fox wouldn’t embrace a 180-degree twist.

“Gone was the aspirational ‘what would you do,’ gone were the pranks and the bromance, gone were lovely tragic Andrew and hopeful, bright Steve,” he said. “In their place was a dark, frustratingly unblinking stare into a complicated world that posed the question is it worth it to be a hero, told from the point of view of a heartbroken and insane woman who would martyr herself to the cause of being the world’s first villain.” He even refers to the movie by the non-sequel name Martyr, which probably means somebody else is going to swoop in and purchase this story to be reworked for another studio.

In switching up the genre, Landis is knowingly lofty in hoping his ideas could make the sequel “an Aliens, a Terminator 2” or at worst, “a Grease 2.” Or even a Halloween III: Season of the Witch, if we’re really talking completely different stories.

“So at the end of the day, maybe it’s better that Martyr never saw the light of day,” he admits. “Sad I didn’t get to do some of my other versions. The multi-movie low budget Chronicle-based found footage superhero universe culminating in an Avengers type team up was a real good one.” That might have been interesting. An indie universe, somewhat akin to the insular world that Kevin Smith’s first batch of films inhabited, only with superheroes instead of foul-mouthed lesbians and clerks.

Frankly, I’d be fine with the sequel dropping the found footage aspect altogether, despite that being part of what made the first film as interesting as it was. It would also take away the relevancy of the title Chronicle, but I think Fox is more interested in dollar signs than relevancy anyway.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.