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Whether you liked World War Z or didn't, you knew there was going to be a sequel in the works. The Paramount film starring Brad Pitt went from being counted out before it had even shown a trailer to making $540 million worldwide, proving that sometimes a film can beat the odds to become a success story. With new director J.A. Bayona at the helm, it would seem like the perfect time for a new writer. Which is good news for screenwriter Steven Knight, as he just happens to be the new guy with the gig.
Variety says that Knight has been hired to start writing the sequel to World War Z, which was originally based off Max Brooks' best selling book of the same name. This news comes after reports that Pitt was looking at possibly starring in another project also written by Knight. It would appear that the actor/producer so impressed with that script that it was enough for him to both enter into talks for the project and lure the writer responsible to his next big blockbuster
I hated World War Z with a passion, largely due to the overly sanitized PG-13 nature of the film, as well as the general lack of narrative thrust and characters worth giving a damn about. That said, if a sequel must move forward, the team they're assembling so far seems like a good fit. J.A. Bayona's disaster docudrama The Impossible made a really good impression on critics, and even garnered some awards attention. Mix that with Steven Knight's track record, which includes an Academy Award nominated screenplay (Dirty Pretty Things) and a film that's currently being praised for solid character work (the Tom Hardy starring Locke), and the foundation is there for a film that can possibly handle the proper scope and weight of a true adaptation of the book that deserves so much better than the first film that was made.
Brad Pitt is still debating whether he's going to star in the film or not, but honestly I wouldn't mind if the script decided to follow a different character. Gerry Lane's story has already been told, and it can stand as an initial installment of an anthology of long-form films that tell a more diverse swath of stories, much like the book it was based off of did. For those of you who wanted to see more of Gerry's exploits, you can blame Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard for writing a completely different third act to the film that already had a good hook for a sequel in its initial form. That's not the ending we got, and instead we have a fitting end to Gerry's story, with him finding his family. Let him go, and move on to the meatier source material of what Russia was doing at the time of the great zombie war.
There's no release date set for World War Z II: Necrotic Boogaloo, but Paramount had better act fast. While the first film defied expectations, the longer they wait for a sequel, the weaker their chances of repeating their success becomes.