How World War Z 2 Can Avoid Being Terrible
Not to state the obvious, but it's incredibly difficult to put down zombies permanently. The entire subgenre has existed as a staple of the Hollywood horror scene for half of a century, and the popularity of the walking dead has only gone up in recent years. One zombie franchise that has kept us intrigued for the last few years is World War Z (based on Max Brooks' novel of the same name) which recently took a big step forward when it was announced that the studio has a script that it's happy with.
On that note, we think it's worth taking some time to dive into the World War Z lore to figure out what the sequel needs. Max Brooks' book is a fantastic source of inspiration, but the first World War Z movie barely acknowledged any aspects of the literary material. With that in mind, we have gone through the book and pulled out a few key traits that World War Z 2 should incorporate into its narrative. If you're a fan of the franchise, let us know wat you want to see in the upcoming sequel in the comments section below. Now let's kick this list off with the weirder stories that make World War Z so damn endearing in the first place.
Embrace Some Of The Weirder Stories From The Book
One particular aspect of the World War Z book that sets it apart from other zombie fiction is its unique and in-depth look into strange zombie adventures. There are a ton of excellent chapters that are chock full of some genuinely outlandish stories, such as a group of English survivors who survive indefinitely within the walls of a medieval castle, and a blind Japanese man who learns how to kill zombies by hearing them like Matt Murdock. There's even a story about a group of astronauts who sacrifice themselves on the International Space Station to keep radios working on Earth. World War Z isn't just a story about survivors pulling off impressive headshots (although there are plenty of those as well), it's a compilation of ridiculous adventures and truly insane exploits that just happen to include the walking dead.
Keep The Flashback Format From The Book
Another aspect of Max Brooks' World War Z book that ultimately sets it apart from its competition is the fact that it's told almost exclusively through flashbacks. The stories are recollections related to a UN investigator about a decade-long zombie war. Not only is it a unique storytelling tactic, but it also adds a layer of depth to the World War Z story because we can plainly see the devastation that has occurred even though the zombies have (mostly) been defeated. The first World War Z movie showed us the initial outbreak and the terrifying first few days of The Zombie War, but the sequel should embrace the format of the source material even more by opening in the world in which the living dead have become an everyday occurrence that no longer induce immediate terror.
Focus On Todd Wainio
The original World War Z novel doesn't have a main character. It's a mashup of a variety of different viewpoints from a variety of different characters. That said, the closest the book ever gets to a central perspective is the account of United States infantryman Todd Wainio. An everyman soldier in the same vain as Elijah Hunt Rhodes from Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, Wainio served in almost every major battle of The Zombie War. With Wainio front and center, audiences can see how the United States military suffers its first major defeat at Yonkers, New York, and then changes its methods to become an Iron Maiden blaring, zombie killing fighting force years later. Oh, and get Mark Hamill to play Wainio because his performance as the character in the World War Z audiobook is damn near perfect.
Explore The Concept Of "Total War"
Some of the coolest scenes in the World War Z book don't directly involve the fight against the zombies. An entire section of the novel is devoted to how the United States experiences a complete overhaul to its economic and social landscape to adapt to the zombie threat. Instead of making World War Z 2 exclusively about the actual war against the undead, the movie should level its focus on the home front and show us how average, everyday Americans contribute to the war effort. From Hollywood shifting its focus to produce propaganda films that keep morale up, to lower class American teaching the wealthy how to perform essential tasks like fixing machinery and sweeping chimneys. World War Z isn't just a story about gore and carnage; it should be an examination of how Americans band together when their backs are against the wall.
Examine The Global Scope Of The War
What happens when the entire world is forced to cope with the undead epidemic? How do various cultures come together in the face of global annihilation? Those are serious questions raised by Max Brooks' World War Z novel, and the international scope of the story genuinely helps sell that idea that humanity is at stake. Although the first film was a globetrotting adventure, World War Z 2 should explore how various cultures, world leaders, and political spheres respond to this idea. In particular, we really want to see the apartheid inspired "Redeker Plan" (a heartless doctrine which forces countries to sacrifice entire cities as bait in order to retreat to safety) incorporated into the narrative. Zombies are a uniquely international threat, and the World War Z franchise should wholeheartedly embrace that idea.
Use The Story For Social Commentary
Zombies have been used by Hollywood to make commentary on American society as far back as George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It doesn't matter if it's race, rampant consumerism, or the military industrial complex, there's a way to make these flesh-eating beasts say something about us because they are us. Max Brooks' book understands that in a way that the original World War Z movie does not, and there are a ton of great satirical chapters that are perfect for the age in which we live. Perhaps most notably, we want to see a segment of the film devoted to tough as nails mercenary T. Sean Collins in a chapter focusing on a group of one-percenters whose addiction to attention and social media brings a horde of average survivors down on their ultra expensive bunker in Long Island.
That's our perspective, but what's yours? Let us know what you want to see World War Z 2 in the comments section below to keep this conversation going! While you're at it, make sure to take a look at our 2017 movie premiere guide for more information related to this year's highly anticipated theatrical debuts!
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Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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