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When Sharknado premiered on Syfy a little over two years ago, the world probably didn’t realize that the trials and tribulations of Ian Ziering and Tara Reid would never be fin-ished – that’s a pun-nado. Wasting literally as little time as possible following the airing of Sharknado 3, Syfy let people know that Sharknado 4: Subtitle Pending is officially coming in 2016, with audiences now responsible for the direction of the plot. Scientific progress goes bite.

Of all the batshit shenanigans that shark-infested weather patterns caused in Sharknado 3, the weirdest one of all came during that ending when, after pushing her newborn baby out through the flesh of a dead shark, April became the potential victim of flying space shuttle debris. But instead of having her jump out of the way or getting smashed into CGI splatter, the movie suddenly ends and audiences are directed to a Syfy website to vote on whether April lives or dies in moving forward to Sharknado 4. (I’ve already voted, thus giving me my place in Sharknado history, but I’ll never tell what I want!)

And it is indeed the surprise ending that’s being used to propel the brand forward, as they’re embracing the social media side that made the first two so popular, even if the ratings weren’t extremely magnificent. It’s a franchise that knows a good part of its impact is felt on the Internet, so it makes total sense that they’re utilizing that in delivering one of the most unique sequel announcements I can think of.

According to THR, here’s how Sharknado 3’s executive producer Chris Regina, who is also the senior VP of program strategy at Syfy, explained the impetus behind putting April’s fate on the line.
I wanted to take a page out of some of the classic television stunts that have been done and contemporize them. We needed to do something that was going to keep the audience in jeopardy and want to come back for another Sharknado. That led to the idea that I came up with in having the audience vote…I’m hoping that we’re going to break the Internet this time with the “April lives, April dies” at the end. I think it’s going to be precedent-setting.

That’s a pretty lofty sentiment, but when you consider that the film’s director Anthony C. Ferrante reportedly just wanted to end the film with a nice family moment where everyone’s together and happy and covered in blood on the beach, the voting angle sounds genius. If it’s a tie, we’re going to have to get President Mark Cuban to make an executive decision about it.

Now they just have to come up with some ridiculous ideas for what ludicrousness they want to put Fin (and roughly 17 dozen celebrities) through when the next wave of storms arrive. I’m hoping for a Fantastic Voyage angle where Fin has to get miniaturized and go inside of a shark. In the meantime, get your voting done and go buy yourself an umbrella with a chainsaw on the end of it, for Sharknado 4 will premiere on Syfy in 2016.

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