When news first broke nearly two years ago that David Goddamn Fincher (as I’m sure he prefers to be known) was going to be directing a sequel to World War Z (OF ALL FUCKING THINGS), I’ll be honest: it kind of broke my brain a little bit. Just the mere notion of the auteur behind Se7en, Zodiac, and The Social Network slumming it in an action blockbuster for the first time (THE FIRST TIME, OKAY???) was weird enough, but if it was a high enough profile franchise thing (like a Star War or a Marvel or something), sure, maybe I could see why he would do it. But World War Z 2?! No sir, his involvement did not at all compute.
I always figured the bottom would fall out on the project at some point, but when it kept inching forward throughout the year with Fincher STILL attached, I started to get worried. Was one of our best directors really going to make his feature film comeback directing a sequel to one of the most lukewarm, mediocre action films of the last few years? It sent a shiver down my spine, folks. But I’m happy to say my spine is, uh, warm again, as news has arrived that World War Z 2 is, effectively, dead.
The Playlist broke the news earlier today that World War Z 2, after years of languishing in development hell, might finally be double tapped out of its misery. The project was surprisingly close to actually going into production with a plan start date of this summer (enough time for Fincher to finish up his work on Mindhunter Season 2), but cold feet from Paramount caused them to pull the plug at the last minute. Now the whole thing has fallen apart, and Fincher’s take on the project is no more. Of course there’s always the possibility that Paramount (who, if you haven’t heard, are struggling quite a bit when it comes to, oh, everything) could get a new team together to do the movie but, frankly, it’s pretty unlikely. It seems that their enthusiasm for the franchise has cooled substantially since the first one released and made over $500 million worldwide (HOW THE FUCK), and with them being the ones to call it quits on the project rather than Fincher (who somehow stayed involved every single step of the way), I wouldn’t be optimistic about future zombie adventures with, err…Brad Pitt UN Scarf Guy? Whatever, you know who I’m talking about.
I’m being flippant here, but I do empathize with all you fans of the World War Z movie out there. And to the six of you, I’ll say this — it’s never fun when something you are looking forward to withers on the vine. But it’s even worse for the people who are directly involved — despite my dismay at his involvement, I feel so bad for David Fincher. I mean, do you know how many projects have absolutely fallen apart for the director since he made the super successful Gone Girl? He didn’t get to make the Dragon Tattoo sequel, or the Steve Jobs biopic. He had not one, not two, but THREE HBO shows canned right before they reached development. He never got to make that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie he always wanted to do, seemingly his personal white whale. Really, you can’t blame the man for running off and making serial killer shows for Netflix — at least they let him make something, damn it. And for a man like David Fincher, the world of cinema only gets brighter when he’s allowed to do just that.
…Just not with World War Z 2, though. That, for me, was a bridge too far, primarily because it would actually make me EXCITED for the sequel to the movie in which Brad Pitt gives himself AIDS or something, and then saves the world? Boy, wanting to see more of THAT would have been wild. Glad I dodged a bullet there!
Also published on Medium.