Run for your life, because the zombies are coming, they're faster than you, and they're going to chow down on your sweet, succulent brains: 28 Years Later is officially confirmed. It's Danny Boyle and Alex Garland's sequel to apocalyptic masterpiece 28 Days Later—which wasn't actually a zombie movie, we'll have you know, but a chaotic pandemic piece about a bloodlust inducing virus which escapes a secret lab and rapidly sees in the destruction of Britain—and the first time they've worked together since 2007's Sunshine.
In the original film, which came out in 2002, Oppenheimer bomb dad Cillian Murphy emerges from a hospital to find London deserted, nary a person in sight — which, frankly, sounds fairly idyllic after years of forcedly sniffing armpits on the tube.
The action-packed sequel, 28 Weeks Later, directed and written by a different creative team (director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and penned by an assortment of colleagues, including Rowan Joffé) was essentially the Aliens to Boyle's Alien in its comparative emphasis on shooty-shooty violence and its focus on a battalion of U.S. soldiers who come to rebuild the capital and get a lot of death for their troubles.
A second sequel has been bandied around for ages, most popularly under the working title 28 Months Later. This presumably would've followed the cliffhanger of 28 Weeks Later, in which we glimpse a pack of rage-infected storming the Champ de Mars, confirming that the infection has escaped its island quarantine. 28 Months Later never arrived. Instead, enter: 28 Years Later.
Danny Boyle, Alex Garland and even Cillian Murphy are all coming back
After weeks of bidding wars, 28 Years Later has finally found a home at Sony. The sequel will reunite Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland for the first time in 17 years, with a “part two” sequel coming as part of the total package, per The Hollywood Reporter. What's more: Oppenheimer Oscar favourite Cillian Murphy is on board as an executive producer, adding fuel to the rumour fire that he'll return to one his defining early career roles.
Movie trade magazines are reporting that each movie will have an estimated budget of around $65 million, a marked boost from the prior 28 flicks, made for $8 and $15 million respectively. That indicates a lot of faith in the sequel package on Sony's part: you only put that much money behind a project if you think it's going to make it back (and then some), after all. 28 is a long-untapped IP that has proven profitable in the past, and the stocks of Boyle, Garland and Murphy have only grown in the decades since the first one, so why not take a bigger financial swing?
28 Years Later looks to kick off an entirely new trilogy
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Boyle and Garland—the latter of whom has gone on to become a respected director in his own right, helming sci-fi nasties like Annihilation and head-twisters such as Ex Machina—want to launch a new trilogy in the 28-iverse. Boyle will direct the first film, while Garland will script all three, which tallies up with recent press talk that Garland is done with working behind the camera.
Apparently, the aim is to achieve similar success to George Miller's Fury Road, his long-awaited sequel in the Mad Max franchise, which is now considered one of the best action movies of all time.
Cillian Murphy could be starring
Up until this week's concrete confirmation, the possibility of a new 28 sequel had percolated in the press, with The Independent raising the news of a prospective follow-up with Cillian Murphy while he was on Oppenheimer duties. “That's great to hear,” he said. “I didn't know that—I would be there in a flash. I made two movies with both of those guys, and I would love to work with them again. Of course, I'm there.”
Murphy's character Jim was originally set to die in 28 Days Later, but the canonical ending sees him survive. So it's hardly outside the realm of possibility that we could reunite with him all this time later — maybe he's still mates with Naomie Harris' Selena?
That said, whether he wants to get in front of the camera alongside his production duties are yet to be seen. But one thing's for sure: 28 Years Later would sell more tickets with Murphy in it. Let's wait and see.
Originally Appeared on GQ