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Why the Time Has Finally Come for a 28 Years Later Trilogy


One of the most surprising, exciting pieces of movie news so far this year is that writer Alex Garland and director Danny Boyle are going back to the world of 28 Days Later. Over two decades since the groundbreaking original zombie film and 17 years since its follow-up, the pair are getting ready to make 28 Years Later.

Speaking to Garland on the occasion of his latest film, Civil War, io9 asked him why now was the right time to go back to the franchise that launched his career.

“It was partly to do with the passage of time,” Garland told io9 over video chat. “It sounds dumb, but you get locked in. Originally I wrote 28 Days Later as almost like a gag. It was making a caption into the title. You know, ‘12 hours later,’ ‘The next day,’ except make it the title. And then you’re stuck with it. [Laughs] You got to live with the thing. And 28 Months Later would have seemed weird given the amount of time that had passed. And, 28 Weeks Later, someone had already done it. And so our last time frame, unless we start moving to centuries, was 28 years. And enough time had passed to justify that right.”

But, of course, there were a few other big factors beyond just the timing. “Danny was interested in doing it, the producers were interested in doing it, and I had an idea,” he said. “I had not really had an idea that I was interested in prior to that. It had been floated. We’d talk about it. Every five years or something it would get discussed, but I had no motivation to do it. I said, ‘Look, if someone else wants to do it, that’s fine, but I haven’t got anything.’ For some reason, that passage of time unlocked a particular concept in my head that the film then goes with, and so, suddenly it made sense. I said, ‘Okay, I think I’ve got an idea.’ And I wrote it as a script, and showed it to Danny and Andrew [Macdonald] and Peter [Rice] who are the producers, and they said, ‘Yeah, okay, let’s do it.’”

Plus, Garland confirmed that the overall idea is for the series to be a trilogy, if audiences turn up for it. “That was key to the idea was it was a story that couldn’t naturally fit in one film,” Garland said. “And there was a possibility— which we may not have the opportunity to do—but to do a proper trilogy. Not a sequence of sequels that are effectively replaying the first thing just in slightly different forms, but an actual true narrative. And we don’t know if we’ll be able to do it because that relates, in the end, to market forces. Films cost a lot of money. Even cheap films cost a lot of money. You know, people talk low-budget, but it’s a lot of money always. And so that depends on really whether people want to see future ones after we’ve made it.”

But, either way, 28 Years Later from Alex Garland and Danny Boyle is coming. And ultimately it’ll be coming… almost 28 years after the original too. No release date is set, but you have to guess 2025 or 2026, 23 or 24 years after the first film, is probably a good guess.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.



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