Army of the Dead Prequels

We’re not sure exactly when Zack Snyder‘s zombie heist movie Army of the Dead will arrive on Netflix, but it seems like the movie may not launch on the streaming service until next year. But that’s not stopping Netflix from getting a head start on using it as a launching point for a franchise.

Netflix has announced that they’re already working on an international multi-language Army of the Dead prequel movie, as well as an anime series. Both will serve as origin stories for some of the film’s characters and the mysterious zombie outbreak they encounter in Las Vegas. Sounds like Netflix has a lot of confidence in Army of the Dead if they’re creating an entire universe of stories based around it.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with Army of the Dead, the movie follows a team of mercenaries who attempt to pull off a massive heist in the middle of a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas. Dave BautistaElla Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Samantha Win and Tig Notaro (replacing Chris D’Elia) all star in the movie, making for quite an impressive international ensemble cast.

As for the Army of the Dead prequels that Netflix announced this week, the live-action movie has been in the works for a few months now. Cast member Matthias Schweighöfer will be directing the movie, and it will follow his own character Ludwig Dieter. Presumably Zack Snyder will have his hands full getting his cut of Justice League ready to debut on HBO Max in 2021, but he and is producing partner and wife Deborah Snyder will still be producing with Wesley Coller from The Stone Quarry, Dan Maag of Pantaleon Films, and Schweighöfer himself.

Meanwhile, the anime series is called Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, and it will focus on the origin of Dave Bautista’s character Scott as he and a rescue crew (Ana de la Reguera, Tig Notaro, Omari Hardwick and Ella Purnell are reprising their roles) try to navigate the mysterious beginning of the zombie outbreak in Vegas. The Snyders, Coller, and Maag are all on board to produce this too, and Zack Snyder will make time to direct two of the episodes. Jay Oliva will be acting as showrunner and will also direct two episodes himself. They’ll be working from a script written by Shay Hatten, who co-wrote the Army of the Dead feature with Joby Harold and is also writing the script for the aforementioned live-action prequel.

Netflix must be counting on Army of the Dead being a huge hit if they’re already getting these two follow-up projects together so soon. They’re probably assuming that Zack Snyder’s loyal fanbase will turn out for the movie along with Netflix subscribers looking for a big action bonanza. Snyder himself said in a press release:

“I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix again as we expand the Army of the Dead universe with both an international prequel, as well as exploring the visually dynamic world of animation. It’s been a great collaboration and we are thrilled that Netflix sees this as big of an IP as we do.”

It seems like a risky endeavor to create a whole universe based around a single movie that no one has seen yet, especially when that movie is directed by Zack Snyder. The last time he tried to create a cinematic universe, it didn’t work out so well for DC Comics, even if a number of vocal fans say otherwise (hence the release of The Snyder Cut on HBO Max next year). But since this movie is meant to be a sort of spiritual successor to Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, one of the director’s better received movies, maybe it’ll turn out well.

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