It was said right from the beginning that Marc Forster’s zombie epic, World War Z (review), was going to be the start of a trilogy. Apparently the sequels were going to be more faithful to the graphic novels the film is based on, and the first film was to be a sort of introduction to the story, and would pick up more from the graphic novels in the sequels. However, with all the problems in production, and with the film being put back from December 2012 to June 2013, Paramount and all involved became less keen on the trilogy plans.
However, World War Z has smashed box office expectations this weekend, and now Paramount have said they are developing a sequel. The film was expected to gross $40 million this weekend in the US, but smashed expectations by achieving a massive $66 million, the biggest weekend opening of Brad Pitt’s career. Made on a budget of $190 million, World War Z grossed $45.8 million outside of the US, bringing its opening weekend total to $111.8 million. The film is on track to make its money back for Paramount, and now that all the panic of whether the film will be a success or not is out of the way, Paramount are keen to move ahead with a sequel, and Brad Pitt is expected to return.
It is not known whether Marc Forster will return to direct the sequel.
World War Z went through a lot of problems during production, and Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard were called upon to rewrite the ending. They were also responsible for adding many of the human elements to the film, including the breakfast scene at the beginning, the asthma attack scene and the time Gerry calls his wife while on a plane from South Korea to Jerusalem. Movies.com have got their hands on how the film was originally intended to end, and it is clear the original ending would have been much, much darker:
The plane Gerry and Segen board is bound for Moscow. Upon safely landing, everyone on board is rounded up by the military. The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry’s cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia’s zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter. He looks almost dead inside, but the reality is that over this time he’s become an experienced and ruthless zombie killer, and he’s the leader of his own equally capable unit.
Gerry’s unit is tasked with clearing subway tunnels of zombie hordes. This is the first time we see the Lobo, a perfected zombie-killing tool that’s sort of a shovel/battle axe that would have been one of the few things from the book to make it into the movie. Gerry and his team use them to slice their way through every poor zombie that tracks them through the tunnels by following their sounds. It’s all routine work for them, and when they’re not in the tunnels killing, they’re basically just preparing to go back in. During this downtime we see a bit of bonding between Gerry and another English-speaking friend, Simon. The two play a guessing game of what celebrities would have survived the outbreak.
Things turn out worse for Gerry’s wife Karin (Mireille Enos), and in the original ending she ends up in a forced relationship with the soldier who rescued them from the rooftop in the beginning of the film. In a blink and you’ll miss it cameo, the soldier was played by Matthew Fox, and while his role seemed totally wasted and unnecessary, his big payoff was due to come with the films original ending:
Gerry reaches Karin. He explains to her that the cold is the way they’ll win battles, which does her no good because it just so happens she and the kids are in a refugee camp in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. They’re in the type of camp where you have to have something to trade to survive, and it just so happens the one thing Karin had to trade was herself. She doesn’t explicitly tell Gerry this, but after she hastily hangs up the phone we see that she’s in some kind of reluctantly consensual relationship with the soldier who rescued them from the rooftop at the beginning of the movie.
Fox’ parajumper soldier then calls Gerry back and explains to him that he should just stay wherever he is and start a new life like he and Karin have. Gerry refuses to accept this, though, and he embarks on a rage mission to get back to his wife and daughters. Trouble is the nearest port that won’t be frozen is thousands of miles away, so there’s a montage of Gerry, Simon and Segen crossing various terrain until they ultimately end up on a boat. They’re now off of the Oregon Coast and they attack the American shore like it’s D-Day. And that’s how the movie ends. Not with Gerry having discovered a cure, but with him storming across the United States of America to get Karin back.