Zack Snyder is back to handling zombies on the big screen with Netflix’s Army of the Dead. Considering how Snyder basically changed the zombie genre with 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, I’m looking forward to what he has to offer this time around.
While a passionate fandom waits to see what TBTB over at Warner Media decides to do with the Snyderverse after the release of Justice League – The Snyder Cut, the good news is that Snyder has a good home at Netflix with the planned Army of the Dead franchise.
For those who don’t know, according to reports, the current project was first announced back in March of 2007. However, after spending years in development Hell, Netflix came in to acquire the distribution rights from Warner Bros. in January 2019. As I said, it looks like Netflix has Snyder’s back and I’m glad.
Other than that, in August 2020, Army of the Dead replaced Chris D’Elia with Tig Notaro after allegations of sexual misconduct involving D’Elia surfaced. Apparently, a majority of Notaro’s scenes were filmed in front of a green screen and D’Elia was digitally replaced by Notaro’s character in the already recorded footage featuring the rest of the cast. Considering how awesome the trailer looks, the team did an impressive job of adding Notaro in there.
Here’s the high-energy trailer!
That zombie tiger! It reminded me of the zoo animals turning into zombies in the Resident Evil franchise. The zombie elephant in Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2 had gamers shooketh when it debuted onscreen back in 2004.
According to the press release we got, the synopsis for Army of the Dead reads:
From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Zack Snyder’s Justice League), ARMY OF THE DEAD takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a displaced Vegas local, former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: Break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. Driven by the hope that the payoff could help pave the way to a reconciliation with his estranged daughter Kate (Ella Purnell), Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. They include Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), an ace mechanic and Ward’s old friend; Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), a zombie killing machine; Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a cynical helicopter pilot; Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), a go-for-broke influencer and Chambers (Samantha Win), his ride-or-die; Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s head of security; a badass warrior known as the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) who recruits Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard; and a brilliant German safe cracker named Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Scott finds an unexpected emotional hurdle when Kate joins the expedition to search for Geeta (Huma S. Qureshi), a mother who’s gone missing inside the city. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.
Yes to the cast including Garret Dillahunt (who plays The Bitching Dead‘s favorite zombie-killing character John Dorie in Fear the Walking Dead) and Huma S. Qureshi (I recommend watching her dystopian streaming series Leila).
Along with serving as the director, Snyder also worked as director of photography. The screenplay is by Snyder and Shay Hatten and Joby Harold from a story by Snyder. The film has been produced by Deborah Snyder, p.g.a.; Wesley Coller, p.g.a.; Zack Snyder, p.g.a. The film also stars Richard Cetrone and Michael Cassidy.
As for how the franchise will develop, there are two prequel stories to know about. There’s an anime-style (that’s how it’s been described) series titled Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. It will focus on the early stages of the zombie outbreak and Scott Ward’s origins.
Army of the Dead: The Prequel will be directed by Matthias Schweighofer. He will also reprise his character named Ludwig Dieter, with the story also focusing on said character. It is scheduled to be released sometime this year.
With an approximate budget of $70-90 million, Army of the Dead will have a select theatrical run on May 14, 2021. It will also be available to stream on Netflix come May 21, 2021.
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Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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