Netflix is expecting big things for Zack Snyder’s first directorial effort since a family tragedy forced him to step down from 2017’s “Justice League.” While Snyder’s next movie, the zombie horror comedy “Army of the Dead,” won’t hit the streaming platform until next year, Netflix is already planning a franchise around the title. The company announced Thursday that it has ordered a prequel film and an anime series set in the same universe.
“Army of the Dead” follows a group of mercenaries into zombie-infested Las Vegas, where they attempt to pull off “the greatest heist ever attempted.” The film, which doesn’t yet have a release date for 2021, features an international cast of Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Samantha Win.
The film’s follow-up projects will reunite Snyder with a host of collaborators.
German actor-director Schweighöfer will helm and star in the untitled prequel film, reprising his role as Ludwig Dieter. It will be written by Shay Hatten, who co-wrote the first film as well as “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.” It will be produced out of Germany by Schweighöfer, Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Wesley Coller, and Dan Maag.
The anime series, “Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas,” traces the origin story of Scott (Bautista) and his rescue crew during the initial fall of Las Vegas as they confront the source of the zombie outbreak. Snyder is set to direct two episodes of the series and Bautista, de la Reguera, Notaro, Hardwick, and Purnell will reprise their roles.
Netflix has tapped Jay Oliva as showrunner. Oliva, who got his start as a storyboard artist and worked in that role on “Justice League” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” also has a long list of credits directing animated superhero series and films, including the acclaimed two-part animated feature “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” Executive producers are Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Coller, Olivia, and Hatten.
“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,” Zack Snyder said.
Snyder was forced to do reshoots for “Army of the Dead” earlier this year after the film’s former star Chris D’Elia was fired following sexual-misconduct allegations. Though the movie was already in post-production, D’Elia was replaced by Notaro, who acted against a green screen.
While Snyder’s name is now synonymous with DC Extended Universe titles, the “Army of the Dead” universe sees him returning to his roots. He made his feature debut with the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead.”
His long-awaited director’s cut of “Justice League” is set for release next year on HBO Max. Widely known as the Snyder Cut, Snyder’s version will represent his vision of the film, from which he was forced to step down as director in 2017 following a personal tragedy. Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to oversee reshoots and complete the movie in post-production. It was released theatrically in 2017.