For a while, director David Fincher and Brad Pitt had an exciting reunion planned. The filmmaker and actor previously produced magic making movies including Se7en, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and there was a long stretch of time when both of them were set to reunite for World War Z 2. That ended up not happening, and according to Fincher, it's for the best given that the project tread upon a lot of the same ground as The Last Of Us.
The latest David Fincher film, The Killer, is set to be released in limited theaters domestically this weekend, and the filmmaker has spoken about the not-meant-to-be World War Z sequel while on the press tour for the movie. GQ recently inquired about his "ideas" for the project, and the director explained why he's glad that it isn't happening. Said Fincher,
Well, it was a little like The Last of Us. I'm glad that we didn't do what we were doing, because The Last of Us has a lot more real estate to explore the same stuff. In our title sequence, we were going to use the little parasite… they used it in their title sequence, and in that wonderful opening with the Dick Cavett, David Frost-style talk show.
The Gone Girl director is referring to the very first scene of the HBO series The Last Of Us, which features two scientist characters played by John Hannah and Christopher Heyerdahl on a 1960s talk show. Decades ahead of their time, they predict the fungi-based apocalypse that ultimately unfolds and destroys the world.
David Fincher didn't go further into details about the abandoned idea for World War Z 2 beyond saying that the plan wasn't to make a movie more like the Max Brooks-authored book on which the original film is (very) loosely based. His comments make me wonder if the project was going to be another riff on the Lone Wolf And Cub dynamic, with Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane acting as a paternal figure and shepherding a ward through the zombie apocalypse. Pop culture has certainly seen a lot of that lately, with other recent examples beyond The Last Of Us including the Star Wars Disney+ series The Mandalorian and movies like Gareth Edwards' The Creator, James Mangold's Logan, George Clooney's The Midnight Sky, and Clint Eastwood's Cry Macho.
For what it's worth, Brad Pitt has previously lamented not getting to make the movie, saying that it was a "really strong story."
Whether or not we'll actually ever get to see a World War Z 2 is an unknown at present. The first film celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, and film fans will remember that it made over half-a-billion dollars the summer it was released. J.A. Bayona was hired to direct a sequel, but he dropped out in January 2016, and that's what opened the door for David Fincher. Then-Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos confirmed in spring 2017 that the Social Network director was helming the project... but then it spent a lot of time in development hell. It was finally reported in February 2019 that the plug had been pulled on the project.
We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for World War Z 2, but for now, audiences can check out the latest from David Fincher. Starring Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell and Arliss Howard, The Killer will be in theaters this weekend and will be available to stream for Netflix subscribers starting November 10.
If you want to watch World War Z as part of your Spooky Season 2023 screening plans, it's among the horror movies you can stream on Paramount+.