Just when you thought World War Z 2 could escape the shadow of its predecessor and the production problems it suffered, Deadline brings word that The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona has quit the in-development sequel.
Word of Bayona exiting the film comes only a few months before Paramount and Plan B had intended to get the cameras rolling, with the studios primed to welcome back Brad Pitt et al. in time for a summer shoot. Alas, as Deadline notes, this fast-tracked production window was one of the chief concerns for Bayona, who originally signed on to direct the flesh-munching sequel in December of 2013.
Such an accelerated timelines would have led to a clash with the director’s commitment to the all-but-complete fantasy drama A Monster Calls, with post-production work and a publicity tour still to come. In the official statement from Paramount, the studio explained Bayona’s exit as so: “Bayona is no longer able to make World War Z 2 this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.”
As disappointing as it is to learn of Bayona bowing out of World War Z 2, it’s worth keeping in mind that Paramount and Plan B essentially overhauled the original film, shoehorning in an intense and satisfying final act that helped fire the film to box office stardom. Can they capture lightning in a bottle once again?
World War Z 2 is currently set for a marquee summer release on June 9, 2017, though whether today’s news will impact that due date will depend on how quickly Paramount can find a replacement. As for Juan Antonio Bayona’s A Monster Calls, fans can look forward to seeing Liam Neeson as the titular entity on October 14, 2016.