Though it’s extremely commonplace in Hollywood for any successful film to birth a sequel, Alex Garland is much more interested in exploring new ideas than returning to old ones. As such, the Ex Machina writer-director has no plans to return to that sci-fi thriller’s universe, and he also made a conscious decision not to write 28 Weeks Later, a sequel to he and Danny Boyle’s genre-reinvigorating zombie thriller 28 Days Later.
Now, though, it appears that Garland isn’t entirely done with the latter series – he says he recently came up with an idea for 28 Months Later that producer Andrew MacDonald is turning into a movie.
During an interview with The Playlist, Garland said that the idea for a 28 Months Later came to him while brainstorming a very different project:
“About two years ago, Danny started collaborating on the potential to make ‘Trainspotting 2,’ another sequel. In that conversation, an idea for ’28 Months’ arrived. I had a funny idea. I had a sort of weird idea that popped into my head. Partly because of a trip I’d taken. I had this thought, and I suggested it to Andrew and Danny, but I also said I don’t want to work on it. I don’t really want to play a role, and Andrew said, ‘Leave it to me.’ So he’s gone off and is working on it.”
Garland is more than happy to be hands-off with any continuation of the zombie franchise he got rolling, due to his overall dislike for sequels – something he says Boyle and MacDonald shared, which is why 28 Months Later was dormant for so long.
“I don’t want to sound overly judgmental about it, because it’s very easy to get precious about this stuff,” he said, also referencing calls for an Ex Machina 2. “I don’t feel that way about, but the thing of expecting and needing more of something, has it’s own built-in issues, I think. Because most stories don’t stand up to being repeated.”
The helmer added that “sequels are generally done in a rush,” voicing a dissatisfaction with the “sense of urgency” that such continuations often have. “The first movie, you spend a long time developing to get it over the line. The second thing, you don’t. Your expectations are different and your motivations are different.”
Now that 28 Months Later has been reanimated, though, what will the threequel entail? Garland was not forthcoming with details but said that the idea is “pretty simple,” stating:
“Don’t you think those are, in a way, better? Because there is no momentum now, and you’ve had an organic, real spark about where I can take this. And it just popped into your head, kind of thing. Rather than, ‘Okay, I’m going to make a sequel.’”
The 28 duology is the scariest and most satisfying pair of zombie thrillers this side of George Romero, so news that a 28 Months Later is on the way is undeniably thrilling, especially because Garland seems to be on board with the film’s core concept.