Having spent the majority of his career primarily as a writer, Alex Garland leapt into the realm of buzzed-about-directors with his excellent robo-thriller/technological thinkpiece Ex Machina, and has suddenly found himself armed with a certain amount of leverage going forward (his next scheduled directorial project will be Annihilation, a Natalie Portman–starring adaptation of a sci-fi novel by Jeff VanderMeer).
Just because he has that leverage, however, doesn’t mean that he intends on abusing it, and speaking recently with Indiewire, Garland touched upon the status of the long-talked-about 28 Months Later, and how he feels about sequels in general.
When prompted about the possibility of an Ex Machina sequel—something very tempting given the way things are left in that film—Garland stepped in to shoot the idea down based on principle alone:
I don’t want to sound overly judgmental about it, because it’s very easy to get precious about this stuff…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.
A bit later, Garland clarified the inherent problem he’s worried about:
Sequels are generally done in a rush. It’s done with a sense of urgency. 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.
Despite that apprehension, the 28 Days Later… writer and 28 Weeks Later producer revealed that 28 Months Later is, in fact, in the works, and based on his own story idea to boot. Garland explained that while working with Danny Boyle on the in-development Trainspotting sequel Porno, an idea for a return to their zombified world “arrived” based in part off of a recent trip that Garland had taken. He suggested it to Boyle and producer Andrew Macdonald, stating outright that he didn’t want to involve himself further on it.
The project is now in Macdonald’s control, who will have his hands full attempting to flesh out (get it?!) a movie that belongs in the canon of the classic original (or the surprisingly good sequel). Just add in a few mass helicopter decapitations, though, and it should be fine.