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Now Is the Right Time to Talk About a World War Z TV Series

The sequel isn't happening and a TV show could fix the movie's problems

Amanda Bell

Paramount has finally, officially pulled the plug on World War Z 2, the proposed follow-up to the 2013 adaptation of Max Brooks' novel that was, by all accounts, a disaster.

As fans of the excellent zombie book might recall, Brad Pitt's Plan B production company won a bidding war against Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way all the way back in the mid-aughts, with plans for him to star as the story's hero, Gerry Lane, a version of the narrating interviewer from the book. Expectations were high for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact thatThe Walking Dead had just arrived and made zombies all the rage again. But more importantly, Brooks' book was just an outstanding read with a lot of well-researched, creepy vignettes that could make for an incredible movie in the right hands.

Unfortunately, the list of similarities between the book and the film that followed were the title and the presence of zombies. That's about it. Otherwise, the movie was utterly unrecognizable, from start to finish, to fans of the book. Pitt himself recognized that he'd left massive chunks of the book out of the adaptation, and that was part of why he wanted to revisit the story for a sequel, even after his character supposedly solved the zombie crisis with that ridiculous Hail Mary of a third act in the first film.

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Now, the movie ended up making a pretty penny at the box office, but whether or not it was actually profitable is another story altogether. The film notoriously suffered massive production setbacks and had to haul in Damon Lindelof to rewrite and shoot an entirely new ending for the movie, which meant other characters were cut from the original scenes (hi, Matthew Fox!) and the production cost skyrocketed faster than the zombie pile from the Jerusalem scene. Chances are that Paramount doesn't want to risk that much money on a sequel that's now years overdue, so after several delays, the studio has given up on the idea at last. And that sound you hear is fans of Brooks' book everywhere breathing a giant sigh of relief because it's hard to imagine any way that World War Z 2 could salvage what was broken by the first film, and it would be a heartbreaker indeed to see the story continue to trample on a story we all loved so well.


World War Z

Jeff J Mitchell

So, now, let's talk about what should happen next with World War Z: a TV show. Yes, really. All those networks and streaming services looking for the next Game of Thrones? This is it right here, guys.

Here are a few big reasons World War Z would work so much better on the TV format.

The settings would be ever-changing and so fun. The beauty of World War Z is that it is, in a way, its own little anthology, chronicling what happened at the beginning, middle, end and after the zombie apocalypse raged across the world. From one family's living room as a zed crashed into the sliding glass door to the shores of an ocean as people scrambled for the safety of a cruise ship to outer freaking space, World War Z covered a lot of ground that a procedural-type show format could really have fun with. By giving each of these survivors' accounts their own episodic due, there's so much potential for a solid production designer to really run away with it.

The characters would be revolving. Other than the narrator, there wouldn't be a lot of regular cast members. Much the way Black Mirrorpulls in excellent talent for each of its episodes without having to take up too much of their time, this show could bring someone in to explore singular character-driven stories that are so meaty it would be impossible to turn them down. Who wouldn't sign on play the evil pharmacy brand rep who helped fool the world into buying its fake cure or the badass pilot who heard someone on the other end of her CB radio guiding her to safety, although it was probably her imagination? Each individual story is compelling and would give the guest stars a lot to do without requiring too much commitment.

The stories would finally get the time they deserved. Fellow fans of Brooks' novel will agree that we have simply not gotten to see enough of this story play out on-screen. From the careless celebrity who live-streamed from her little safe house and was overrun by a desperate gaggle of intruders to the bonkers Battle of Yonkers to the survivors who fled north to safety and had to take drastic measures to sustain themselves, there are so many good one-off stories to draw from that it could easily fill a full season (or more). Easily. It's the perfect source material for an action- and drama-centric anthology series.

Make it happen, Hollywood! And please, oh please, do it right this time.