It’s one of the biggest cliffhangers in modern horror movie history. After another disaster in the streets of London, a second outbreak that has extinguished all hope of re-establishing society in the UK, the Rage Virus has finally found its way to mainland Europe. We watch as infected rush through the streets of Paris, a bloodthirsty horde charging toward the Eiffel Tower. It’s clear that this is only the beginning, that infections in France will lead to outbreaks all over the continent and beyond, like a domino effect. The world is certainly doomed this time.
That was the ending to 28 Weeks Later, the bleak continuation to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland‘s classic indie horror hit from 2002. When the sequel released in 2007, helmed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, it seemed to solidify 28 Days Later‘s status as a franchise starter. There were even tie-in comics made at the time!
And then silence. Despite favorable reviews (no, it’s not as good as the original but still worthwhile), 28 Weeks Later fell about $20 million short of the first film’s global box office. It brought the fledgling franchise to a screeching halt.
There’s more to it than that, of course, as Garland himself hinted when he was asked about a third film in 2010: “I’ll answer that completely honestly. When we made 28 Days Later, the rights were frozen between a group of people who are no longer talking to each other. And so, the film is never going to happen unless those people start talking to each other again.”
Fast forward to 2024 and it sounds like the rights holders are finally chatting again because 28 Years Later is officially a go, with Danny Boyle back to direct a new script from Alex Garland. The news comes from THR, which reports that the 28 Days Later duo aim to make a whole trilogy of sequels to the cult classic horror movie. The filmmakers are currently shopping the project to movie studios and streamers, with a target budget of $75 million per movie.
This will of course be very welcome news for fans who have waited almost two decades to see what happens next in the 28 Days Later universe. But it’s unclear whether the new movies would pick up after the events of 28 Weeks Later, which Boyle and Garland were only executive producers on, or follow up on the original more directly. For his part, 28 Days Later and Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy told The Independent in 2023 that he’d “be there in a flash” for a sequel if Boyle and Garland were to ask.
Boyle previously confirmed to NME in 2022 that Garland penned a script for a sequel he referred to as “28 Months Later” with a “lovely idea” that is “again set in England, very much about England.” And Garland also didn’t mince words in 2023 when he told Inverse that he resisted the idea of another sequel because “there were things about 28 Weeks that bugged me. I just thought, ‘Fuck that. I’d rather try to write a different story in a different world.”
In other words, it sounds like whatever 28 Years Later is, it may end up sticking to its roots rather than follow the cliffhanger to France. But it certainly would be a shame to have waited this long and not learn much more about how the Rage Virus crossing the English Channel affected the rest of the world. Or maybe when the threequel begins, England is actually the only safe haven left while the rest of the world has burned down in the years following Weeks? Until this movie, of course.
It’s early days yet for 28 Years Later, but we’ll keep you posted as we hear more.