Max Landis on his unused concept for Chronicle 2

Over the weekend, screenwriter Max Landis tweeted about his unused script and concepts for Chronicle 2...

Last month, screenwriter Max Landis confirmed that he was no longer involved in the sequel to Chronicle, the found footage superhero movie that became a critical and financial hit in 2012.

“Fox had a different direction they wanted to take the series,” Landis said on Twitter, a few months after it was reported that he’d completed a Chronicle 2 script that studio bosses were unsure about – in interviews elsewhere, Landis had said his screenplay was “really dark”, and that darkness, it seems, wasn’t what Fox wanted.

Over the weekend, Landis tweeted again about his screenplay, and afforded an insight into what it contained – and a better idea of exactly what Fox rejected.

“In retrospect, I’m not even sure if fans of the first movie would’ve been ready or eager for my second instalment as originally written,” Landis wrote, in a series of tweets posted between the 10th and 11th of August. “Gone was the aspirational ‘what would you do,’ gone were the pranks and bromance, gone were lovely tragic Andrew and hopeful, bright Steve.”

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“In their place was a dark, frustratingly unblinking stare into a complicated world that posed the question, is it worth it to be a hero… Told from the point of view of a heartbroken and insane woman who would martyr herself to the cause of being the world’s first villain.”

It certainly sounds like a brave and very different direction for the fledgling series, and while we can see why the concept would have scared the life out of Fox executives, it could have provided a complementary chapter in the story rather than a straight retread of the first Chronicle‘s themes. Landis himself hoped that it would expand on the first movie, just as the best sequels have in the past.

“It was, in my estimation, a sequel that elaborated on the ideas and situations from the first to create a different genre of movie,” Landis wrote. “In the best of worlds, in my optimistic but wildly prejudiced eyes, this could make it an Aliens, a Terminator 2… in the worst [case] a Grease 2.

Shortly after, Landis revealed what may have been his title for the movie – would it have been called Chronicle 2: Martyr?

“So […] maybe it’s better that Martyr never saw the light of day. Sad I didn’t get to do some of my other versions.”

These other versions, Landis later revealed, would have culminated in an Avengers-style team-up movie:

“The multi-movie low budget Chronicle-based found footage superhero universe culminating in an Avengers type team up was a real good one.”

It’s sad to think that this concept has been rejected so roundly by Fox; the original Chronicle was marked out by being so unafraid to explore adult themes, such as bullying and domestic abuse, so while the sequel does indeed sound as dark as Landis said it would be, it would also be of a piece with its predecessor. Plus, it would have had robot suits in it:

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“Martyr also had two pretty cool robot suits in it. Sorta hyper realistic Iron Man stuff. Magnetic flight, sonic weaponry. Cool, cool stuff.”

A new writer’s been put on the Chronicle 2 production, and while we’ll have to wait and see what direction it’ll go in next, we can only look back on those Martyr tweets and wonder at the sequel that could have been.