Zack Snyder went from the zombie apocalypses and ancient Greece to nightmares and Metropolis. Now the filmmaker is heading to distant galaxies.
Snyder has defined his next project, an epic sci-fi fantasy titled Rebel moon which he co-wrote and will direct and produce for Netflix, the home of his most recent hit, Army of the dead. And he re-associates the filmmaker with many creative colleagues from his past original ventures.
Snyder co-wrote the script with Army co-writer Shay Hatten and Kurt Johnstad, who co-wrote 300, the stylish Snyder movie with a sword and a sandal adapting the Frank Miller comic. Snyder and Johnstad will receive the story on credit.
And he will be producing with his wife and production partner Deborah Snyder via the duo’s Stone Quarry with longtime principal Wesley Coller. Eric Newman, who produced Snyder’s first feature film in 2004, Dawn of the Dead, as well as films ranging from Children of men and Project power at Shiny and the next one Spider head, produced through its banner, Grand Electric. Sarah Bowen of Grand Electric will be the executive producer.
Rebel Also puts Snyder back in business with Netflix’s Scott Stuber, who oversaw Dawn of the Dead in his then role as Vice President of Universal and was instrumental in Army of the dead.
The story sets in motion when a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy is threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. Desperate people send a young woman with a mysterious past to search for warriors from neighboring planets to help them take a stand.
“It was I who grew up as a fan of Akira Kurosawa, a Star wars fan, ”says Snyder Hollywood journalist. “It’s my love of science fiction and giant adventure. My hope is that this also becomes massive intellectual property and a universe that can be built.
Rebel finds the germs of its origins in a Star wars pitch that the filmmaker had developed ten years ago. It was a more mature take on the universe created by George Lucas and did not go beyond meaningful conversations after the Walt Disney Company acquired LucasFilm in 2012. At one point, he and Newman, who was behind it. Narcos and Narcos Mexico, even went so far as to make it a series.
But it was as a characteristic that he felt his true potential lay. He started reworking the idea with Johnstad and really took the plunge at the same time he started doing Army of the dead, bringing in this film’s co-writer, Hatten. The latter, at 27, had quietly become a much-sought-after franchise writer, deepening the world of John wick for Lionsgate working on the upcoming third and fourth and fifth installments.
“I’ve spent the last two or three years building this universe. Every nook must be painted. I made drawings, constantly drawing and really cultivating its fertile ground to make this world fully realized.
Army was watched by 72 million people in its first four weeks, according to Netflix, placing it in the streamer’s top 10 most-watched movies. Even before its May 14 release, Snyder and Stone Quarry had a German-language prequel film and an animated series in production, making Army not just original property, but a franchise.
Rebel will be another IP address and a hoped-for franchise for Netflix, which is building its arsenal in the age of streaming wars.
The feature will be Snyder’s next film and the hope is to start production in early 2022. “I’ve been working on it for so long, it’s pretty advanced,” he says.
All of this takes place as Snyder has one of the greatest years of his filmmaking career. Above Army and the new project, he also saw his vision of Justice League restored and make a meteoric debut on HBO Max. And the film’s recent international release on DVD and Blu-ray has propelled it to sales peaks in several countries, including France and Brazil.
Spotted by CAA, Lee Stobby Entertainment and Lichter Grossman, Hatten becomes a mainstay of Snyder and Netflix. Rebel marks his fifth collaboration with the streamer, whose Army, the prequel, the anime, as well as Day shift, Netflix’s vampire thriller starring Jamie Foxx currently filming.
Johnstad most recently co-wrote Charlize Theron’s action flick Atomic blonde. It is replaced by UTA and Sloane Offer.
Snyder is replaced by CAA.