This fall marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Zombieland, the well-reviewed horror comedy that entertained while instructing how to survive a zombie apocalypse. This fall will also see the long-awaited release of the hit movie’s sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap. That’s right, it’s time to nut up or shut up again and follow our favorite city-named characters as they re-kill some undead and maybe even search for more Twinkies.
What’s in store for Columbus and the rest of the gang? What have they been up to this past decade? Will they accidentally murder anymore Hollywood icons? Here’s everything we know about the follow-up so far.
Ten years is a long wait for a sequel to a movie as popular as Zombieland, which grossed more than $100 million worldwide back in 2009. Everyone seemed ready to do another one soon afterward, but the usual Hollywood hurdles got in the way, some of them rather positive. The filmmakers and cast have all had a good and busy decade since the release of the original.
Jesse Eisenberg became an Oscar nominee. Woody Harrelson, who had previously been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, earned a couple more nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Emma Stone was not only nominated for two Oscars herself, but actually won one for Best Actress in 2016, and she was just nominated for a third time. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick hit it big with Deadpool and Deadpool 2. Director Ruben Fleischer did a few more movies, including last year’s box office hit Venom, and a lot of television.
As it turns out, this was perfect timing for the cast of Zombieland to return for a sequel, if only for the fact that they could promote the project through a popular meme. On January 29, the official Zombieland Twitter account revealed the new title for the sequel in a tweet that also featured a new poster, with Eisenberg, Harrelson, Stone, and Breslin recreating the one-sheet for the original. The image of them all older — and in Breslin’s case, taller — is a perfect entry in the #10YearChallenge trend of comparing how we look now with our 2009 selves.
Also, this isn’t the first return to Zombieland. Back in 2013, Amazon Studios debuted a pilot for Zombieland: The TV Series alongside 13 other pilots and asked viewers to help decide which series would be picked up. Unfortunately, fans weren’t into the small-screen version of Zombieland, which was scripted by Reese and Wernick but featured a new cast, and Amazon opted not to produce any more episodes. “You guys successfully hated it out of existence,” at the time.
Despite all the success and elevated prestige the cast and creators have experienced in the last decade, everyone is back on board for this crazy ride. Eisenberg, Harrelson, Stone, and Breslin will reprise their respective roles as Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock. And Fleischer is again at the helm, directing another script by Reese and Wernick, who are this time joined by The Expendables writer Dave Callaham.
When Sony greenlit the sequel last summer, studio president Sanford Panitch said of the reunion: “No one wanted to see it happen more than Emma, Woody, Jesse, and Abigail. These are some of the most in-demand actors, and I think they are making this movie because they love these characters. We are thrilled Ruben was willing to come back to direct the sequel, as his work on Venom has been truly amazing.”
Fleischer himself also spoke excitedly to Fandango last fall as he was prepping for the sequel. “I’m thrilled,” he said. “I’ve been scouting and storyboarding and getting it going, and to get to work with that cast again is just an absolute dream come true. It’s been really exciting starting to think about that movie, and to get to work with Emma, Jesse, Woody, and Abigail once again is truly a dream come true. Yeah, we’re just at the very early stages, but we have an amazing script, and we’re going to start shooting in Georgia in January.” Whatever the full synopsis and cast list entails, they’re up and running as of now — filming began for Zombieland: Double Tap on January 21, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia.
What is the foursome up to this time around? The plot is being kept under wraps, of course, but does it really matter what the story is? All a Zombieland sequel needs to have is more hilarious zombie action and horror — not too complicated. We do know that Zombieland: Double Tap will involve another trek through the United States of Zombieland, however, this time taking the gang from the White House to the former American heartland.
The film will also feature some new players in the game of zombie bashing, and yes, they’re also all nicknamed after places special to them. Rising star Zoey Deutch . Avan Jogia (TV’s Victorious) . And Rosario Dawson . Hopefully we learn why her moniker is an entire state rather than a city.
According to sparse details spreading about the premise of the sequel, Berkeley will be a love interest for Breslin’s Little Rock, who has separated from the rest of her group, and Nevada is a zombie hunter who connects with Eisenberg’s Columbus after some drama between him and Stone’s Wichita further splits up the original cast.
Meanwhile, as the four main characters have managed to stay alive for a decade by hunkering down in the presidential home, the hordes outside have also been surviving. According to reports of the plot, the gang will be facing “new kinds of zombies,” including smarter and stealthier varieties.
“I mean, it’s been 10 years, so who knows what the world will look like at this point?” Fleischer hinted to Fandango last fall.
While it’s unconfirmed if Bill Murray will also return for the sequel as “himself,” rumor has it that his old Ghostbusters co-star and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Dan Aykroyd will make a cameo this time around as “Dan Aykroyd.” Would that mean we could look forward to Ernie Hudson or Sigourney Weaver in Zombieland 3?
Ten years is a long time to wait for a sequel, and anticipation has just been building and building. Will it meet our expectations? Certainly there’s no pleasing everyone, but the decade delay has hopefully been for the best. Fleischer thinks so, as he told LRM last month:
“I think collectively we all felt very strongly that the only circumstance we’d be willing to make the movie is if it’s as good or better than the original. And none of us were willing to compromise on the quality of the movie. We worked on the script real hard to make sure that it was up to par with the original. And so, that was just a stipulation that we were all completely on the same page about. I’m proud to say I think our script is really great, in that the movie will be as good as the original if not better, and that’s why we’re all back.”
Zombieland: Double Tap is currently scheduled to hit theaters on October 11, 2019.