28 Years Later: release date & everything we know

Date:

With Cillian Murphy teasing his return as Jim, what else do we know about 28 Years Later, and will Jim be infected?

Last Updated on May 20, 2024

Fans of the 2002 film 28 Days Later and its follow-up 28 Weeks Later have been waiting seventeen years for another entry in the franchise, hoping we’d someday see a movie called 28 Months Later. We’re not getting that one, but 28 Days Later director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland are currently working on reviving the franchise, and they’re going to make this revival worth the wait. Not only are we getting a new movie called 28 Years Later, but we’re actually getting a whole trilogy of sequels! Sony just reported that the film is set for a June 20th, 2025 release date. But what else do we know about this 28 Years Later sequel trilogy.

LONG IN THE WORKS

Way back in 2009, we heard that Paul Andrew Williams (The Cottage) was on board to direct 28 Months Later… but that project didn’t make it into production. Since then, we’ve heard Boyle and Garland mention 28 Months Later every once in a while. They would say there was a great idea for the sequel, then later say it might never happen. In a 2022 interview, Boyle said Garland had already written the script, and it might finally be the time to make it into a movie. In the middle of 2023, the collaborators confirmed to Inverse that they were having serious talks about the sequel, which they were calling 28 Years Later. Garland said, “A few years ago an idea materialized in my head for what would be really 28 Years Later. Danny always liked the idea.“ Boyle added, “So we’re talking about it quite seriously, quite diligently. If he doesn’t want to direct it himself I’ll be well up for it if we can execute a similarly good idea.

28 Weeks Later wasn’t as successful as its predecessor, making $65.8 million on a budget of $15 million vs. 28 Days Later‘s $84.6 million on a budget of $8 million. That’s part of the reason why another sequel hasn’t happened sooner – along with the fact that Garland wasn’t overly pleased with the 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later, which he didn’t write. Garland told Inverse, “I resisted [making a sequel] for a long time because there were things about 28 Weeks that bugged me. I just thought, ‘F*ck that. I’d rather try to write a different story in a different world.’“ Now he’s ready to write not just one but three new stories in the 28 Days Later world. No plot details have been revealed.

DIRECTORS

Alex Garland is expected to write the scripts for all three of the 28 Years Later movies, but apparently didn’t want to direct them. Danny Boyle will only be directing the first one. For the second film, possibly titled 28 Years Later Part 2, he’ll be passing the helm over to The Marvels and Candyman director Nia DaCosta. Production on DaCosta’s sequel will begin immediately after Boyle wraps filming on his. They wanted to have the sequel director signed on before filming on the first movie begins, as they want to “make sure each director is on the same page in regard to the story while also having time to bring their own vision to life.”

28 Days Later

CILLIAN MURPHY

In 28 Days Later, Cillian Murphy played bicycle courier Jim, who wakes up from a coma to find himself in an apocalyptic England (sort of similar to the start of The Walking Dead, which began in comic book form around the same time the movie was released) that’s overrun by people who have been infected by a rage virus. Boyle and Garland went through several endings for the film before landing on the one movie-goers saw in theatres – and that ending was the only one where Jim survived. So he’s still out there, ready to live through another rage virus nightmare 28 years later. If Boyle and Garland decide to put him in the story.

While doing the press rounds for Oppenheimer last year, the Oscar winning Murphy told Collider, “I was talking to Danny Boyle recently, and I said, ‘Danny, we shot the movie at the end of 2000.’ So I think we’re definitely approaching the 28 Years Later. But like I’ve always said, I’m up for it. I’d love to do it. If Alex [Garland] thinks there’s a script in it and Danny wants to do it, I’d love to do it.“ Despite the fact that Murphy is willing to reprise the role of Jim and is returning as an executive producer on 28 Years Later, we still haven’t heard confirmation that he’ll actually be in the movie. While talking to Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast a couple months ago, Murphy said (with thanks to Coming Soon for the transcription), “It’s for (Danny Boyle and Alex Garland) to speak about, I suppose, but I think it’s been brewing for a while. The first movie was so important for me, as an actor. I love working with those guys. Alex has an idea. And Danny directing is just huge. Watch this space.

In the end, it looks as though Murphy will be back, with the actor teasing his return to the franchise in a “surprising way”.

WILL JIM BE ONE OF THE INFECTED?

While some might think that means Jim has become one of the infected in the 28 years since the first film, the actor did mention that his return will be in a way that grows. Presumably, that means he’ll have a smaller role in the first movie of the trilogy, but play a bigger part in the next two films. That doesn’t mean he WON’T be infected though, as it’s possible Jim could play a member of the infected who starts to regain his humanity, kind of in a way that could pay tribute to the most famous zombie of the all, Day of the Dead‘s Bub.

CAST

While we wait to hear what Murphy’s role will be, other casting news has been popping up. Industry scooper Daniel Richtman had shared the rumor that Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) were in talks to play the lead roles. Deadline has since reported that they’ve heard Comer is indeed in the cast, along with Aaron Taylor-Johnson (The Fall Guy) and Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall). There has been no further word about Hunnam’s involvement, and it looks like he’s no longer on the docket. However, recently Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) was added to the cast in a supporting role, with the buzz being that his character is meant to emerge as a lead in follow-up movies. Details on the characters these actors might be playing are, of course, being kept under wraps.

DISTRIBUTION

There was a bidding war over the distribution rights to the 28 Years Later trilogy, with Warner Bros. and Sony emerging as the final competitors – and Sony taking the win in the end. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Each movie will have a budget in the $60 million range but it’s unclear how goalposts or compensation may have changed during the high-stakes negotiations. A theatrical release was of great import to the filmmakers.” Sony had an edge in this race due to the fact that it’s headed up by Tom Rothman, who used to be at Fox and worked with Boyle on eight different movies there. Release dates have not yet been announced.

Boyle and Garland are producing 28 Years Later. Bernie Bellew is also producing, as are original producer Andrew Macdonald, and Peter Rice, who was the head of Fox Searchlight Pictures when that company backed 28 Days Later. As mentioned, Murphy is executive producing.

And that’s everything we know about the 28 Years Later trilogy at this point. Are you looking forward to these films? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

28 Days Later

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/28-years-later-everything-we-know/

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