17 years on, 28 Days Later remains a chilling watch. Danny Boyle’s film will long be remembered for its opening alone, where the protagonist Jim (played by a young Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma in an empty hospital before emerging bleary-eyed into a totally deserted London. Surveying the eerily quiet landscape on a rubbish-strewn Westminster Bridge, this disquieting scene has long been hailed as one of British cinema’s greatest-ever opening sequences.
28 Days Later revitalised the zombie horror genre, and a not-quite-as-brilliant sequel, 28 Weeks Later, inevitably followed in 2007. Talk of a third film, once tentatively titled 28 Months Later, has circulated in the 12 years since, and now Boyle has got us all excited again by saying that he and Alex Garland, the screenwriter of 28 Days Later, have devised a “wonderful idea” for a new movie.
While it looks like we’ll have to wait a little while longer for the arrival of 28 Weeks Later 3, there’s still a good amount of information about the movie out there to get excited about. Here’s everything we know so far.
Has a third 28 Days Later movie been confirmed?
If we’re being official about it, then no, not just yet. But Boyle’s latest update on the revived status of the project has given us renewed hope that serious work on the film will begin sooner rather than later.
“Alex Garland and I have a wonderful idea for the third part,” Boyle told The Independent on June 24. “It’s properly good. The original film led to a bit of a resurgence in the zombie drama and it doesn’t reference any of that. It doesn’t feel stale at all.”
Who is directing and writing the new film?
Well, it certainly looks like 28 Days Later‘s director-and-writer duo, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland, are reuniting to work on the next film to be based in the Garland-created zombie universe seen in the first two movies.
The two filmmakers have previous outside the zombie genre, too: Boyle directed the 2000 movie adaptation of Garland’s novel The Beach, and later helmed the 2007 Garland-written film Sunshine, which also starred Cillian Murphy.
28 Weeks Later saw Boyle and Garland take a back seat as executive producers, with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directing from a script he co-wrote with Rowan Joffe, Enrique López Lavigne and Jesús Olmo.
Any idea of a plot for the sequel?
After a Rage-ravaged and quarantined Britain was depicted in the first two films, the ending of 28 Weeks Later appeared to show that the infection had finally reached the streets of Paris. It’ll be interesting to see where the story picks up in the forthcoming sequel — has the rest of continental Europe been contaminated, too? Or maybe it’s gone global?
It looks like the whole ‘28’ motif will continue, too. Years of subtle but frustrating references to the development of a third film (which generally saw Boyle hinting that he had an idea for the movie, but never actually elaborating on what it was) were finally expanded upon by Garland in January 2015, who told IGN that he and Boyle had “just started talking about [a third movie] seriously”.
“We’ve got an idea. Danny [Boyle] and [producer] Andrew [Macdonald] and I have been having quite serious conversations about it so it is a possibility. It’s complicated,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of reasons why it’s complicated, which are boring so I won’t go into, but there’s a possibility.
“It’s more likely to be 28 Months than 28 Years. 28 months gives you one more place to go,” he added.
Any idea of a release date?
Not just yet, no. Boyle admitted in that Independent interview that the project is “stood in abeyance” at the moment due to Garland’s commitments to directing elsewhere, but hinted that we shouldn’t fear that it’ll remain stuck in development hell. “It’s a you-never-know,” he tantalisingly added.
If you’re one for speculating, then maybe a 20th anniversary release date (November 2022) could be one to aim for in terms of the new film…
Will Cillian Murphy reprise his role from 28 Days Later?
It’s unlikely. Murphy’s career has soared after his break-out role as Jim in 28 Days Later, with his major credits including Peaky Blinders, Batman Begins, Inception, Dunkirk and the forthcoming sequel to A Quiet Place. Still, fans will hope that Murphy’s Jim will still be alive and kicking in the zombie-ravaged universe, especially after he made it out of the Worsley House massacre at the end of 28 Days Later.
Murphy told NME about his fond memories of making 28 Days Later in 2017. “It was a brilliant experience making that film; a game-changer for me working with Danny Boyle and Alex Garland.
“The film did so well. And you watch zombie stuff [now], we were the first people to make zombies run, and [that] changed everything. It has a very special place in my heart, that movie.”