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Zack Snyder has gone from zombie apocalypses and ancient Greece to nightmares and Metropolis. Now the filmmaker is heading into faraway galaxies.
Snyder has set his next project, an epic sci-fi fantasy titled Rebel Moon that he is co-writing and will direct and produce for Netflix, the home of his most recent hit, Army of the Dead. And it reteams the filmmaker with many creative colleagues from his past original ventures.
Snyder is co-writing the script with Army co-screenwriter Shay Hatten and Kurt Johnstad, who co-wrote 300, Snyder’s stylish sword-and-sandal flick adapting the Frank Miller comic. Snyder and Johnstad will receive story-by credit.
Snyder will produce with wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder via the duo’s Stone Quarry along with longtime principal Wesley Coller. Eric Newman, who produced Snyder’s 2004 feature debut, Dawn of the Dead, as well as movies ranging from Children of Men and Project Power to Bright and the upcoming Spiderhead, is producing via his banner, Grand Electric. Grand Electric’s Sarah Bowen will exec produce.
Rebel also puts Snyder back in business with Netflix’s Scott Stuber, who oversaw Dawn of the Dead in his then role of vice chairman of Universal and was instrumental in bringing Army of the Dead to the streamer.
The story is set in motion when a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy is threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. Desperate, the colonists dispatch a young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help them make a stand.
“This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s my love of sci-fi and a giant adventure. My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.”
Rebel finds its origins in a Star Wars pitch the filmmaker developed a decade ago. It was a more mature take on the universe created by George Lucas and didn’t move beyond meaningful conversations after The Walt Disney Co. acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. At one point, Snyder and Newman, who was behind Narcos and Narcos Mexico, went down the path of making it into a series.
But it was as a feature that Snyder felt its true potential lay. He began reworking the idea with Johnstad and dove in at the same time as he began making Army of the Dead, bringing in that movie’s co-scribe, Hatten. The latter, at 27, had quietly become an in-demand franchise writer, deepening the world of John Wick for Lionsgate by working on the third and upcoming fourth and fifth installments.
“I’ve spent the last two or three years building out this universe. Every corner has to be painted in. I’ve been doing designs, constantly drawing and really cultivating its fertile ground to make this world fully realized.”
Army was viewed by 72 million people in its first four weeks, according to Netflix, landing 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 movie and an anime series in production, making Army not just an original property, but a potential franchise.
Rebel will be another hoped-for franchise for Netflix, which is building its arsenal in the age of streaming wars.
Rebel Moon will be Snyder’s next movie, and the hope is to begin production in early 2022. “I’ve been working on this on the side for so long, it’s pretty far along,” he says.
All this amid one of the biggest years in Snyder’s filmmaking career. On top of Army and the new project, he also saw his vision of Justice League restored and make a splashy debut on HBO Max. And the movie’s recent international release on DVD and Blu-ray catapulted it to the top of the sales charts in several countries, France and Brazil among them.
Repped by CAA, Lee Stobby Entertainment and Lichter Grossman, Hatten is becoming a Snyder and Netflix mainstay. Rebel marks his fifth collaboration with the streamer, including Army, the prequel, the anime, as well as Day Shift, Netflix’s currently shooting vampire thriller starring Jamie Foxx that.
Johnstad more recently co-wrote the Charlize Theron action movie Atomic Blonde. He is repped by UTA and Sloane Offer.
Snyder is repped by CAA.
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