Filmmaker Zack Snyder is landing his next gig with Netflix. Hot off of two sensational projects in 2021, the long sought-after “Snyder Cut” and a return to his zombie roots with “Army of the Dead,” Zack Snyder will venture into a galaxy far, far away from Warner Bros. and travel at warp-speed into the Netflix continuum.
Snyder’s next feature film project, titled “Rebel Moon,” continues the blossoming relationship the filmmaker has with Netflix, after a sour and storied history of studio interference from his former long-time home at Warner Bros. Zack Snyder’s work office was on the Warner Bros. lot, which is now empty, as posted by Jason Kilar, who famously takes walks around the work offices which he sometimes documents on his Twitter page.
Snyder is co-writing the script for “Rebel Moon”, re-teaming up with the scribe of the “Army of the Dead” universe, Shay Hatten, and adding Kurt Johnstad into the mix, who co-wrote “300”, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name. Snyder and Johnstad will both receive a story-by credit, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Zack Snyder will produce alongside his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, under The Stone Quarry banner, along with longtime collaborator, Wesley Coller. The project offers a reunion with Eric Newman, who will produce via his Grand Electric banner, and Grand Electric’s Sarah Bowen is attached as Executive Producer. Eric Newman was responsible for hiring Zack Snyder to direct the 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead” from 1978. Notably, Scott Stuber was Vice Chairman of Universal Pictures in 2004 when he oversaw Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead”, and Stuber, now the Head of Global Films at Netflix since 2017, is seen as instrumental in recruiting Snyder to make “Army of the Dead” with Netflix.
“Army of the Dead” was met with wide acclaim by audiences and critics, and will be followed by a German-language prequel feature film called “Army of Thieves”, directed by Matthias Schweighöfer, as well as an animated spin-off called “Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas”. Snyder will direct two episodes of the “Lost Vegas” animation series, as will Jay Oliva.
Zack Snyder is also developing and directing episodes of a Norse mythology-inspired animated series called “Twilight of the Gods” for Netflix. Jay Oliva will also direct episodes for the Norse animation, and will also serve as the Executive Producer and showrunner, hot off of showrunning the recent Filipino paranormal thriller project, “Trese,” a highly acclaimed six-episode animated series on Netflix, based on the comic series of the same name.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The story [for “Rebel Moon”] 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.”
The “Rebel Moon” franchise could become Netflix’s answer to Disney’s Star Wars, which has become a sensational pop culture empire with a ravenous fandom.
“This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” Snyder told 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 Moon” sprouted from a Star Wars pitch that Snyder had developed a decade ago. In January 2013, Vulture gave the first details almost a decade ago of what would become Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon” for Netflix.
At the time, this was denied by Snyder’s representatives, due to the unfavorable optics of talent aligned with Warner Bros. leaving at the cusp of making “Man Of Steel” in 2013. LucasFilm was acquired by Walt Disney Company in 2012 and the project did not move beyond any meaningful conversations. Snyder and Newman at one point attempted to develop the idea into a series instead of as a feature film, but Snyder felt the feature-length film format best suited the story.
Just as George Lucas was initially trying to make “Flash Gordon”, but could not obtain the rights, so he charted out an original space adventure which became the Star Wars franchise; similarly, Zack Snyder was unable to get his decade-old Star Wars pitch off the ground and is now making it into an original property for Netflix. Both Lucas and Snyder are influenced by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the films of Akira Kurosawa, spaghetti Westerns, as well as classic fantasy stories with swords and sorcery. The heavy influence of Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film, “The Hidden Fortress,” can be seen in Star Wars with the technique of telling the story from the perspective of the film’s lowliest characters, C-3PO and R2-D2. A frequent collaborator on Kurosawa’s films, Toshiro Mifune, was initially offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Similarly, Zack Snyder has often talked about being inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic film, “Seven Samurai”, which influenced Snyder in making “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”. Snyder elected to release his “Snyder Cut” in 4:3 aspect ratio format and with a black and white version companion, subtitled “Justice is Gray.” Snyder indicated the plan to have a 15-minute intermission, scored by Junkie XL, when played in theaters, similar to the intermission in the middle of “Seven Samurai”.
While Snyder was concurrently working on making “Army of the Dead,” he was reworking the space opera idea with Johnstad, and brought in the “Army of the Dead” co-scribe, Shay Hatten, to help flesh out the world. Johnstad had recently co-written “Atomic Blonde”, which stars Charlize Theron, and Shay Hatten has been writing for Liongate’s John Wick franchise since age 25.
“Rebel Moon” is expected to be Snyder’s next movie, with production expected to begin in early 2022. “I’ve been working on this on the side for so long, it’s pretty far along.”
Snyder explained to The Hollywood Reporter: “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.”
Debbie Snyder had teased the project back on March 2, 2021, in an interview with the League of Mayhem on YouTube. Debbie Snyder revealed that she and Zack Snyder are working on a new original science-fiction project with a female protagonist. She also mentioned that the project is a bit of an intergalactic western with a “Seven Samurai” feel.
The next update on the project’s development was on the May 26, 2021 episode of Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast. Snyder revealed that he still hopes to create what was originally a Star Wars project inspired by “Seven Samurai” but has since evolved into a standalone, original sci-fi film. Snyder explained that his Star Wars pitch did not have any Star Wars legacy characters and was to exist as a standalone film outside the trilogies. Since the pitch never went anywhere with LucasFilm, he was restructuring it for an original sci-fi epic of his own that does not relate to Star Wars.
Many fans on social media have claimed 2021 to be “the Year of the Quarry”, in reference to the name of the production company, The Stone Quarry, helmed by the Snyders. The long-anticipated release of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on HBO Max was received positively by fans and critics alike, and has been recently topping the sales charts for DVD and Blu-ray sales around the world. According to metrics by Netflix, “Army of the Dead” was viewed by 72 million people in its first four weeks, which lands the title in the streamer’s list of the top 10 most watched movies. Netflix is keen on franchising Snyder’s zombie property with the German-set prequel and the animated series in production.
Zack Snyder commented “Let’s go!” with the announcement that “Rebel Moon” will be coming to Netflix.