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28 Days Later: Sequel May Be In The Works From Original Director Danny Boyle

A return to one of the more prominent horror franchises of the last 20 years might be in the cards.

28 Days Later director Danny Boyle recently let on in an interview that he and screenwriter Alex Garland are keen to return for a third installment after sitting out the flick's sequel. (via The Independent)

The director made his remarks while making the promotional rounds for his latest film Yesterday, and it's safe to say they're a bit surprising. The 2003 original film was something of a commercial breakthrough for Boyle, who had made a name for himself with the 1996 indie provocation Trainspotting and had taken a stab at mid-budget studio filmmaking with 2000's Leonardo DiCaprio starrer The Beach. That film underperformed at the box office and went over like a lead balloon with critics, but it introduced Boyle to Garland, who penned the novel on which it was based.

28 Days Later was Garland's feature screenwriting debut, and it added a new wrinkle to the burgeoning zombie genre: rather than roving hordes of the undead, the flesh-eating menaces were ordinary people infected with a virus known as Rage. The low-budget film was a hit with critics and audiences alike thanks to whip-smart direction and plotting (not to mention an unbelievably tense opening sequence which would be unapologetically aped years later in the pilot episode of AMC's series The Walking Dead). 

For the flick's 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later, Boyle served only as an executive producer, handing the directorial reins to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. That film was received warmly, and is widely considered to be as good as or better than the original — but it was released a dozen years ago, and there's been very little noise about a third installment until now.

"Alex Garland and I have a wonderful idea for the third part," the filmmaker told The Independent. "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."

Of course, there's a bit of an issue: Garland has become a highly in-demand filmmaker in his own right. He wrote and directed the acclaimed 2014 science fiction think-piece Ex Machina, and followed that up with 2018's critically lauded (if not exactly profitableAnnihilation; he also created and produced the forthcoming television series Devs for FX, and wrote all eight of its first season's episodes. While it's unknown whether he has anything else in the pipeline at this time, getting the band back together for a return to the world of 28 Days Later might be a little tricky, a fact which Boyle alluded to.

"[Garland is] concentrating on directing his own work at the moment, so it's stood in abeyance really," he said. "But, it's a you-never-know."

If Boyle does end up returning to the world of 28 Days Later, it's nice to know that it'll be purely for creative reasons, because he's shown himself to be completely uninterested in following studio mandates. After directing 2008's Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire (which also netted him a statue for Best Director), he could have taken his pick of any number of high-profile projects — but he chose to stay relatively close to the ground, helming such films as the well-received drama 127 Hours and the biopic Steve Jobs before deigning to dip his toes into the tentpole pool.

That experience ended... quickly. Boyle was hired to write and direct the as-yet untitled 25th film in the James Bond franchise in early 2018, but stepped down after working on the film for only a few months due to those pesky "creative differences." He's recently explained that the debacle taught him that he's "not cut out" for big-budget franchises — and if that discovery ends up pushing him back in the direction of lower-budget genre fare like 28 Days Later, well, we can certainly think of worse outcomes.

It may simply be at the "you never know" stage at this point, but just knowing that Boyle and Garland — an exceptionally talented storyteller who obviously knows his way around genre work — have a "properly good" idea for a third movie has us a little giddy. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye out for any confirmation on the project, and we'll report it the moment it breaks.