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Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead plot, cast, release date

Zack Snyder is about to make his big comeback, and there will be zombies.

The director who launched his career with his 2004 remake of George A. Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead is returning with Army of the Dead, a zombie/heist mashup which is set to debut on Netflix later this year. The flick will sport a massive and talented cast, a respectable budget, and... did we mention zombies? Just a ton of zombies.

The movie doesn't appear to be a sequel to Dawn, but those of you who are familiar with that flick will likely be welcoming Snyder's return to the zombie genre. Not so much a straight remake as a loving homage, Dawn was a lean, mean piece of genre filmmaking with a vicious streak a mile wide, not to mention one of the best horror movie opening scenes of all time. Based on what we know about it so far, Army is going to feel quite a bit different — but it'll likely be no less lean, and it surely won't be any less mean.

The film has wrapped principal photography, and Snyder has spoken quite a bit about it, so we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The director famously departed 2017's Justice League — and with it, the DC Extended Universe that he had helped to build — midway through its production due to a family tragedy, and while the DC movies have recovered admirably in his absence, it'll be good to see Snyder get back to doing what he does best: genre filmmaking with a fun, violent kick.

Here's everything we know about Army of the Dead.

What is the plot of Army of the Dead?

Army of the Dead's script was penned by Snyder, Joby Harold (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), and Shay Hatten (John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum), and it is not — we repeat, not — a reworking of the controversial Dawn of the Dead sequel script that was completed in 2008 (via The Playlist). That script featured some unnecessarily harsh and "edgy" elements which we won't get into here, while Army seems to simply be shooting for a gory good time.

According to ScreenRant, the flick's plot centers on the city of Las Vegas, which since the advent of the zombie apocalypse six years prior has become a quarantine zone, surrounded on all sides by shipping containers. No living thing dares to enter... except one guy (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy) and his ragtag band of survivors. Bautista's character owned a casino in his previous, zombie-free life, and he has his sights set on the contents of the safe at his former establishment. (Apparently, currency is still good in the post-zombie invasion world.)

This certainly sounds like a story that is well within Snyder's wheelhouse, and if there's anyone we can totally picture charging into a city overrun with zombies, it's Bautista. Of course, it'll help to have some pretty hardcore guys and gals by his side, and Snyder has helpfully assembled a cast full of those.

Who is in the Army of the Dead cast?

Army of the Dead's cast might not be stocked with household names, but it's a bunch that collectively have about a metric ton of genre bonafides. Perhaps the most familiar face for Netflix viewers: Theo Rossi, who was a fan favorite on the late, lamented Marvel's Luke Cage as Hernan "Shades" Alvarez.

Also among the more recognizable names in the cast: Omari Hardwick, star of the Starz crime drama series Power; Garrett Dillahunt, a regular on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead; Chris D'Elia, who starred on the NBC sitcom Undateable. Following them into the zombie-infested fray will be Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld), Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children), Ana de la Reguera (Hardwick's Power co-star), Nora Arnezeder (Mozart in the Jungle), Raul Castillo (Knives Out), Chelsea Edmundson (Midnight, Texas), Robbie DeRaffele (Uncut Gems), and Samantha Win (Wonder Woman).

It's an eminently qualified group to execute, er, a zombie heist; heck, Dillahunt even has relevant experience with the roving undead. All we need to know at this point is, when can we get Army of the Dead in front of our eyeballs?

What is Army of the Dead's release date?

Well, we don't have an exact release date yet — but Snyder has confirmed that Netflix's plan is to release the flick this winter, which could mean "in time for Halloween." Principal photography wrapped in October of 2019, so that's not an unreasonable time frame.

We can't wait, because not only are talking about mashup of two of our favorite genres with a hell of a kickass cast, but Snyder's excitement for the project is palpable. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, the director said, "There are no handcuffs on me at all with this one," going on to explain that after a years-long hiatus from filmmaking, Army of the Dead was just the kind of project he needed to get him pumped to be back in the saddle.

"I thought this was a good palate cleanser to really dig in with both hands and make something fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way," he explained. "This is the opportunity to find a purely joyful way to express myself though a genre. It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware — but not in a wink-to-the-camera way — balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen. No one's ever let me completely loose [like this]."

And that, dear reader, is really all we needed to know. You may want to bookmark this page, because we'll be updating it with all of the new fir to report on Army of the Dead as soon as it becomes available.