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How A Fake Shaun Of The Dead Sequel Made Its Way Into Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

On the surface, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Shaun of the Dead have nothing in common. One's a modern, animated twist on the superhero tale; the other is an almost two-decades old cult-classic zombie comedy. But somehow, in Miles Morales' alternate Spider-Man universe, the two co-exist — even if just for a split second.

Yes, for any Shaun of the Dead fans holding out hope that there may someday be a sequel, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter egg in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will keep that dream alive. It comes in the form of a From Dusk Till Shaun billboard hanging in the background of New York's Times Square, featuring Shaun (Simon Pegg) holding a cricket bat with his zombified bestie Ed (Nick Frost) standing next to him.

But just what does it mean, and how did it get there?

The answer lies in a tweet from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Rodney Rothman, who revealed during a live-tweeting watch party held on Wednesday, May 6 that he specifically set out to find films that don't exist in the real world but theoretically could to include in the movie. His quest led him to Edgar Wright, director and co-writer of the practically flawless Shaun of the Dead.

The Shaun of the Dead sequel that could have been — and may still be

Rothman sent Wright an email request for ideas, in a pitch he fully revealed on Twitter: "We're trying to ... fill our alternate New York City with same-but-different things ... I want to do subway and bus ads for movies that don't exist in our world but theoretically could. And ideally I want to get the movie titles from the actual filmmakers — either something wholly unique off the top of your head, or a title you once considered but never used, or a project you tried to get off the ground but couldn't. Basically a movie made [and] written by an alternate-universe version of you."

Wright responded on Twitter, saying, "Fortunately, we had been kidding about a sequel called 'From Dusk Till Shaun' since about halfway through shooting [the first] movie. It was an easy suggestion!"

So, yes, that billboard hanging in Times Square is based in reality. And it's a title that has been floated before by Shaun of the Dead star and co-writer Pegg. In a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pegg mentioned a From Dusk Till Shaun sequel, saying, "I jokingly wrote a treatment ... It was all about Shaun and Ed having to go up to Edinburgh, or something. I don't know. It was ridiculous. And it was a joke. It wasn't like a serious pitch. Edgar thought it would be funny to do the film again, but with vampires ... but it was all just pub talk."

During the same interview, Wright also jumped in with another idea. "There was a brief idea we had, that we entertained for all of like 72 hours, where I thought you could do an alternate-reality sequel," he told EW. "It basically starts with the same movie but then it becomes not about zombies. But these films, they take three years. So, it's like, if you're doing another movie, let's do something completely different."

Thus far, there's been no official word on a sequel to Shaun of the Dead, but maybe — just maybe — it's still in our future. If not, we always have the Spider-Verse to look back on and wonder, "What if?"