Max Landis Reveals Original Plot for ‘Chronicle 2′ That Fox Turned Down

Published 2 years ago by

chronicle 2 screenwriter max landis Max Landis Reveals Original Plot for Chronicle 2 That Fox Turned Down

Those who enjoyed Max Landis and Josh Trank’s low-budget found footage superhero drama Chronicle will probably already know by now that, though Twentieth Century Fox is planning to make Chronicle 2, the director and writer behind the original won’t be involved at all. Since Chronicle grossed ten times its original budget at the box office, there seems little doubt that a sequel is still on the cards, but the studio has vetoed Landis’ “darker” script for it.

This leaves Fox wanting for a new screenwriter and director to bring their “different direction” for the series to life, but luckily it also leaves Landis free from all professional obligation to keep quiet about what he wanted to do in the sequel. Since his version of Chronicle 2 has apparently hit a permanent roadblock, Landis has opened up a little about what we’re missing out on.

Speaking to his fans on Twitter, Landis revealed that he didn’t really want to make Chronicle 2 at all, but instead wanted to make a sequel called Martyr that focused on a new and entirely different character. The screenwriter admitted that, “in retrospect, I’m not even sure if fans of the first film would’ve been ready or eager for my second installment as originally written,” but nonetheless outlined the themes that he’d intended to explore in the next chapter of the Chronicle story:

“Gone was the aspirational ‘what would you do,’ gone were the pranks and the bromance, gone were lovely tragic Andrew and hopeful, bright Steve. In their place was a dark, frustratingly unblinking stare into a complicated world that posed the question is it worth it to be a hero, told from the point of view of a heartbroken and insane woman who would martyr herself to the cause of being the world’s first villain.

“It was, in my estimation, a sequel that elaborated on the ideas and situations from the first to create a different genre of movie. In the best of worlds, in my optimistic but wildly prejudiced eyes, this could make it an Aliens, a Terminator 2… in the worst a Grease 2. So, at the end of the day, maybe it’s better that Martyr never saw the light of day. Sad I didn’t get to do some of my other versions. The multi-movie low [budget] Chronicle-based found footage superhero universe culminating in an Avengers type team up was a real good one.”

A fresh start with the focus on a new character might have been just what Chronicle needed in a sequel, since the original film’s story was wrapped up quite neatly and most of the principal cast (comic book style resurrections notwithstanding) didn’t make it all the way to the end credits. Somewhat predictably, Fox was not happy at the idea of leaving the successful first film behind and starting out on fresh, potentially risky, ground. Landis’ father, famed writer and director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), said in an interview last year that his son had offered Fox an “evolution” of the story, and the studio’s response had been, “No, we want Chronicle again!

chronicle 2 max landis.jgp  Max Landis Reveals Original Plot for Chronicle 2 That Fox Turned Down

Since the lucky (or unlucky?) teens of Chronicle received their powers through something of a fluke, discovering a mysterious crystal that had apparently fallen to earth, the continuation of the series would likely necessitate an explanation of how other people acquired similar powers. Interestingly, Landis suggested that he’d had gadget-based superpowers along the lines of Iron Man or Pacific Rim in mind:

“Martyr also had two pretty cool robot suits in it. Sorta hyper realistic Iron Man stuff. Magnetic flight, sonic weaponry. Cool, cool stuff.”

The tweets offer a rather fascinating glimpse into what Landis had originally planned for his follow-up(s) to Chronicle: a model similar to the Marvel cinematic universe, but done on a much smaller budget with a realist aesthetic and sticking with found footage as the means of telling stories. Perhaps somewhere along the line Matt could have teamed up with the protagonist of Martyr, or gone up against her with an assembled team of amateur superheroes. It’s a concept that comes with both significant challenges and a lot of potential, but it looks like it may remain nothing more than a pipe dream.

It’s a shame, since if there’s one place where it’s less risky to take risks, it’s in low-budget ventures. After all, this summer’s biggest flop, The Lone Ranger, was considered to be a fairly safe bet before it lost Disney $190 million, but such a loss wouldn’t have been possible on a film with a $12 million production budget. Fox might have benefited from simply handing Trank and Landis their modest financing and trusting the filmmaker’s vision, however dark.

Do you like the sound of Martyr and Landis’ low-budget superhero universe, or are you interested to see Chronicle 2 fall into new hands?


Chronicle 2 doesn’t yet have a release date. Nor does it have a director, a script, any cast members or even a screenwriter (that we know of), but we’ll keep you updated on any further developments.

Source: Max Landis (via THR)

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  1. I would love to read a graphic novel( or even a traditional novel) of this story told through the eyes of the Martyr. This is right up my alley at the basic level. The more sci-fi elements of the suit, I dunno. but the idea of the Martyr herself? definitely.

  2. I like the original director and editor!! Fox! Don’t be stupid!! Pleas keep the dark style

    • Agree with Elva Love the original director and editor!! Fox is known to be stupid. So I hope that they will NOT change anything and stick the original dark style like the original and editor

  3. I really enjoyed Chronicle because of how different it was from every other film. Sure, it may follow a basic narrative structure that can be found in other films but, as the saying goes, there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them. I enjoyed Chronicle because of the way it told the story.
    I think that too many films nowadays are being drawn out with sequels and sequels of sequels. As such, it would be quite refreshing to have a ‘sister film’ that focused on a different character.
    Personally I enjoy the ‘dark’ films and (although I think some strong links to the original film are needed) I believe that fox has thrown away some good stuff here.
    What really gets me is, what does fox have to lose?!

  4. I would love to see a Chronicle 2 with Matt taking up the search for the origin of his power and documenting it with a video camera as a homage to Andrew.

    • I would definitely rather see that than Martyr. i think the whole ‘I’ll become the villain to unite the world’ trope is naive. The reasons for the dissension between countries and cultures wouldn’t be cured by a common enemy. The way by which you overcome that obstacle would just become another problem to argue about.

    • a sure chronicle fan should know that, Matt just said it at the end, so that’s what we expect. i don’t care how they will do it but it would be better than martyr. really.

  5. Fox, run by morons for morons.

    As usual, buy in quality and then squash any further development.

    Let’s just remake films that don’t need remaking and then bomb that way instead.

  6. perm do both

  7. This potential but now dead sequel would have been promising but yes, risky. If you take one look at Breaking Bad, you’d know how successful an idea of a skillful but conflicted villain could be. However, with the elements of sonic weaponry, a female antihero (Skyler anyone?), and ambiguous power origins, I can’t say with confidence that the new movie would be a crowd pleaser.

    • I am so grossed out right now by your referring to Skyler as an “antihero.”

  8. I agree with the general sentiment as everyone else who’s posted here. I too was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first Chronicle and have seen it a number of times. Consequently I was very much in anticipation for the sequel… and then I read this article. Damn fox for pushing Landis out, did they not notice that the original film was very much dark? I can’t say I care for the idea of any iron man type inclusions in Landis’ idea. Too bad what we’ll probably end up getting is the same kind of crappy sequels to original movie ideas that Hollywood has been churning out since the millennial kids have had money to spend at the movies.

  9. The first Chronicle was amazing why would you make martyr . When you have matt. You should have Matt in the future married with kids and when they turned 17 they would develop matts powers not knowing where they got them from. The two boys wouldnt tell there parents because they were afraid. After there mom being killed by a cop accedently they went on a rampage tearing there city apart. Matt telling them were they got there powers from then has to stop them from killing the innocent and in the end matt has killed one of his and the other gets away, shocked at what he just saw matt finds his son and its a epic between them but all of asudden matt takes his sun powers not knowing they were gone and kills him the end.

    • No

  10. I think (only my opinion) that in Chronicle 2, they should bring Andrew back and let him have his revenge. I love Andrew and it sucked the way he met his end. I think the Apex Predator should have a chance to let all those locked up feelings out, and maybe potentially find a girl that can save him from himself. Just my idea but I feel Andrew got the short end of the stick. If your going to make a movie sequel why go off the original movie and make a completely different story line with new characters. Then it not a sequel. Its a new movie with the same type of heart and “powers”.

  11. uuuuuuuuuuuuggghhhhhhh im so pissed. they coulda done so much with this s*** man. obviously im not a movie maker, but if I had the power, id make a sequel told in the same kind of video diary way, but with other characters going through similar things with a similar crystal at the same time as the original took place, but in a different state or country. then, they would see the news about what happened with matt and andrew and set out to find matt and set up for a third movie. That’d be some awesome avengers type shiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

  12. why don’t they do both

  13. This is so sad. What a great movie to take away the people who brilliantly came up with it. I would of loved a Darker vision. Fox really messed this one up.

  14. Hi. Well it’s nice to see that there might be a Chronicle 2, but I don’t like the idea of having like a new main character… It would be nice to see something like umm, the boy that was killed because his powers were too big he could resurrect or something because I don’t know… his power was too big and even though his body has vanished he is still there and he gets his body back and yeah something like that… And I’d like to see the 2nd guy too fighting with the bad one and stuff…

  15. I loved the story in Chronicle and the acting was decent. However, the “home footage” patina was extremely annoying and contrived. Shaky-cam in Blair Witch was novel, now it is just cheap and nauseating. I’m not saying that it was lacking fancy special effects, but use a tripod and clean it up. I saw Chronicle once and am loathe to see it again because of the camerawork.

    Regarding Martyr- If you think about it, Chronicle 1 was really based around the super villain as well… and the idea of Martyr sound like Samuel L. Jackson’s antagonist in Unbreakable. So where’s the originality? I just hope it stays dark- give it to Kevin Smith or Tim Burton or even Max Landis again, as long as he doesn’t use the “found footage” idea again.

  16. How about this, Matt’s girlfriend from the first movie is the super villain. She gets her powers by having sex with Matt (his DNA infiltrates hers and mutates) and she eventually becomes even stronger than Andrew but the power drives her insane. She goes on a psychotic rampage and destroys half of a city, similar to the Miracle Man plot with the severed hands and feet and 40,000 dead, and Matt has to either “save” her from herself or kill her so that she doesn’t kill him and destroy the world. I would buy a ticket for that.

  17. I am, like others, eminently disappointed by Landis no longer being involved. I find the idea for Martyr interesting in light of Landis’ other comments. He said he was going to give Matt hell in the sequel, so I wonder at his involvement.

    I would have been interested in the Iron Man type suits. While not in itself a super cool idea, given how amazing the final scenes in Chronicle were I can only imagine what the director of the first movie could have done with a fight scene between Matt and this new character.

  18. NO NO NO don’t change the story plot i would love to see Andrew and Steve come back to life and then Martyr as the villain. Then three of them team up against the new villain

  19. I would love to see Matt have found the source of his powers and be able to control them and everything, it would be awesome if he brings Andrew and Steven back coz his like some badass superhero and he’s been training in Tibet for like 5 years but know he needs there help to fight more people like him who were sent down the same path as Andrew, I know it’s abit cliche but it would be absolutely awesome

  20. Man 20th Cent. Fox execs sure are dumb. I’ve been pining for a Chronicle 2 since I saw the first one and Martyr sounds like it would have been freaking amazing. Let the man do his thing and create an awesome cinematic universe that also rakes in some cash. I’d pay money to see it and thats all that matters to those higher ups right??

  21. i just seen it on tv was awesome apart from my power going off after one lose a finger but came on with him at end on the snow . the story line for the 2nd has already been set in first movie at start the crystal area was blocked off so government finds it and creates its own group of super squad that goes evil like what happened to these 3 but with even less self control and there combat training just makes it worse , and its up to Matt to come out from he hiding place and stop them. you throw in your normal story fillers and add some plot twist like Matt falling little short on power to stopping them getting beaten up by them that causes Steven just self regeneration in he coffin to wake up from the healing coma which Matt senses by bloody nose or just how Steven found apex in sky before the lightning and he gets caught up to speed what happen while he was underground and boom big finish fight scene with a happy ending or what ever …… sorry i was not one for putting full stops and rest grammar stuff hope u understand it all lol please make more i love it .

  22. No I dont like that sound of that movie at all, glad fox gave him the boot.

  23. Just re-watched this great film I like the idea of focusing on a brand new character there isn’t much more to Matt’s journey maybe some found footage on the origins of the crystal him tracking it down and stuff but overall new characters and a dark tone would be good. This movie already had a pretty dark tone to begin with and the a fact that fox’s isn’t trusting the creators is a little foolish if you as me why risk ruining the chronicle universe with that bullish they are going to put out. Since your under no obligation why don’t you do the movie yourself u can always start a kick starter have a lower budget film kinda like the Raven short film. it would be more work but well worth it.


  25. They really should make a second one. Starting the film with the black coming out of the grave. Andrew had powers caught on tape so obviously he’s in a government facility being tested and Matt is looking for the source of power, finds it and was able to get rid of the power. Andrew wakes he’s still just as strong but escapes, kills Matt from revenge, and the black guy which after waking from the grave got stronger and finds out about Matt’s death and the crystal which takes the power away if messed with a second time .and seeks revenge on Andrew. Having another epic fight, forces him to the cyrstal and actually killing him for certain. And finally a black wins at the end of a movie. Now that is hell of sequel. Sorry couldn’t remember his name.

  26. it will be cool for matt while searching for answers to find others who had a similar experience with the crystal that left them with a new found ability. and they can sense one another the same way the three could, through a unexplained connection and maybe the government can be the ones to hunt them down trying to capture them for experiments, they can then bond together realizing that they only got each other. i have more ideas will really like to see more of this movie.

  27. I also think that the second chronicle should have Matt trying to find the origin of why they got those powers. Also why they became more powerful as they went on with their powers. But I’ll leave to the people who are making the movie

  28. I actually don’t like Landis’ sequel idea all that much. While a darker direction, more character development and expanding the cast wouldn’t hurt, I’d like a deeper understanding of the world he created in Chronicle before going all Deus Ex Machina on just giving new characters random new s***. What was the crystal? Sure, it’s sci-fi, Deus all up Ex that s***-Machina, but there’s no explanation more lame than “Just because, I don’t have to explain s***, it’s magic/a god/some aliens just did it…”

  29. I actually don’t like Landis’ sequel idea all that much. While a darker direction, more character development and expanding the cast wouldn’t hurt, I’d like a deeper understanding of the world he created in Chronicle before going all Deus Ex Machina on just giving new characters random new stuff. What was the crystal? Sure, it’s sci-fi, Deus all up Ex that s***-Machina already, but there’s no explanation more lame than “Just because, I don’t have to explain crap, it’s magic/a god/some aliens just did it…”