The tumultuous production of 2013's World War Z became very well-known leading up to the film's release, with tales of extensive re-shoots and on-set creative friction casting a dark cloud over Marc Forster's (Quantum of Solace) loose adaptation of Max Brooks' celebrated novel. Despite those obstacles, WWZ was a massive hit, earning mostly positive critical reviews and bringing in over $540 million worldwide on an admittedly quite large $190 million production budget.
A sequel was all but inevitable on the back of that success, with star/producer Brad Pitt all set to return. However, Forster had no desire to continue his rocky relationship with the franchise, leaving Paramount and Pitt to recruit a new director. The job initially went to Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), only to see the Spanish filmmaker depart the project in order to helm fellow blockbuster sequel, Jurassic World 2. At that point, many wondered whether World War Z 2 would simply head off to development hell, as many proposed sequels and remakes have done after losing their directors. Thankfully, those fears appear to have been unfounded.
According to Variety, Pitt - along with Paramount and Skydance - is currently in active talks with Oscar-nominee David Fincher (Gone Girl) to come in and take over as director of WWZ2. Pitt has reportedly met with several directors about taking the job, but eventually settled on Fincher as his preferred choice and has been courting him for the gig ever since. Fincher's interest was initially lukewarm, although it seems that Pitt was successfully able to sell him on the merits of the idea. For their part, Paramount and Skydance have offered no official comment on the matter, which is of course common practice before a deal is finalized.
If Fincher indeed ends up directing World War Z, it will mark only the second sequel on his long resume, which of course includes classics like The Game, Fight Club, and Seven. Fincher's aversion to directing sequels likely stems back to his infamously terrible experience directing 1992's Alien 3, his feature film debut. Of course, given his current Hollywood clout and friendship with Pitt, Fincher is unlikely to have anyone second guessing his decisions on the set of WWZ2.
Assuming Fincher signs on, WWZ2 would also mark his fourth collaboration with Pitt, having worked with the A-list actor on the aforementioned Fight Club and Seven, along with award magnet drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While a sequel to World War Z was already fairly highly anticipated by the masses, the addition of a powerhouse director like Fincher will only increase its appeal. Here's hoping things go smoothly production-wise from here on out.
World War Z 2 was previously assigned a June 9, 2017 release date, but Paramount is expected to push that back.