It's a good time to be writer/director Alex Garland. He has an indie genre hit on his hands with the sci-fi film Ex Machina, and now all kinds of possibilities are open to him. Those possibilities generally don't include sequels, though, as he explained in a new interview with IndieWire. For Garland, sequels are all too often about forcing something because the first film did well, and though Ex Machina has now proved a legitmate hit, he has no plans to follow it up with a second installment.
"Sequels are generally done in a rush. It's done with a sense of urgency,” he said. “The first movie, you spend a long time developing to get it over the line. The second thing, you don't. Your expectations are different and your motivations are different.”
In keeping with his distrust of sequels, Garland did not participate much in crafting the story for 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to his 2002 breakout zombie film (and yes, I know they're not really "zombies," but the function is the same) 28 Days Later. He and director Danny Boyle served only as executive producers on that film, and while it did go on to be a critical and commercial success, a third film has not materialized in the eight years since.
"The rights to ‘28 Days’ were frozen, effectively, because they were shared between Danny [Boyle], [producer] Andrew [McDonald], myself, and Fox,” he said. “After the second one, none of us really wanted to do another. Fox may or may not have, I don't know.”
According to Garland, though, that's changing soon. Two years ago, while Boyle was beginning work on a sequel to his cult classic Trainspotting, an idea for a third 28 movie occured to Garland, and he passed that idea on to McDonald. Garland said he won't really be involved other than generating the story concept, but the producer is definitely moving forward with it.
"I had a funny idea. I had a sort of weird idea that popped into my head," Garland said. "Partly because of a trip I'd taken. I had this thought, and I suggested it to Andrew and Danny, but I also said I don't want to work on it. I don't really want to play a role, and Andrew said, 'Leave it to me.' So he's gone off and is working on it.”
So, thanks to the organic development of a new story idea in Garland's head (rather than forcing a story to churn out a quick sequel), we may soon see 28 Months Later.