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WIRE Buzz: Netflix renews Black Summer; Robert Kirkman’s Dracula movie rises; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Jaime King in Black Summer

There’s gotta be a joke about reanimation in here somewhere: Netflix has just announced that zombie thriller Black Summer will be shambling back to the streaming platform for a second un-deadly bite. 

Season 2 of the series — a spinoff of Z Nation (which ran for five seasons at SYFY) — will span eight episodes and returns a cast that includes Jaime King as Rose, Justin Chu Cary as Spears, and Christine Lee as Kyungsun. More new casting announcements are expected to come as production on Season 2 gets underway, according to Netflix.

As Rose, King plays a mom who gets separated from her daughter right as the zombie plague starts shredding the fabric that holds society together. Banding with a small group of survivors, she keeps the search going, while negotiating the zombie-infested landscape and all the more immediate threats that come with playing cat-and-mouse with the undead.

Filming on Season 2 of Black Summer is set to begin in Alberta, Canada next year, with King pulling double duty as one of the series’ producers this time around. Netflix hasn’t announced a premiere date yet — so keep that bug-out bag handy. 

It’s a long way from the Yellow Brick Road to Transylvania. But Dexter Fletcher, director of this year’s Elton John biopic, Rocketman, appears to be doing just that, as he'll be helming Reinfield, the upcoming Dracula-themed movie from The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment and Universal Pictures (part of NBCUniversal and its parent company, Comcast, which also owns SYFY WIRE.). 

Taking Dracula’s story out of the past (perhaps even into modern times) and focusing on one of his enabling side characters, the movie comes from an original pitch by Kirkman himself, according to Variety. Plot details are light, though in Bram Stoker’s original story, Renfield was presumed insane (and behaved like it) while falling into a thrall-like servitude under the master vampire’s spell.

Universal Pictures has reportedly drafted Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley to pen the script. Renfield hasn’t yet been given a release date. 

It looks as if the upcoming RoboCop sequel has emerged from its dystopian director limbo. After District 9's Neill Blomkamp left the project over scheduling conflicts with MGM in August, RoboCop Returns had been back on the hunt for a replacement. Now it appears they've found one.

Via THR, Abe Forsythe has taken over the directing reins for the new movie, which is being billed as a direct sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi classic RoboCop. Forsythe turned heads this year with Little Monsters, a zombie comedy that strands Lupita Nyong’o’s kindergarten-teaching lead character at a farming field trip with a busload of students — right as the place gets swarmed by an undead horde. 

Still in place for RoboCop Returns are original RoboCop screenwriters Ed Neumier and Michael Miner, who are producing the new movie along with Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman producer Richard Suckle. Forsythe reportedly will rewrite the script, an earlier version of which Neumeier, Miner, and Justin Rhodes had finished before Blomkamp bowed out of the project. No release date has been set yet for the freshly-energized sequel.