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SYFY WIRE Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder teases zombie origin, 'psychedelic' trip to Area 51 with future 'Army of the Dead' spinoffs

By Josh Weiss

A Vegas casino heist in the middle of a zombie horde is just the tip of the flesh-munching iceberg for Netflix's blossoming Army of the Dead franchise, which could soon feature aliens as well as zombies. The genre-melding film from writer-director Zack Snyder film won't be a one-off — it'll be followed by at least two prequel-based projects. The first is a movie entitled Army of Thieves, which explores the backstory of German safe expert, Dieter (played by Matthias Schweighöfer, who also directed the picture).

"We just wrapped on Army of Thieves," Snyder said during a special Q&A earlier in the week. "We see [Dieter's] backstory and how he fell in love with and got obsessed with cracking safes. And why the safe in the movie is significant to him, which it is." The second prequel venture is Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, an anime-inspired series, "which tells the story of where the zombies came from and what their deal is," Snyder continued. "It goes to Area 51 and does a whole a bunch of psychedelic craziness, which is cool. Let's just say it scales in a way that's unexpected as far where the zombies come from."

Is the zombie virus alien in origin? Did the pathogen escape from a bio-weapons research lab at the famous Air Force base in the Nevada desert? Are the zombies members of an alien race that feeds on human brains? Snyder always likes to go for the grand effect, so we wouldn't be surprised if all of those guesses turn out to be correct. As for what the future holds, there's nothing confirmed at the moment, but director isn't opposed to the concept of more follow-ups. "If it were possible or if anyone was interested in it, to continue the adventures of this world, it'd be fun. Who knows?" he added. "The world's your zombie oyster."

Written by Snyder, Joby Harold, and Shay Hatten, Army of the Dead shambles into select theaters Friday, March 14 before hitting Netflix the following week on May 21. Just don't expect a four-hour director's cut down the road, à la Justice League. According to the filmmaker himself, the film that rises from the grave next month is purely his vision, through and through.

"This was probably the most gratifying experience I've had making a movie," he said. "Everything about it was fun ... Everyone's been incredibly supportive and just a joy to work with. This is the movie, there's no other cuts of the movie. I didn't have to fight them — it was the opposite. This is the director's cut. You don't have to see a bastardized version, you just get to see the awesome version first."

Netflix has yet to announce premiere dates for Army of Thieves or Lost Vegas. Army of the Dead hits streaming on May 14.