Although Netflix’s Army of Thieves is a prequel film for Army of the Dead, its new teaser trailer which was dropped during the film’s Comic-Con@Home panel on Sunday, is incredibly light on zombies. In fact, apart from an indirect reference to the zombie apocalypse (a passing mention combined with a character watching a news broadcast), it features no scenes of its characters battling the undead. (Hey, director and star Matthias Schweighöfer did tell us that "this is not a zombie movie.")
On the panel, producer Deborah Snyder doubles down on this idea of this not being a zombie film, explaining that she and fellow producer Zack Snyder "really liked the idea ... that it was set at a time when the zombies existed in the world but it wasn't a zombie film."
"So, who's done a prequel where it's a different genre film? 'Cuz, to me, this is more of a romantic comedy heist film than anything else [that] happens to live in this world where zombies are in the U.S. and it's causing the banking system some instability, so it's having people move money around," she adds. "So, there's a why to it."
In describing the film, Schweighöfer said on the panel: “It starts to be his [Dieter’s] story, and the story of the safe-cracking world. But it’s a story about love. And finding a fantastic woman to spend his life with. And making friends. And being weird. And being special. And...to be honest, it’s a musical.”
This of course got everyone on the panel to erupt in laughter, with Zack Snyder to clarify, “No,” before adding: “Although it’s a cool genre we haven’t cracked yet, so maybe if we do one more spinoff it should be a musical.”
In the teaser trailer, Schweighöfer reprises his role as German safe-cracker Ludwig Dieter, who is recruited by Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) to do a job at the start of the zombie apocalypse. The character finds himself drawn into another daring heist involving Interpol's most wanted criminals like Gwendoline, Brad Cage (Stuart Martin), Korina (Ruby O. Fee), and Rolf (Guz Khan).
Watch the trailer now. What it lacks in zombies it makes up for in guns. Lots and lots of guns:
The project kicked off production in the Czech Republic last September and wrapped filming three months later.
"We shot in Prague [at the] end of last year and it was such a huge feat because it was during the pandemic. The Czech Republic was having a really hard time [managing] COVID as well, so it really is a miracle that we were able to complete that film," Emmanuel told us during an interview prior to the release of F9. "There were various things happening in Prague at the time and every week, a production just said, ‘Ok, enough’s enough. We’ll come back to it.’ And I was thinking, ‘We’re gonna stop as well.' And we managed to do it. We were so safe and managed to complete it and it was amazing. Matthias is so lovely, he’s such a great energy, he’s so passionate and excited. He’s really great to be around. You feel his excitement and passion all the time, so I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and it’s a really exciting origin for his character and yeah, we had a blast shooting it."
Army of Thieves will open the Netflix safe soon.
The film is one part of Netflix's larger plan to create a lasting franchise. As of this writing, an anime prequel — titled Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas — and a direct sequel to Army of the Dead are both coming down the undead pipeline.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2021.