Army of the dead marks one of the latest Netflix releases and also Zack Snyder’s ninth time in the director’s chair. Snyder, of course, has been getting a lot of attention over the past year thanks to his highly anticipated director’s cut from League of Justice finally seeing the light of day, but after dipping his feet into the superhero genre for the better part of a decade, he’s going back to his zombie movie roots.

Related: Zack Snyder: 5 Ways The Justice League Is His Masterpiece (& 5 Why It’s Watchmen)

Starring Guardians of the Galaxy Dave Bautista, this three-hour action zombie heist is already among Netflix’s most-watched movies, but it took a long way to get there. The film had been in development since 2007 and went through several production changes along the way.

10 It was originally a sequel to Dawn Of The Dead

Dawn of the dead zombies

Long before venturing into the worlds of superheroes and Spartans, Zack Snyder was first introduced to the world through his directorial debut. Dawn of the Dead. While it wasn’t a huge hit for Snyder in the same way that 300 It would be three years later, his first feature film was still a huge success, grossing more than $ 100 million out of a budget of $ 26 million.

According to Geek’s Den, Army of the dead was originally intended to be a darker and more direct sequel to his Dawn picture. At some point after its development, it became nothing more than a spiritual successor.

9 James Gunn almost directed

James Gunn Control Monster Zack Snyder Dave Bautista

Despite initially writing the story, Zack Snyder turned down the opportunity to direct the film during its early stages of development because he wanted to focus on other projects. This forced Warner Bros. to search for a new director.

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One person briefly considered to direct the film was James Gunn, the man who wrote Snyder’s directorial debut. Dawn of the Dead. Ironically, Dave Bautista would leave James Gunn years later Suicide squad Cast to seize the opportunity to star in a Zack Snyder movie.

8 The director of the 2011 reboot of The Thing almost directed the film

The thing 2011

The studio struggled to find a director to replace Zack Snyder to the point where he effectively put Army of the dead in development hell for a couple of years. The film finally managed to rise from those depths without incident when Warner Bros. officially announced that Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. was appointed to direct the film.

Not many people will recognize Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. by name, but horror fans especially may have seen his work in the form of his reboot of The thing which was launched in 2011. As told to Gizmodo, was close to being made until production closed three months before filming, as the film had been delayed due to the 2008 financial crisis. It would have been Heijningen’s directorial debut.

7 The movie got personal

Zack Snyder Army of the Dead Set

During years, Army of the dead in itself it was a dead project, lost in the confines of development hell. Zack Snyder pulled it out in recent years for two reasons. On the one hand, he wanted to work on a project that didn’t have as much studio meddling as his DCEU projects, especially League of Justice had been in the past.

The other reason was that he just wanted to develop a more personal story to deal with the sudden death of his 20-year-old daughter, Autumn. It’s unclear how much it changed between the original mid-2000s draft of its script and the 2021 product, but personal touches are seen throughout the film’s history, which is essentially about a father who He does everything he can to protect his daughter.

6 It wasn’t always strictly a heist movie

army of the dead

One of the few story elements readers know about the original draft, thanks to an interview with Well-informed person of Zack Snyder, is that the original movie would have been less of a heist movie and more of a rescue mission.

Related: 10 Ways Zack Snyder Would Fit Well In DCAU

While Snyder says the core of the story was always about a father and daughter, the original version saw Dave Bautista’s daughter, played by Ella Purnell, in the heart of zombie-infested Las Vegas as her father infiltrated. to rescue her. . The money was also a caveat of the script, but it is less pronounced in the original draft with the greater emphasis on Bautista compiling the team to rescue his daughter.

5 Title changed

Army of the dead

Another small but interesting facet that was also mentioned in Zack Snyder Well-informed person interview is that Army of the dead it wasn’t always Army of the Dead, in regards to the title. While that was always the original title, the possibility of changing it was discussed while in and out of development.

“I think there was a time when he wasn’t the director where we went around other names, something like Vegas Rising,“Snyder explains.” I can not remember it. Don’t hold me to that. “

4 Netflix saved the movie

Zack Snyder on the set of Army of the Dead

As mentioned above, the studio that originally held the rights to Army of the dead By the mid-2000s it’s the same studio that normally always released the Zack Snyder movies: Warner Bros. However, the longer the project stayed in development, it became clear that Warner Bros. wasn’t the right fit.

Snyder says Well-informed person that Warner Bros. “couldn’t make it work themselves,” as if they didn’t know what to do with it or felt the project seemed “maybe too expensive.” When it bought the idea from Netflix in 2018, that studio was much more excited about it, immediately recognizing it as a movie worth investing in for their platform.

3 It is generating an “army” universe

Dave Bautista in Army of the Dead

Although Zack Snyder admits Well-informed person Since the film was always going to end with a suspenseful ending, it doesn’t seem like he was thinking of any potential for a sequel when he first wrote the story in 2007. However, working with Netflix, with greater creative control comes potential still. more creative. by his own universe.

The movie has already spawned an upcoming animated show, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, and the sequels also seem to be in the plans. “We’ve already figured out where the … movies could go if need be,” says Snyder. “But, one day at a time, as they say.”

two Chris D’Elia was digitally replaced by Tig Notaro in post-production

army of the dead

When production officially began rolling out, Zack Snyder began bringing in some notable names to round out his cast. Among them is comedian Chris D’Elia, who was cast in 2019. Obviously, those who actually saw the movie know that he was nowhere to be found despite filming all of his scenes.

Related: Army of the Dead: 10 Ways Zombies Have Changed Since Dawn Of The Dead

This is because, in 2020, stories broke out about some serious allegations about D’Elia allegedly soliciting underage girls. As a result, he was removed from the final cut, and the role of his character was played by comedian Tig Notaro, who filmed all of his scenes by herself in front of a green screen, where she was digitally inserted into scenes where D Elia would have been.

1 The pandemic affected the film in the domestic production section

Like many film productions over the past year, Army of the dead was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only was post-production delayed, but it prevented director Zack Snyder from compiling the entire cast to put the finishing touches on some scenes, that is, during the re-filming stage.

Reportedly the only other actor who filmed scenes with Tig Notaro was Ana de la Reguera. Other than that, all of Notaro’s scenes were between her, the director, and a small group of staff members on a closed set.

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