By Will Ashton
World War Z‘s $66 million opening was a surprise for most, but it should come to no surprise that the film’s new-found success has lead the studio into developing a sequel. The film is star and producer Brad Pitt’s biggest opening yet.
As for the changes made to the film, as the Huffington Post reports, while it has been known that screenwriters Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) were responsible for the film’s third act, they also were the ones that added the more human moments towards the beginning of the film. Which, as I posted in my review, were among the better moments of the film (the human moments, that is).
Spoilers for World War Z below.
More specifically, the screenwriters were the ones that added the scenes where Gerry Lane and his wife, Karen, are awaken by the girls, when they are all eating breakfast together and the sequence when they pull over the RV to treat the daughter’s asthma attack and Lane phoning Karen during the plane ride from South Korea to Jerusalem.
As for the third act, the turning point between the work of the original film and the new screenwriters was when Gerry and the Israeli solider Segen are on the plane fleeing Israel. From there on, it is the work of the re-writes. The original ending, it appears, was going to be darker than the one that is playing in theaters now.
According to movies.com, the plane leaving Israel was going to head to Moscow, where, in this version, it lands safely, then….
“The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry’s cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia’s zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter. He looks almost dead inside, but the reality is that over this time he’s become an experienced and ruthless zombie killer, and he’s the leader of his own equally capable unit.”
Among the other changes made to the script included Gerry finding out that cold is what stops the zombies, telling the Russian general that they need to stop their fires and huddle up, to lead Russia to win, once again, by hostile weather. After the zombies freeze, the Russians and Gerry/Segen win and it seems like it’s finally time to go back home for Gerry, but that appears not to be the case.
In the original ending, Karen is shacked up with Matthew Fox’s character, which explains why that random, pointless character was played by Matthew Fox, in the Everglades, and, apparently, she has to sell her body to live. She doesn’t tell Gerry this when he calls her to tell her about how cold will stop the zombies, but Fox’s character calls him back to tell him that he should start a new life now that Karen is now stuck in her new lifestyle. The movie would have ended with Gerry, Segen and Gerry’s friend from the Russian military, Simon, crossing the globe and going back to America to get Gerry’s family back. They arrive in the U.S., leading the film up to another sequel.
With the exception of the whole prostitution side story, I have to admit that I would have been more interested in seeing this ending than the dull, predictable one we were given. But, hey, I like my stuff darker than most.
A full synopsis can be found on movies.com.