Movies

28 Years Later: What We Know So Far About The Long-Awaited Horror Sequel

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It’s finally happening – the official sequel to 28 Days Later is happening! 

In 2002, a film came out that truly shook the world, 28 Days Later. Classified as a zombie horror film and a post-apocalyptic drama, it follows a bicycle courier who suffers a coma. Then, he wakes up to one of his life’s most surprising and horrifying events – the world has turned chaotic as a virus was unleashed, turning humans into aggression-based monsters – basically, freaking strong zombies.

The film, directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland, is considered one of the best of the early 2000s and critically acclaimed. Since then, it’s only continued to grow in popularity as one of the best horror films out there – and now, 28 Years Later is finally happening. 

But, who is coming back for this movie? And when might it come out? Here is what we know so far. 

What Is The 28 Years Later Release Date?

Cillian Murphy looks up to the sky smiling in 28 Days Later.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

As of January 2024, there is no set release date for 28 Years Later, which isn’t that surprising. The Hollywood Reporter officially announced the film was coming in January 2024, so it would be pretty surprising if we already had a set release date. 

Don’t expect this to be on any 2024 movie schedule. However, we can say 28 Years Later has been discussed for a long time. The director and writer, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland, have spoken about a sequel for many years, and back in July 2023, they talked to Inverse about an idea that manifested a few years ago and that they were taking it “quite seriously:”

So we’re talking about it quite seriously, quite diligently. If he doesn’t want to direct it himself I’ll be well up for it, if we can execute a similarly good idea.

The person Boyle was referring to was his writing partner, Alex Garland, and now, since the film is confirmed, Boyle will be returning to direct, and Garland is writing it, so it turned out fine in the end. 

Cillian Murphy Is Down To Do A Sequel – On One Condition

Cillian Murphy stands in front of a desolate London in 28 Days Later.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Cillian Murphy gained a lot of fame for his starring role in 28 Days Later, but he’s only continued to grow in popularity over the last few decades. From his starring role in the hit show Peaky Blinders (which is one of the best shows to binge on Netflix), to his critically acclaimed performance as lead of the Oppenheimer cast, I think recently is the most we’ve ever seen Murphy – and his star is only going to continue to rise. 

Murphy has been honest that he would return for a sequel to 28 Days Later. He spoke to Collider about the idea in July 2023 and said that if Garland had a good story, he was always down to return for a new sequel, as he knew it was getting closer to the mark of “28 years later” from the original:

I was talking to Danny Boyle recently, and I said, ‘Danny, we shot the movie at the end of 2000.’ So I think we’re definitely approaching the 28 Years Later. But like I’ve always said, I’m up for it. I’d love to do it. If Alex thinks there’s a script in it and Danny wants to do it, I’d love to do it.

There hasn’t been any casting confirmed yet, but with this in mind, we could see Murphy in this zombie universe again.

28 Years Later Would Be A Sequel To 28 Days Later, Not 28 Weeks Later

Imogen Poots in 28 Weeks Later

(Image credit: Disney / Fox)

While we might be all excited for 28 Years Later, let’s not forget that there already was a sequel at one point – 28 Weeks Later. But this new movie isn’t a sequel to that 2007 film; rather, it’ll be a new story, according to The Hollywood Reporter article from earlier. 

On 28 Weeks Later, Boyle and Garland only acted as executive producers, but this time, they will return to the main job of writing and directing. It was relatively well-received and made a good profit at the box office, but compared to the first film, it could have been more successful. 

However, with these two returning for this sequel, I’m excited to see what it will be about. The current story details are kept under lock and key, but when we hear something, it will land in this article. 

28 Years Later Is Meant To Start A New Trilogy Of Films

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Something else we learned from The Hollywood Reporter article is that 28 Years Later isn’t going to be a standalone sequel – it is meant to begin another trilogy of films within the same universe as 28 Days Later. 

There have been plenty of trilogies in Hollywood that have done immensely well, such as The Hangover films or The Lord of the Rings movies, but I wonder how many more clever titles there could be after 28 Years Later. Are we going to dive into centuries now? 28 Centuries Later? How long can zombies live?

Jokes aside, the hope is to launch a new trilogy of films, further expanding the world and possibly making it one of the best zombie franchises ever. 

Danny Boyle Is Returning To Direct

Naomie Harris works a sewing machine in 28 Days Later's alternate ending.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

As mentioned before, Danny Boyle will return to direct 28 Years Later. He directed the first film, and has since only continued to spread his wings in Hollywood and direct several significant movies. 

Some of his most-known films since then include Steve Jobs, 127 Hours, Yesterday, and even the Best Picture-winning Slumdog Millionaire. He’s created some of the last decade’s best films, now, we’ll see him back in the world of zombies. 

Alex Garland Is Returning To Write All Three Films

Naomie Harris crying in a hospital room in 28 Days Later.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

The last thing we know is that Alex Garland isn’t just signed on to work on 28 Years Later – he’s set to write that film, as well as the rest of the trilogy that they are hopeful will follow the release of this sequel, which is freaking awesome if I don’t say so myself. 

Garland has also written some impressive movies since 28 Days Later, including Sunshine, Ex Machina, and more. He also wrote the series Devs (one of Nick Offerman’s best roles) and the horror movie Men (one of A24’s best horror movies)

However, Garland looks to stick around the world of 28 Years Later for some time – and I am so here for it. 

What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to 28 Years Later? I think it’s time for a rewatch – Is anyone up for a zombie movie night? 

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