For horror fans, 28 Days Later is a staple in the post-apocalyptic subgenre. The UK production was spearheaded by the fantastic team of director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland, complete with a cast including now-Golden Globe winner Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston, and Megan Burns. The movie came out in 2002 and was both a critical and financial success, grossing over $80 million at the box office on a reportedly slim $8 million budget.
There are a lot of reasons to love 28 Days Later, including the chilling atmosphere, haunting soundtrack, gripping storyline, and strong performances. Though Boyle and Garland took inspiration from zombie films before theirs, namely George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (how could they not!?) 28 Days Later is now known as one of the best in the subgenre and has inspired many other zombie shows and movies to come. Many can't help but point out the similarities between this movie and The Walking Dead, which leads with a similar premise of a man waking up from a coma to find the apocalypse is here. TWD creator Robert Kirkman has said it's merely coincidental.
In any case, it's easy to see how influential 28 Days Later has been on pop culture. The sequel, 28 Weeks Later, was released in 2007 with a new team and cast behind it, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo from a script co-written by him, Rowan Joffé, Enrique López, and Lavigne Jesus Olmo. 28 Weeks Later isn't as strong as the original but it's still a good movie,
Why the 28 Days Later Sequel is a good thing
So what do we think about the latest news, with it coming out on Wednesday, Jan. 10 that Boyle and Garland are officially reteaming for a sequel all these years later? The new movie is called 28 Years Later, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As someone who isn't the biggest fan of unnecessary sequels, reboots, remakes, etc., normally the sound of a sequel — especially over two decades later — would concern me. However, this news is actually really exciting to me and the main reason is because the original team is back to do it!
Needless to say, Boyle and Garland are incredibly talented and they've proved to us how well they work together as a duo. There have been rumors of a new 28 Days Later film for years now, and they've both seemed very interested in bringing back the series for a long time. It certainly doesn't seem like they've been pressured into this; on the contrary, this seems like something they are both incredibly passionate about. So much so, there are talks of a trilogy, not just one sequel! THR reports that Boyle is attached to direct the first sequel, with Garland writing all three. Reportedly, the budget range for the three movies would be around $75 million each.
I have faith in this movie (or trilogy) simply because I believe Garland and Boyle will respect their previous work and create something worthy that will build upon the world they made all those years ago. Now, onto the other big matter at hand.
Is Cillian Murphy returning for 28 Days Later sequel?
The only thing that could make this news better is if they cast Murphy to reprise his role as Jim. The Oppenheimer and Peaky Blinders actor has made quite an impressive career for himself since starring in 28 Days Later, but he also seems very interested in revisiting the story. At this time, no, Murphy is not signed on for 28 Years Later or any sequels. But I can't help but hope the stars align and he returns!
The Independent spoke with Murphy in 2023 when he was promoting Oppenheimer, bringing up the possibility of a 28 Days Later sequel. The actor said he hadn't heard of any talks but confirmed: "I would be there in a flash." His eagerness about the potential has me thinking that if his schedule permits, he could just return!
"I made two movies with both of those guys, and I would love to work with them again. Of course, I’m there."- Cillian Murphy
28 Years Later, directed by Danny Boyle, written by Alex Garland, and starring Cillian Murphy would be an absolute dream come true. I'd be first in line to buy tickets. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this might just happen. Stay tuned!