Movie Reviews

Get Ready For The Zombie Movie Renaissance If These 2 Upcoming Sequels Are Successful


  • 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2 could breathe new life into the zombie movie genre.
  • 28 Years Later is the start of a planned trilogy, while I Am Legend 2 has the potential for sequels.
  • If successful, Hollywood will likely want to capitalize on the newfound zombie success.

This year it was announced two of the most notable zombie movies in recent decades are receiving sequels, 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2, and after these films premiere, there’s a chance that a zombie renaissance will take over the horror scene. Among the slashers and psychological thrillers that make up the horror genre, one beloved subgenre is the zombie movie. Zombies have been done in any number of ways over the course of Hollywood history, but there are certain zombie movies that are the best, and 28 Days Later and I Am Legend are among them.

28 Years Later was initially announced in January 2024. The threequel was a pleasant surprise, as the original film, 28 Days Later, premiered back in 2002, and its sequel, 28 Weeks Later, in 2007. Reviving the franchise nearly 20 years later was unexpected, but more than welcome by fans. I Am Legend 2’s confirmation has a similar story. In March 2022, the sequel starring Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan was announced, 15 years after the first movie. Time aside though, these sequels can not only revive their franchises, but reenergize a classic horror movie subgenre.


Why I Am Legend 2 Has Faced So Much Production Trouble Explained By Original Director

The original 2007 I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence explains why I Am Legend 2 has faced so many troubles getting made over the years.

28 Years Later & I Am Legend 2 Are Hollywood’s Biggest Zombie Movies In Years

Zombie Movies Have Petered Out

The fact that 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2 are releasing around the same time is a major win for the zombie subgenre; unfortunately, zombie movies have seriously dwindled in recent years. Although there have been a few notable hits, such as Netflix’s Army of the Dead in 2021, the last truly significant zombie movies dropped in 2016–eight years ago. In that year, audiences got The Girl with All the Gifts and the iconic South Korean film, Train to Busan. But even then, these films couldn’t compete with the zombie renaissance of the early 2000s.

Although zombie movies are a horror staple, they have faced a definite rise and fall over the years. In the early 2000s, when 28 Days Later and I Am Legend came out, zombies were at an all-time high. Other zombie hits of the time include Dawn of the Dead and Zombieland. The Walking Dead even fits into this category. However, by 2013, audiences no longer loved zombies like they used to after releases like action-thriller World War Z and rom-com Warm Bodies. This is what makes 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2 so pivotal.

28 Years Later Is Already Envisioned As A New Trilogy

28 Years Later Will Restart & Continue The Zombie Genre

Cillian Murphy's Jim smiles and looks up in 28 Days Later ending

While the mere existence of 28 Years Later could jumpstart the zombie subgenre, there is more up the movie’s sleeve. In January 2024, it was announced that 28 Years Later would be happening and that it’s the first of a planned trilogy. The three movies will follow a new cast, although original franchise star Cillian Murphy will return for 28 Years Later. 28 Days Later’s original screenwriter, Alex Garland, is also returning to write this new trilogy, while original director, Danny Boyle, is on board to direct the first film. Ultimately, this 28 Years Later trilogy is monumental for zombie movies.

Just one sequel of a beloved zombie movie already has the chance to reinvigorate audiences’ love for zombies, but three movies mean even more chances.

Just one sequel of a beloved zombie movie already has the chance to reinvigorate audiences’ love for zombies, but three movies mean even more chances. It also decreases the risk of failure. In 2019, a sequel to Zombieland, Zombieland: Double Tap, was released, and though it was fairly well-received, it mostly went under the radar. 28 Years Later may have suffered the same fate, but with two more movies at its back, there is a greater opportunity for the zombie genre to come back in full force.

I Am Legend 2 Could Make More Sequels Possible

Michael B. Jordan Could Be The New Star

Will Smith walking through tall grass as Robert Neville in I Am Legend

Although there is less information out there about I Am Legend 2, this movie could also spawn more zombie sequels. I Am Legend 2 will reportedly star Will Smith, reprising his role as Robert Neville, and Michael B. Jordan, whose character has yet to be revealed. The movie will follow I Am Legend’s alternate ending, wherein Smith’s character Neville survives. In particular, screenwriter Avika Goldsman revealed that I Am Legend 2‘s story will explore the idea that “man’s time on the planet as the dominant species has come to an end.”

I Am Legend is based on a 1954 book of the same name by Richard Matheson.

While Will Smith’s return is exciting, it is Michael B. Jordan’s participation in I Am Legend 2 that is a true sign of sequel material. If Smith alone was headlining the film, I Am Legend 2 could seem like a one-off sequel, or at least, like Smith would carry any additional sequels himself. However, with I Am Legend bringing new talent in via Jordan, there is a chance that he will continue with this franchise. Where Will Smith is the legacy actor, Michael B. Jordan is the new generation that could lead future I Am Legends.

28 Years Later & I Am Legend 2 Succeeding Will Bring More Zombie Movies

Good Zombie Movies Will Breed More Zombie Movies

Nevill (Will Smith) lies on the street looking startled, but defended by his dog in I Am Legend.

Overall, if 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2 do well upon release, it seems likely that a zombie movie resurgence will be on the horizon. Hollywood tends to repeat things if they are successful, and in this way, if these sequels do well at the box office and with audiences, then more are likely to come. If this happens, zombie movies may finally have a renaissance like they saw in the early 2000s.

And zombie movies aside, 28 Years Later and I Am Legend 2 are incredibly exciting on their own. 28 Years Later is bringing back so many components of the original 2002 movie that the chances of success are high. Plus, a planned trilogy means that the excitement will last for several years to come. I Am Legend 2 is similarly thrilling due to Smith’s return and the potential for where the sequel could go. In the end, these zombie sequels have big shoes to fill, but if they succeed, success could spread to the subgenre and horror genre overall.

28 Years Later Temp Movie Poster

28 Years Later

Danny Boyle

Cillian Murphy

28 Days Later

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