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What Should Zack Snyder Direct Next?

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With filming now underway for Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead for Netflix and the recent announcement of both Snyder and his longtime collaborator, Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns, Man of Steel), developing a new anime show for the streaming service based on Norse mythology (although believed to not be directing the project), the thought comes to mind on what Snyder should helm next in his storied and iconic career behind the camera.

Zack Snyder (above) demonstrating an action sequence with a bow in ‘Justice League.’

Existing Ideas

Firstly, there are multiple avenues that he could venture down. One is his passion project for some time now: The Fountainhead. Based on his Vero posts, it is clear that he has spent a lot of time working on an adaptation of the classic 1949 film and 1943 novel by Ayn Rand (fun fact: he also made reference to it in a scene from Justice League involving Aquaman). For those unaware, the basic premise is as follows via IMDB: “An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.”

There are a few obstacles that could deter him from bringing his version of the story to life. The main obstacle in his path is the company that owns the rights: Warner Brothers. It does not take a rocket science to determine that Snyder and WB have fallen out of favor in the past few years. Ever since the overly harsh backlash for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, they have been at odds ever since. WB did not like the direction the DC Cinematic Universe was going – including internal rumblings between WB execs of potentially firing Snyder from Justice League before principal photography began – and the fatal decision to entirely scrap the film completely done with principal photography and, at minimum, a majority of visual effects completed in favor of a disaster of a mess at the hands of Joss Whedon was potentially the final straw. Snyder’s first look deal has since expired as he has since relocated his office to his newly built home.

Additionally, I am also assuming WB is not very keen on the idea of him jumping directly into a film that could be seen as a double entendre and as a slight towards them based on the situation at hand with Justice League. Even though I am with Snyder in this instance, WB has a right to protect themselves and their brand, which I cannot see them passing up. There is a chance that it could happen someday, especially since WB just hired Ann Sarnoff as their new CEO, but as of now, I would not bet on The Fountainhead being Snyder’s next film.

Speaking of Justice League, I am not including it in this piece because it is something he has already filmed, which only leaves releasing the film as the remaining aspect to complete.

Recently, in an interview for Comic Book Debate, Snyder revealed that a friend of his actually wrote a screenplay based on the life of Napoleon and thinks highly of it. While a period piece about a French military leader during the French Revolution with Snyder’s artistic style would be quite fascinating to see, this may also be a film that might be a few spots down on the bucket list.

We all know that some ideas and screenplays come and go without being fully realized and fall short of production. Normally I would have put more stock into the Napoleon film being made next, but the fact that Snyder is now filming an unofficial (and probably unrelated) sequel to his 2004 remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead after being on the development back-burner for over 10 years, I think it is clear that Snyder is willing to stick with an idea he truly believes in no matter how long the wait might be.

It was mentioned in a December 2016 article from The Hollywood Reporter that Snyder was hoping to film an original idea he co-wrote with his 300 screenwriter, Kurt Johnstad. The war thriller, The Last Photograph, has also been in development for over 10 years and revolves around a war photographer in Afghanistan that, due to an attack, becomes that final surviving member of his group. He then meets a special ops soldier looking to find a family member and they decide to team up.

There was a rumored report of filming taking place during June of 2018 in Columbia, but it never materialized as Snyder eventually flirted with The Fountainhead and then jumped over to Army of the Dead once Netflix came across the project and filmmaker. Plus, rumor also has it that WB was developing The Last Photograph with Snyder, which could also dim the future of the project.

Ben Affleck (left) and Zack Snyder (right) behind-the-scenes during the warehouse action scene in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.’

My Suggestion

Now that I have covered all of the potential options that are already known to exist, I have a fun idea that I have been kicking around for the past two weeks now. I will admit from the outset that the possibility is extremely unlikely and I am not expecting anything to come of my suggestion, but I believe it is worth warranting. Zack Snyder should direct an episode of the next season of Stranger Things.

No, I am not joking. The massively popular Netflix show has endured three seasons of major success and is easily the most watched Netflix original show or film that it is produced so far. The Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy have done an excellent job in crafting the show, but imagine a high-profile director, known for his visual storytelling, bringing an added dimension to the series. He could have a lot of fun working in that realm.

Picture this: Snyder directing an episode that deals with the Russians, the Upside Down, and the Mind Flayer while adding in his signature visual style that also includes relevant and subtle references and homages (also known as Easter eggs). This is something that is already prevalent in the series and could be taken to the next level by Snyder. This would likely cause panic among fans of the show that it could derail the series entirely, but their styles are not so different. The Upside Down literally looks like a world that Snyder’s Doomsday from BvS could live in. The color palette of both are exactly the same. This past season also saw people being taken over and controlled by the Mind Flayer – sometimes in dark and zombie-esque ways. What is Zack Snyder’s best received film critically? His Dawn of the Dead remake. Plus, before departing Justice League (willingly or unwillingly), the comedic moments from the first two trailers worked well. He has the ability to pull off humor when need be. Do you see a pattern beginning to develop here?

The ideal scenario is that he only works on one or two episodes, which would take considerably less time to make than a feature film and would not significantly impact the timetable of his future projects or the show. I realize that Stranger Things usually entails either eight or nine episodes per season, but if the next season is indeed their final season, why not flesh out the story and characters a little more and shoot for a 10-episode season? If Snyder theoretically worked on two episodes, that leaves eight other episodes. If he only directs one of them, that is nine other episodes to work with. If he wants to be more involved with the overall story and storyboards, then even better. It provides an opportunity for Netflix and the creatives behind Stranger Things to take the show to the next level (something the show has been criticized for lacking during this past season) and for Snyder to push his creative talent into a new direction.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the streaming service thinks very highly of Snyder, especially considering the head of the anime department at Netflix, John Derderian, said the following: “[His] innovation in visual storytelling has pushed the industry forward and established him as one of the most distinctive filmmakers of his generation. We are beyond excited to partner with him and his exceptional team.” Those are pretty high remarks if you ask me. With that statement, combined with both Netflix buying out the zombie thriller from WB (and giving Snyder a $90 million budget) and producing the Norse mythology series that Snyder and Oliva co-created, it is hard to believe that he would leave anytime soon. Netflix, known for their track record of giving more creative freedom to their filmmakers, and Snyder, having previous issues with a studio that is known for being run by committee, appear to be the perfect match. Netflix’s new high-profile director working with the team that makes Netflix’s biggest property. That idea is a hard one to pass up.

What do you think Zack Snyder’s next project should be? Make sure to let us know and, as always, thank you for reading!

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