Now that the last movie in the “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy is now in theaters, hopefully it won’t be too long before director Edgar Wright works with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost again. A few years ago, it seemed like the trio wanted to go their separate ways, with Wright helming Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Pegg and Frost heading over to the sci-fi comedy Paul. While the trio will most likely work together again at some point in the future, Edgar Wright recently revealed that The World’s End was almost a (somewhat) direct sequel to Shaun of the Dead.
On the Empire Magazine podcast, Wright explained that, in the very early stages of writing the screenplay for The World’s End with Simon Pegg, the film could have taken a different direction and become an actual sequel to their earlier film. Wright says:
This is going way way back, but there was at one point a really silly idea — one of those fanciful, pie in the sky ideas that we were excited about for about an afternoon and then thought, ‘That’s impossible…’ — where we thought of doing a sequel for Shaun of the Dead where it would be an alternate reality. Shaun would turn left instead of right and instead of it being a zombie film, it would be — I don’t know — a bodysnatchers film.
And it’s funny, because we talked about it very excitedly for about an afternoon and then thought it would be impossible because we’d have to do it right now, or the actors are going to look older and it’ll all look weird.
If you remember how Shaun of the Dead ended, the British military contained the zombie outbreak, but the infected living dead were left as functioning beings in society. A direct sequel would’ve been somewhat awkward, so an alternate reality version of Shaun of the Dead sounds more like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s style.
But because of Wright and Pegg’s writing process (and time), the idea of an alternate reality Shaun of the Dead sequel quickly evolved into what became The World’s End. But that doesn’t mean all traces of that dead-end line of thinking went into the waste bin. Wright continues:
But one of the gems that came away from that was something nice about paranoid sci-fi, of the John Wyndam, John Christopher-like ilk, where the threat is intelligent and can talk and is claiming identities. It ties really nicely into the idea of reunion and whether these characters have changed. You’ve got four guys who’ve become grown-ups, you’ve got Gary King who’s pretending to be a teenager and then you’ve got this town that’s this weird facsimile of what they once knew, and so that always tied in to the sci-fi theme.
While The World’s End didn’t perform as well as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz at the box office, it’s the type of movie that will likely sell many copies once it’s on home video. Just imagine how awesome a “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy boxed set would be!
Edgar Wright’s next film will be an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three, Marvel’s Ant-Man. Of course, there were some rumors that Simon Pegg might play Hank Pym (AKA Ant-Man/Giant-Man) in the Marvel movie, but either way, Wright deserves a box office hit and it appears Marvel’s Ant-Man might be it.
You can listen to the full Empire Magazine podcast below.