Long before the blockbuster hit cinemas, there was talk of a sequel, and Travis Beacham, who co-wrote the original with del Toro, was hired to co-write with the director once more as early as December 2012.
In an interview with BuzzFeed to promote his new FX series, The Strain, however, del Toro notes that Travis Beacham’s schedule has prevented him from carrying on with the writing itself, with the director now instead working with Zak Penn, based on a story he and Beacham had been developing.
“I’m working very, very hard with Zak Penn… We’ve been working for a few months now in secret. We found a way to twist it around. Travis Beacham [co-writer of the first film, now working on Fox’s Hieroglyph] was involved in the storyline and now I’m writing with Zak because Travis has become a TV mogul.”
Officially, the duo are working without the green light from Legendary, but the fact that del Toro has been working on the script with Penn for a few months now, and that he even brought someone new in to help write at all, suggests some level of confidence that the film could move forwards.
He notes in the interview that he doesn’t have the money, but is proceeding like it’s happening, and hopes to tackle it after producing his next project. He also notes that the film will definitely be a sequel rather than a prequel, and that Raleigh Buckett and Mako Mori, played by Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi, are currently included in the script.
“Some people were wondering if we were going to do the prequel. I was never interested in doing that first wave of invasion… I’m going for very new, very crazy ideas on the second one, which are very different from the first one — but you will get really great spectacle.”
Penn’s credits are undeniably impressive, but some of his biggest films, like The Avengers and X-Men 2, are limited to story credits rather than actual writing or co-writing, leaving something of an unknowably quantity as to how much of his work is left in the final film. The Incredible Hulk is all his, though, and he co-wrote X-Men: The Last Stand with Simon Kinberg, and more recently created the short-lived series, Alphas.
Del Toro is currently in post on his anticipated horror movie, Crimson Peak, which sees him reuniting with Charlie Hunnam alongside Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska. He’s also hard at work as an executive producer on The Strain, which he co-created, as well as directing and co-writing several episodes, with FX set to premiere the new series on July 13th.