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The Ending Of World War Z Explained

Thanks to its beginnings as a bestselling book, World War Z seemed destined for box office glory someday, but that road to the big screen wasn’t always an easy one. We’re taking a look back at the ending of World War Z and how it went from prized source material to hailed script to problem production to box office hit.

After the success of his 2003 how-to manual The Zombie Survival Guide, author Max Brooks decided to take his love of the walking dead up a notch. His next book was a harrowing oral history-style novel set in the era after the outbreak of a virus that reanimates corpses and nearly wipes out the human race. In it, a member of the UN Postwar Commission travels to locations around the world, conducting interviews that take the reader from the first hot spots to the collapse of society to the darkest moments, when humanity finds a way to fight back.

Audiences responded with great enthusiasm, and World War Z would top the New York Times bestseller list, eventually selling more than a million copies. With that level of success, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling, and Brad Pitt’s company Plan B eventually landed the rights. Pitt brought on J. Michael Straczysnki, a veteran genre writer behind cult classics like Babylon 5, to craft the first draft of the script. Straczysnki’s version kept the interview format of the book intact, and his draft was strong enough to attract direct Marc Forster to the project. It was here that the first signs of trouble in the making of the film began to emerge.

Fresh off his James Bond film Quantum of Solace, Forster’s ideas for World War Z clashed with Straczynski’s, and the director asked for rewrites. State of Play writer Matthew Michael Carnahan was brought in to develop a new, more action-heavy script, and major changes were made. Instead of focusing on the aftermath of the war with the zombies, the new script placed Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, in the middle of the outbreak from the beginning.

Carnahan’s script was solid enough that shooting could begin, but studio executives still weren’t sure about the film’s ending. In Carnahan’s version of the story, Pitt’s Gerry Lane would endure everything from a crash landing in Russia to a time jump to an invasion of the west coast of the United States, all without ever reuniting with his family. Eventually, it was decided that rewrites and reshoots were needed to get the film in shape. Keep watching the video to see the ending of World War Z explained.

#WorldWarZ #EndingExplained

The war begins | 0:19
Transformation | 1:33
The final ending | 2:46
Pathogenius | 3:51
War begun | 5:02
Aftermath | 5:57

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