Juan Antonio Bayona backs out of directing World War Z sequel

The World War Z sequel is following in the footsteps of its predecessor - and we're not talking the hordes of flesh-eaters bound to return. Much like the troubles which plagued production on the original movie, the second flick has now hit its first hurdle. Director Juan Antonio Bayona has departed the project after spending a year developing the movie. He replaced original helmer Marc Forster - who directed the first film - but is said to have left the sequel due to a scheduling conflict.

It all boils down to timing. Bayona is currently deep in post-production on A Monster Calls and had orchestrated a deal with World War Z's backers Paramount and Skydance to wrap that first before starting work on the zombie sequel. With the studio keen to make their June 2017 release date there was no wiggle room for negotiation. So when Bayona required more time for pre-production on World War Z 2 due to A Monster Calls taking longer than expected, he had to drop out. Here's what the studio said in an official statement:

“Bayona is no longer able to make World War Z 2 this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.”

This leaves the director's schedule wide open for the rest of 2016. What might he turn his hand to? If the murmurs are true then he's reportedly in Universal's crosshairs for the Jurassic World 2 director's chair. Not a bad consolation, eh?

Written by Steven Knight and Dennis Kelly and starring Brad Pitt, World War Z 2 opens in the US and UK on June 9, 2017.

Images: Paramount

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.