The dead will rise again. The Hollywood Reporter has it that an unfinished treatment for George A. Romero’s final zombie film, Twilight of the Dead, is currently being worked on by his widow, Suzanne Romero.
Prior to his death from lung cancer in 2017, Romero began developing Twilight of the Dead as the final entry in his landmark zombie series that began with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. He and screenwriter/producer Paolo Zelati (The Profane Exhibit) wrote a treatment for the proposed closing chapter in the Dead franchise, but they never got to take it to the scripting stage before Romero’s passing.
After her husband’s passing, Suzanne Romero gave Zelati permission to continue moving forward with the script. “I gave him my full blessing as long as I could be there every step of the way for it to remain true to George’s vision,” Romero told THR. “We had a solid treatment and the beginning of the script. I can 100 percent say that George would be incredibly happy to see this continue. He wanted this to be his final stamp on the zombie genre.”
Zelati brought on screenwriters/producers Joe Knetter (Blind) and Robert L. Lucas (One for the Fire: The Legacy of Night of the Living Dead) to help bring some rotting flesh to the treatment’s bones. For Lucas in particular, the chance to develop “the final piece of the puzzle in the dead universe” is like fulfilling a life-long dream.
Twilight of the Dead is said to pick up after the events of Romero’s 2005 film Land of the Dead, which saw the intelligent zombie leader Big Daddy leading a horde of undead soldiers away from humanity. Said Zelati, “Everything started with my question to him: ‘Where do the zombies go at the end of Land of the Dead?'”
The logline for the new flick reveals, “The story is set in a decimated world. Life has all but disappeared. But there still may be hope for humanity.”
Romero made two more zombie movies following Land, 2007’s Diary of the Dead and 2009’s Survival of the Dead. Though ostensibly set in the same Dead universe, Romero never considered those two films part of the overarching story started in Night of the Living Dead and continued in 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, 1985’s Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead.
“It is no secret that Diary and Survival were not the way he envisioned the series ending and George knew it very well,” Zelati explained. “Twilight of the Dead was his goodbye to the genre he created and wanted to go out with a powerful film.”
With the script nearly completed, Suzanne Romero is now out to find a director to bring her late husband’s final vision to life — so to speak.
Said Suzanne Romero, “This is the film he wanted to make and while someone else will carry the torch as the director, it is very much a George A. Romero film.”