Simon Pegg Says He Wouldn’t Be Able to Stop A ‘Cynical and Exploitative’ ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Reboot

Pegg is patently against a ‘Shaun of the Dead’ sequel — but Universal owns the IP
Simon Pegg Says He Wouldn’t Be Able to Stop A ‘Cynical and Exploitative’ ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Reboot

If Universal Pictures decides to drag out the body of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s 2004 horror-comedy masterpiece Shaun of the Dead from its resting place and give it the unholy franchise undeath treatment, all the vinyl pressings of the Batman soundtrack in the world won’t be able to stop them.

Wright and Pegg’s landmark Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy concluded over a decade ago, and the latter actor/writer has been clear in the ensuing years that he’s moved on from playing different flavors of the action-comedy leading man role in quippy, science fiction-y cult classics. While many fans of Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz and, to a lesser extent, The World’s End still feel that their personal favorite of the landmark films could and should have been a franchise, last year, Pegg called the nostalgic attachment that causes his Twitter followers to demand sequels to his early aughts hits some 20 years after release a “neurological disorder,” telling those Millennial movie fans who still have Killers posters hanging in their bedrooms in no uncertain terms, “No, you don’t fucking need Shaun of the Dead 2! The last thing you need is Shaun of the Dead 2! It’s done. Move on!’”

However, as Pegg noted in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, it’s not exactly up to him to decide whether or not moviegoers “need” another Shaun of the Dead, and he wouldn’t be able to stop the film from going the Ghostbusters route and becoming a soulless, cash-grab reboot factory with a simple showdown at the Winchester.

“I mean, Universal owns it,” Pegg said of Shaun of the Dead. “If they choose to reboot it, then they can if they want I guess.” 

While neither Universal Pictures nor their parent company NBCUniversal have made any public indication that, after two decades, they’re finally ready to ruin our memories of Shaun of the Dead with a Beetlejuice-type reboot, Pegg explained that those companies wouldn’t need the original creators’ sign-off to do so. “Although Edgar and I would be incensed,” he added.

Pegg said that, if Shaun of the Dead 2 ever does get a greenlight, “It would be a cynical and exploitative exercise,” though he insisted that he isn’t against multi-film franchises as a whole — quite the opposite, actually. The Star Trek and Mission: Impossible actor explained, “I’m a big fan of sequels. Some of my favorite films are sequels: Empire Strikes Back, Aliens. I’m in a couple of film franchises which repeat and reboot, and it’s not that I decry sequels in any way, but I think some stories end. Some stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.”

“If you were to see Shaun again, if the zombies came back, there’s just not a story to tell it,” Pegg said of the character he played and co-wrote who is still, arguably, his most recognizable role. “We’d have to reset everything that we created in Shaun of the Dead, the journey that Shaun goes on and completes. He becomes a new person, but we’d have to then dismantle that in order to give him a new arc. Why?” 

“The best thing we can do with cinema is to challenge people and get them to see things they haven’t seen before and experience new things,” Pegg reflected. “Entertainment is the most overrated function of art.”

However, “challenging” cinema is a lot less likely to show up as a big black number on Universals balance sheet than a lifeless, shambling cash-in on an established and beloved property, so dont be surprised when they spinoff Peggs masterpiece with John of the Dead starring Timothée Chalamet.


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