A Contagion “spiritual” sequel is in the works from Steven Soderbergh. The original 2011 film, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow, directed by Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven) and written by Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), centered around a deadly virus outbreak and the societal collapse as a result of it. The subject matter carries many parallels with what the United States and the world has been dealing with this year with the Coronavirus pandemic, and viewership of the near decade-old picture saw a rejuvenated surge in 2020.
In the wake of the real-world pandemic, Soderbergh was featured on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, saying that he’s working on a follow-up film to Contagion. Billed as a “philosophical” sequel to the original, the new project in development by him and Burns won’t necessarily be a directly connected or continued story, as one would find in a traditional sequel. The new film would play alongside Contagion, similar in theme, but with marked variations between the two.
“I’ve got a project in development that Scott Burns is working with me on, that’s a kind of philosophical sequel to ‘Contagion,’ but in a different context. You’ll kind of look at the two of them as kind of paired, but very different hair colors. So, Scott and I had been talking about, ‘So, what’s the next iteration of a ‘Contagion’-type story?’ We have been working on that; we should probably hot-foot it a little bit.”
Fictional works of the “viral pandemic” genre are nothing new in Hollywood, with modern classic films and TV shows like 1995’s Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo, and more recently, Guillermo del Toro’s 2014 series, The Strain, which ran for 4 seasons on SyFy. Actually living through one now paints a different picture of how those types of stories will likely be told moving forward. Concepts based on fantasy, imagination, and speculation can now be rooted in actual true-life experience, and viewers could start to see that reflected in newer works like Songbird, Stephen King’s The Stand on CBS All Access, and Soderbergh‘s Contagion sequel.