The 'Army of the Dead' Prequel Is Here — but Why Didn't Zack Snyder Direct It?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Oct. 29 2021, Published 7:14 p.m. ET

Zack Snyder 'Army of the Dead'
Source: Getty Images

Zack Snyder has never really been consistent with his movies. He giveth 300 then he taketh away with Justice League. However, his zombie apocalypse movie Army of the Dead, which was released on Netflix in April 2021, was a pretty good time. And now we're getting a prequel in the form of Army of Thieves, but it's not what you're thinking. There won't be a zombie patient zero story in this movie.

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What we're getting is an origin story for one particular character from Army of the Dead, and honestly, he was a fan favorite, but more on that later. There is also another difference between this movie and Army of the Dead — a different director is behind the camera. Why didn't Zack Snyder direct Army of Thieves?

Zack Snyder
Source: Getty Images
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Why didn't Zack Snyder direct 'Army of Thieves'?

Zack Snyder currently has a development deal with Netflix that was made with his production company, the Stone Quarry. It's not just for him to direct movies, though that is likely to happen again. The deal is for the Stone Quarry to create and build up projects with shared universes like Rebel Moon or his Norse mythology show Twilight of the Gods.

This isn't the first time Zack has stepped aside for another director. He did the same thing for 300: Rise of an Empire, and he handed the reigns over to Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman after he directed Batman v Superman. Zack has a number of spinoffs in mind for Army of the Dead — Army of Thieves is just one of them.

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Zack Snyder directing 'Army of the Dead'
Source: Netflix

Who directed 'Army of Thieves'?

Originally, Army of Thieves was supposed to be a German-language film, and who better to focus that story on than Matthias Schweighöfer, who played Dieter in Army of the Dead? Dieter was an absolute delight, providing the comic relief the film desperately needed. As luck would have it, Matthias is a skilled director, so it made the most sense for Zack to task him with directing Thieves.

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Since we were already introduced to Dieter in Army of the Dead, Thieves gives the audience the opportunity to get to know him and see where some of his quirks came from. In a conversation with Screen Rant, Matthias said, "We were building this fantastic foundation in Army of the Dead, with all these little character moments like the crazy scream and his nerdy stuff." They were able to stretch that character out more in the prequel.

Army of Thieves
Source: Netflix

Before he cracked the safe open in Army of the Dead while cracking audiences up, Matthias was already a well-known actor and director in Germany. Beyond being part of the Snyderverse, he produced, directed, and played the leading role in the first German-language Amazon Original Series You Are Wanted. He also starred in and directed several German movies of his own. And if you're ever in Berlin, please stop by Madame Tussauds to check out his wax figure. We're on our way.

Army of Thieves is currently streaming on Netflix.

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