What if a zombie had a mind of its own? Where would it go? What would it feel? Would it, in fact, feel anything at all?
In a future plagued by legions of undead creatures, both human and animal, the earth is a dark and dangerous place — not only for the few remaining humans who still cling to life, but for a unique group of zombies who remain mysteriously self-aware, torn between their undead impulses and a lingering sense of humanity. Armed with reason, and impervious to death, their world is one of darkness — a nightmare from which they cannot awaken. Will they resign to their fate, wandering aimlessly, never sleeping, never dying? Or will they recognize their curse for what it is. A second chance.
A long, long time ago, in the pre-Twitter, pre-Youtube, pre-Walking Dead era of June 2003, I wrote, directed, animated and published the very first episode of XOMBIE: DEAD ON ARRIVAL, which you can watch these days right here.
Without a proper studio to fund and produce the project (because "James, kids' shows don't do zombies."), I continued stubbornly to create it on my own, eventually capping off a ten episode run in the summer of 2007. Because, hey, don't tell me no.
By this point, Xombie had officially become the most popular thing I'd ever done.
Over the years, the series was viewed over 13 million times, leading to an illustrated novel, a 5-issue comic book series from Devil's Due, and even a run of Xombie skateboards. My experiment had become a business, my characters had become my friends, and an entire generation of kids now officially cared what became of them. "Could this be going any better?" I exclaimed.
And then the phone rang.
Together with my dear friends and producers Cindi Rice and John Frank Rosenblum, I was summoned to Los Angeles by the team behind "Transformers," who at the time were actively seeking to develop a horror / action franchise. As luck would have it, Xombie fit the description.
In June of 2009, the Xombie rights were optioned by Dreamworks Pictures with the intent of a kickass, live-action film adaptation. This resulted in a whirlwind of studio meetings, story development, and the opportunity to help write a feature film version of the Xombie story.
Though the film was announced in the Hollywood Reporter, and developed for almost two years, it was ultimately never produced - cancelled in the wake of the WGA strike, along with a slew of other neat looking projects. (I'm looking at you, Justice League: Mortal)
While this was discouraging for me, it was confusing to the fans. With all momentum having stopped, and the rights temporarily in flux, it appeared Xombie might actually be "dead dead" after all.
And then, for a time, all was quiet.
This brings us handily up to 2017, the tenth anniversary of Xombie's final episode. With a decade now passed, no movie released, and the official rights finally back in my hands, I've had a long time to think about what might have been. But now the better question is ... what can I do?
The answer, of course, is Xombie: Dead Ahead - the long-awaited sequel to the original series, and a mashnote to every loyal fan around the world. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your support. And thank you for helping me understand how much you've missed this story.
Your dedication to this world and to these characters moves me deeply, and inspires me to work even harder to do them (and all of you) justice.
I hope you enjoy what's in store for our mutual friends. I intend to make sure it's worth the wait.