News about sequel to pandemic thriller ‘Contagion’ triggers hot online discussion in China
Published: Jan 04, 2021 09:10 PM

Screenshot from Sina Weibo

(2011), a US pandemic thriller whose terrifying plot is eerily similar to what the world is going through now, is set for a “to be continued,” as its director has just revealed that a sequel to the film is already in development.  

During an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast in December 2020, the film’s director Steven Soderbergh revealed that there will be a new “philosophical” sequel to Contagion that may cover similar ideas to the 2011 production, but will be more of an iteration of the previous production than a direct sequel. 

Despite the added “philosophical” tone, the core producers of the new sequel remain the same, Soderbergh will collaborate with Contagion’s screenwriter Scott Burns again, ensuring the film will be made “in time,” as Soderbergh noted that “We have been working on that; we should probably hot-foot it a little bit.”

The news about the new continuation of the well-received 2011 thriller inspired Chinese netizens to express their various opinions on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

“I think Soderbergh is one of those directors who really grasp the essence of making such a pandemic-type film; I’m really looking forward to the new one, especially after those many unreal things have become real in our lives,” one netizen posted on Sina Weibo. 

Despite comments showing people’s high anticipation for the director’s film, a large group of netizens discussed predictions about whether the new film will include any stories about China and expressed the hope that the US film will not take any angle that “stigmatizes” China when it comes to exploring pandemic-related subject material. 

“I want to see whether or not the film will deliberately include anything that expresses hate for China or make us furious,” wrote one Chinese netizen on Sina Weibo.

“If the film is going to show any details that are taken from the real horrible events we are experiencing right now, then I hope those details are not fabricated and don’t deliberately stigmatize China,” posted another. 

“I really hope the film can show how the world and people of different nations helped each other to fight against the pandemic rather than some other things showing prejudice, hatred and selfishness. We had enough these negativities over the past year, didn’t we?” said another. 

The almost decade-old film has been described by some netizens as a “horrible prophesy of 2020” as well as the most true-to-life film to watch over the past year. The film features an ensemble cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law and tells the story of an unknown virus that spreads through respiratory droplets, how medical researchers and workers stay on the front lines to cope with the widespread pandemic and how a vaccine is introduced to stop the disaster. 

Those details may frighten some as they incorporate realistic details from 2003 SARS pandemic, but the film’s plot was once criticized as being too unrealistic and exaggerated.

“My emotions were complex when watching it this year. I feel like an actor in the film,” wrote one netizen in a review on Chinese media review platform Douban. 

“If this [the new sequel] is going to be another ‘prophetic film,’ then please write something about the world going back to normal,” posted another netizen on Sina Weibo. 

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