Back in 1987, Orion released the memorable sci-fi picture about a Detroit cop, Alex Murphy, that is wounded so bad, he undergoes an experimental surgery, ultimately turning him into a cyborg. As we all know, that movie was known as RoboCop. During its run, the original earned over $50 million, which by that time’s standards was pretty big, as well as several Oscar nominations and a win in Best Sound Effects Editing. 1990 and 1993 saw sequels to the 1987 original, in RoboCop 2 and 3, until ultimately becoming dormant until 2014’s failed reboot, starring Joel Kinnamon (amassing $210 million worldwide). Now, MGM looks to bring back Alex Murphy & co. with a script from original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner and a new director that plans to stay true to Paul Verhoeven‘s vision from 1987.
According to a report from Deadline, MGM has appointed District 9 director, Neill Blomkamp, to helm RoboCop Returns, a direct sequel to the original RoboCop film. Neumeier and Miner also reportedly assuming roles as Producer and Executive Producer, with Justin Rhodes (co-writer of Tim Miller’s Terminator film) re-writing the original script the veteran writers put together all those years ago.
For Blomkamp, being appointed director for RoboCop Returns is like a dream come true, as he tells Deadline about how the original had an effect on his life,
“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid, I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events. That is most captivating. The other thing I am excited by is the chance to work again with Justin Rhodes. He has added elements that are pretty awesome, to a sequel that was set in the world of Verhoeven. This is a movie I would love to watch.”
So far, the plot of the movie goes as follows: Anarchy reigns and the fate of Detroit hangs in the balance as RoboCop makes his triumphant return to fight crime and corruption.
There is something almost natural about Blomkamp taking the reigns to RoboCop Returns. In some ways, Blomkamp’s films and Verhoeven’s original world coalesce. Both are set in dystopian worlds and both are commentaries about the current state of the world. 1987’s RoboCop, starring Peter Waller, was about corporate greed in the Reagan era. Meanwhile Blomkamp’s District 9, Elysium, and Chappie talk about a variety of topics from immigration to classism to a militaristic society. With RoboCop Returns he can talk about any of these social issues and more in what could be a big coup for the up-and-coming director.
There is no word yet on when RoboCop Returns will make its way to theaters but we’ll keep our ears to the ground for you!