District 9 director Neill Blomkamp certainly seems determined to reboot a 1980’s classic one way or another.
The South African filmmaker spent over two years developing Alien: Awakening, a direct sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens that would see Sigourney Weaver reprise the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. However, the project was quietly shelved following the disappointing reception to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus follow-up Alien: Covenant.
Blomkamp then went on to launch experimental short film company Oats Studios, before it was announced last year that he had turned his attention to RoboCop and was rewriting a seemingly long-lost spec script by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, the duo behind Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1987 original, who also joined the project as executive producers.
Neumeier has praised Blomkamp’s approach in the past, claiming that “his idea is that it should be proper Verhoeven… if Verhoeven had directed a movie right after RoboCop… I think that’s what he is trying to achieve.” Blomkamp himself echoed these sentiments as well recently, updating fans on his progress by tweeting that the “script is being written. Going well! Imagine watching Verhoeven do a follow up film.” While it would be better if the director was more open about putting his own stamp on the material rather than imitating someone else, you can’t fault his enthusiasm.
One of the many criticisms that dogged Jose Padilha’s ill-judged 2014 RoboCop remake was the suit, which made the title character look like an awkward cross between Iron Man and a Power Ranger. Keen to assuage any doubts, Blomkamp responded to a fan on Twitter asking if the original suit would be the one used in the latest reboot with a simple reply: “1 million % original.”
With the director confirming the original suit will feature in the movie, it’s surely only a matter of time before he announces the involvement of Peter Weller in some capacity, too, right? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, we know that RoboCop Returns will follow the recent reboot trend of acting as a direct sequel to the original, ignoring the second and third film as well as the remake. As always, watch this space for more.