While the notion of re-packaging classic titles for a newer audience is understandable, the resulting product often fails in delivering quality and adherence to canon material. Reboots are often bad news for these reasons, because there’s just something about the magic of the original version that cannot be replicated. After all, nothing can quite beat the original, and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp is certainly on board with the thinking.
It’s of great relevance, because the man will also be running the show for RoboCop Returns, the direct sequel to the original Paul Verhoeven RoboCop film. Together with producer Ed Neumeier, he has been working hard to maintain story continuity, to the point of following through a script conceived years ago by the then-writer Neumeier and fellow co-screenwriter Micheal Miner.
Blomkamp’s show of devotion is highly admirable, so it comes as no surprise that he only wants the real deal. To him, that would be Peter Weller, who assumed the role of Officer Alex J. Murphy back in the day.
Speaking to HN Entertainment, Neumeier affirmed that Weller is Blomkamp’s top choice for the casting of Detroit’s finest. “What you get when you do that, if you use the DNA of the old property in the new, is that you get something that shares continuity and fans can embrace the brand,” he explained in the interview.
There’s truth to the statement. Last year’s Halloween climbed the ranks to become the highest grossing slasher film of all time after Blumhouse brought original star Jamie Curtis back on board, as he yet again slipped into his onscreen persona of Laurie Strode. Naturally, the venture paid off, and the successful run put up by the direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 original only serves to drive Neumeier’s point home.
Stating how an incomplete script in the 1980s brought back the desire to produce a sequel, the producer elaborated upon the realisation of RoboCop Returns as a film:
“We talked about it a couple of years back and I reminded [MGM] that we had written a very rough sequel back in 1988 which then was stopped by the writer’s strike, the same year. And they looked at it and they said ‘oh, good!’, so we did some more work on that and then Neill Blomkamp found out about it and he said ‘I have always wanted to do this, this is my dream project’ and MGM was very very pleased to get into business with him.”
“Neill Blomkamp and his screenwriter Justin Rhodes have done a pass on the script we were writing on and they’re doing another one. It is a slightly different concept in some ways than we were originally doing. I don’t want to talk too much about it or somebody will call me and tell me to shut up, but we’re hopeful and I think Neill really really wants to make a good RoboCop movie. His idea is that it should be the proper Verhoeven… if Verhoeven had directed a movie right after RoboCop… I think that’s what he is trying to achieve and I hope he does. We’ll see what happens next.”
Aha, so do we. A release date for the forthcoming sequel has yet to be announced, but it does seem to be in good hands…for now. Hopefully, there will be no more repeat incident of Blomkamp being forced to abandon another cool idea – his last project involved an intriguing sequel to Aliens, but was eventually shot down in favour of Alien: Covenant. Boo, bad move there.