Sadly, none of the sequels lived up to the movie’s promise. RoboCop 2 upped the gory violence, but outside of some inspired moments, it proved to be a major disappointment. RoboCop 3 infamously turned to turn the character kid friendly and watered the satire and violence down for a PG-13 rating; it killed the movie series for 20 years. A PG-13 reboot starring Joel Kinnaman and Gary Oldman arrived in 2014, but despite a strong cast and director at the helm, it was a little too neat and clean around the edges to leave much of a mark, and a planned sequel never arrived.
Now it’s been confirmed director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) will take the reins on RoboCop Returns, which will serve as a direct sequel to the 1987 original whilst ignoring the other movies. The script will be based off an unused RoboCop 2 draft from writers Michael Miner and Ed Neumeier, which will be rewritten by Justin Rhodes (Terminator 6). The lack of an R-rating was a huge point of continuation with the most recent RoboCop movies, but in response to a tweet from games designer Cliff Bleszinski, Blomkamp has confirmed the movie won’t be compromising on gore.
This is a small but comforting step since the original RoboCop was fundamentally an adult property. On the surface, Blomkamp is a strong choice for the material, since he’s steeped in love for the genre and all of his previous projects have mixed satire with R-rated violence to some degree. The director has also been flexing his creative muscles with a series of impressive short films from his own production company Oats Studios, including bleak alien invasion story Rakka and monster movie Zygote.
The series could also use a movie that restores the reputation of the character after one too many disappointing sequels, and while there’s no word on casting yet, it would be nice to see original star Peter Weller come back for RoboCop Returns also. Alternate sequels seem to be the hot new property in Hollywood right now, with Halloween 2018 and Terminator 6 both ignoring the mistakes of previous sequels to tell new stories.
RoboCop Returns doesn’t currently have a release date, but we’ll update you as more information arrives.