Robocop is one of those particular kind of franchise projects that started with a big, cult release and ever since has never quite found its footing – though it’s not for lack of trying. There have been sequels, spin-offs, animated productions and reboots but none seem to have caught the lightning in the bottle of the first outing. The first film blended a serious sci-fi story of a cop ‘killed’ in the line of duty being saved by merging his surviving brain and body parts with a state-of-the-art robotic body with a satirical look at a near-future culture that some might suggest was only just ahead of its time.
The latest attempt to recreate the central premise and revive the ultimate law-enforcement archetype was to have been helmed by Chappie and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, but he announced late yesterday that he was leaving the project because of scheduling issues. He noted, via twitter, that: ‘Off Robocop. I am shooting new horror/thriller and MGM can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now. Excited to watch it in theaters with other fans. N‘
The film, informally known as Robocop Returns, was said to be more like a direct sequel to the first film by Paul Verhoeven, rather than the 2014 reboot or even the official sequels. But Blomkamp’s departure may lead to more changes to the existing script. However, it’s not clear what MGM‘s immediate alternative plans are, or who they may pursue to direct… but if Blomkamp is right and the project is a priority, it’s still possible it could go before the cameras in the next year.