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Following the same path that franchises like Halloween and Terminator have ventured down, the RoboCop series has a legacyquel in the works. RoboCop Returns will be a direct sequel to the original 1987 RoboCop, and originally Neil Blomkamp was attached to direct. But Blomkamp had to exit the project back in August, and three months later, his replacement has reportedly been found.
Abe Forsythe, whose credits include Down Under and the recently-released Little Monsters, has been tapped to direct RoboCop Returns. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Forsythe will also rewrite the latest draft of the script that was turned in byJustin Rhodes. Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, the writers of the original RoboCop, reunited to work on the first RoboCop Returns draft years back, and they are still involved as producers.
Although the original RoboCop was followed by two sequels in 1990 and 1993, neither were anywhere near as critically well-received as their predecessor, and Peter Weller didn’t even return for RoboCop 3, with Robert John Burke taking over the eponymous role. The RoboCop reboot that came out in 2014 was met with mixed reviews and only made $242.7 million worldwide off a $100 million budget, which ultimately resulted in a direct sequel being scrapped.
While Neil Blomkamp was primed to oversee the creation of RoboCop Returns for a little over a year, he announced this past summer that he’d left due to starting a new horror/thriller movie, and MGM wasn’t willing to wait for him to finish, preferring to get RoboCop Returns off the ground as soon as possible. So instead, Abe Forsythe has been hired to lead the proceedings, and this is a huge boost for his career, having previously helmed independent movies, shorts and TV shows in Australia.
It’s unclear if Abe Forsythe will drastically change the RoboCop Returns script or if it’s only a polish job, but either way, unless he ends up leaving the project like Neil Blomkamp did, it looks like this legacyquel is back on track and will finally take the next step forward in development. A previous plot synopsis stated that RoboCop Returns would see the cybernetic protagonist making his triumphant return to Detroit to fight crime and corruption as the city's fate hangs in the balance due to anarchy being widespread.
Back when Neil Blompkamp was still attached to RoboCop Returns, it was rumored that Peter Weller would not reprise the character, despite Blomkamp wanting him back. It’s unclear if this is indeed true, although if Weller can be convinced to vocally reprise RoboCop for a KFC commercial, then maybe Abe Forsythia can offer a little extra incentive to him do the same for the big screen.