There few movies that are as egregiously violent and a satirical bite as ferocious and enjoyable as Paul Verhoeven's 1987 cult classic RoboCop. With spills, chills, and some of the most grotesque imagery out of the decade, there are plenty of reasons why the movie has remained so enjoyable and strangely relevant more than 30 years later. And maybe that's the reason the upcoming sequel (the fourth at this point), RoboCop Returns seems like it couldn't come a moment too soon.
Since first announced in January 2018, longtime fans of the story of Detroit cop-turned-cyborg Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) have been dying to know when the over-the-top violence will return and what kind of movie they will get. Well, I can't answer the first part of that question, but I can, and will, serve up what you should know about the long-awaited sci-fi action flick. Here are seven quick things to know about RoboCop Returns.
RoboCop Returns Will Be Connected To The Original But Not The Sequels Or Reboot
When people talk about the RoboCop franchise, they typically refer to the original. Well, people in that camp will be glad to know that RoboCop Returns is being written in a manner that acts like the two RoboCop sequels and the 2014 reboot don't exist. In early 2019, producer Ed Neumeier, who co-wrote the original script and wrote the first treatment for RoboCop Returns told HN Entertainment that the goal was to make a film that continues the story and tone of the 1987 cult classic and make it feel like was directed by Verhoeven right after the first movie came out.
Well, here's what I'll say. We're not supposed to say too much. There's been a bunch of other RoboCop movies and there was recently a remake and I would say this would be kind of going back to the old RoboCop we all love and starting there and going forward. So it's a continuation really of the first movie. In my mind. So it's a little bit more of the old school thing.
There to help out Ed Neumeier with the script for RoboCop Returns was his old writing buddy and RoboCop co-writer Michael Miner. The original idea the pair came up with has since been worked and reworked as the project evolves, but it appears the spirit is still there.
The Script For RoboCop Returns Was Born Out Ed Neumeier And Michael Miner's Original Idea For RoboCop 2
One of the reasons why RoboCop Returns sounds like it will be a continuation of the story from the first movie is because it was Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner's original idea for RoboCop 2. When the project was first announced back in 2018, Neumeier explained the situation to Deadline, stating:
[Paul] Verhoeven felt at the time that making one would be de classe and he wasn’t interested in the politics of a sequel. Then, the writers strike came along in 1988 and we were force majeured off the project. They brought in Frank Miller on a waiver. He wrote a draft and then another with Walon Green, and it got made by Irvin Kershner, who directed The Empire Strikes Back. I went off and did Starship Troopers with Paul.
And it appears after all this time, the original writing pair will finally get to see their original vision (albeit modified) come to the big screen.
The Plot Will Center Around A Detroit On The Brink Of Chaos
There aren't a lot of details about what will happen in the upcoming RoboCop Returns, but a July 2018 Deadline report stated that the plot will center around a Detroit on the brink of chaos as anarchy spreads throughout the dystopian version of the American city. With the fate of the city hanging in the balance, RoboCop makes his return to fight crime and corruption as he attempts to restore order. With the major upheaval at the Omni Consumer Products megacorporation at the end of RoboCop, it remains to be seen what role OCP and its executives will play in the disorder in RoboCop Returns. I just hope no one suffers the same fate as Paul McCrane's Emil Antonowky after he drove through the toxic waste and was melted down to mush before being run over.
Neill Blomkamp Was Set To Direct But Left The Project In August 2019
Neill Blomkamp, the director most known for District 9, Elysium, and Chappie, has had a history of being attached to reboots of beloved sci-fi franchises in the past with his ties to a new Alien movie, so it only made sense for the South African filmmaker to take the lead on RoboCop Returns, if only for a short time. Back in July 2018, it was revealed that Blomkamp would be directing the movie with Justin Rhodes, who co-wrote Tim Miller's 2019 Terminator: Dark Fate, signing on to work on the script.
A little more than a year later, however, Neill Blomkamp revealed on Twitter in August 2019 that he was stepping away from RoboCop Returns to instead focus on shooting a new horror thriller but that he was excited to see how the film would pan out and would see it in theaters. Admittedly, this felt like a death blow to a movie that was just picking up steam, but this wasn't the end of RoboCop.
Little Monsters Director Abe Forsythe Took Over In November 2019
A little more than three months after Neill Blomkamp stepped away from RoboCop Returns, Abe Forsythe, the director of the superbly hilarious 2019 child zombie flick Little Monsters, was taking over the project. At the time of the announcement, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Forsythe would be taking another look at the script and making further changes, but it wasn't known how much of a change the Australian filmmaker would make the story before production geared up.
Peter Weller Won't Be Returning To Play RoboCop
Those who hoped to see Peter Weller suit up as Alex Murphy/RoboCop in RoboCop Returns will hate to read this, but the actor has gone on the record saying that he has no desire to reprise the role in another movie. Weller's representatives confirmed this as much with Super Bro Movies in November 2018, even though he was former director Neil Blomkamp's first choice for the RoboCop in the upcoming picture. What makes this puzzling, however, is the fact that Weller appeared as RoboCop in a 2019 KFC advertising campaign. Maybe there is hope…
RoboCop Returns Will Feature The Suit From The Original
If Peter Weller won't be appearing in RoboCop Returns at least the suit he wore in the original RoboCop will. Just a few months before Neil Blomkamp stepped away from the project in 2019, Entertainment Weekly shared a Twitter conversation between the director and a fan who asked if the new movie would feature the original suit seen in the 1987 RoboCop. To that, Blomkamp responded with this:
It makes perfect sense to have RoboCop wearing the same suit from the original movie especially considering the fact that RoboCop Returns is being pitched as a continuation of the cult classic.
There Is No Release Date At This Point
There is currently no release date for RoboCop Returns, and we'll probably have to wait even longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down and delaying productions throughout much of 2020. Be on the lookout, however, as these types of things seem to pop up out of nowhere, kind of like RoboCop Returns in the first place.
While we don't know when RoboCop Returns will come out, there are still plenty of movies coming to cinemas through the rest of the 2020 and into 2021 as more theaters begin opening up to audiences around the world.