Neill Blomkamp leaves RoboCop Returns due to a scheduling conflict
This news has come as an unexpected and frankly unwanted bolt out of the blue. It has been announced today that director Neill Blomkamp will no longer helm the upcoming sequel/ Reboot ‘Robocop Returns‘ that he has been working hard on for the past year. The dreaded scheduling conflict is being blamed for the director’s sudden departure.
In a Twitter post, Blomkamp explained MGM wanted to move forward almost instantly on the cyborg cop film, a move that Blomkamp couldn’t accommodate due to his schedule working on his own original horror/ thriller. Blomkamp posted:
“Off Robocop. I am shooting new horror/thriller and Mgm Can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now. Excited to watch it in theatres with other fans. N.”
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
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) August 15, 2019
Blomkamp had been working on the film since last July from a screenplay written by Justin Rhodes who was working from an original idea and concept from Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, the writers of the original film. Neumeier was quoted a while back as saying Blomkamp “Really, really wants to make a good Robocop movie” and “(it) should be the proper Verhoeven if Verhoeven had directed a movie right after Robocop”. Blomkamp was already quoted as saying the original film “had a massive effect on me when I was a kid” and expressed his desire to bring in original star, Peter Weller back as the cybernetic hero.
This isn’t the first time Blomkamp has had his dreams dashed. If you recall, he planned to make a fifth ‘Alien‘ film bringing back stars Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn and had a green light to do so at 20th Century Fox. All was in place until ‘Alien: Covenant‘ didn’t make the kind of money or get the critical response Fox wanted and so the company pulled the project. Director James Cameron was quoted as saying that he would be working alongside Blomkamp to resurrect the film after he had finished with his ‘Avatar‘ sequels. However, now Fox has been bought by Disney, the chances of the film ever getting made are extremely remote.
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This news is the worst we could have feared. Blomkamp is such a talented director and his devotion to his craft and the finished product would have made the film a resounding success. Now, not only do MGM have the task of sourcing a new director for the film but the film itself could be in jeopardy. All the work that has been put into the film so far could go to waste and consign the film to the ‘Might have been’ pile of movie-making history. I was looking forward to seeing how the director would produce the goods he promised and now, the project has lost some of its interesting aspects with the departure of Neill Blomkamp.
Will the film still get made with another top name director taking over the reins? I think MGM has made a major mistake in pushing the film as much as they have and not taking the time and waiting for what would probably be the best director with the vision to take the project forward. The last time they did this with the franchise, the awful Robocop remake was the result, an insult to the original film and a completely unwanted or needed attempt to bring the character to a family audience. If MGM is insistent to rush the film into production, they will need to get a top name to take over the film and, to be honest, a top name will probably rework what has been planned and set up by Blomkamp and that will take time. The time that they could have given Neill Blomkamp.
Will we get to see Robocop return as we were promised or will MGM, like the character says in the classic 1987 original, ‘Drop it’?. Only time will tell.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!