Neill Blomkamp’s RoboCop Returns: What Happened to this Unmade Movie?

Neill Blomkamp once almost made a film called RoboCop Returns, which would have been a direct follow-up to Paul Verhoeven’s original.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

After the surprise success of District 9 in 2009, Neill Blomkamp was the new darling of the film industry. The original, intriguing, and thrilling film about aliens stranded on Earth came From the fallout of a failed attempt to get a movie based on the Halo videogame franchise off the ground. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, legitimizing Blomkamp as an innovative storyteller.

Blomkamp leveraged the success of District 9 to land a much larger budget for his next effort, 2013’s classism sci-fi Elysium.It was met with moderate critical and commercial success. He followed that up with the humbler and more intimate Chappie in 2015, which failed to impress critics or turn a profit, despite a cast with sci-fi pedigree, including Sigourney Weaver.

Though it seemed like the bloom was off the rose for Blomkamp, he had proved himself capable enough to be tied to the iconic Alien franchise, teasing his involvement on his Instagram in February of 2015, the month before Chappie’s release. Blomkamp was excited to work with Sigourney Weaver again, posting later that month in a since-deleted post “So I think it’s officially my next film.” In the years to follow, concept art by Geoffrey Thorns would continue to be released. Multiple sources confirmed the deal with 20th Century Fox. But according to Alien series creator Ridley Scott, the Blomkamp-helmed film never made it past the pitch phase, seemingly superseded by 2017’s Alien: Covenant and 2024’s Alien: Romulus.

After failed flirtations with Halo, Alien, and an adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Gone World, Neill Blomkamp seemed like the poster child for canned sci-fi films. But Alien was not the only iconic 80s sci-fi franchise that Blomkamp was tied to. In July of 2018, he signed on to direct RoboCop Returns, which he once told us would have been a direct continuation of the original cyberpunk classic.

So, why didn’t Neill Blomkamp’s RoboCop sequel get made? Watch this episode of What Happened to this Unmade Movie above and find out!

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