Neill Blomkamp, the director behind original sci-fi films District 9, Elysium, and Chappie, was hard at work developing the new RoboCop movie, a direct sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original. Blomkamp said that film “had a massive effect” on him as a kid, which is why this new development is a bit saddening.
In the early hours of Thursday morning (late night for those West Coasters), the filmmaker tweeted that he’s now “off RoboCop.”
“I am shooting new horror/thriller and MGM can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now,” he wrote. “Excited to watch it in theaters with other fans.”
Reps for Blomkamp did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for further comment.
RoboCop Returns is based on a sequel concept the original RoboCop writers, Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, drafted after the 1987 release. That was dusted off years later by Terminator: Dark Fate’s Justin Rhodes for this new movie. Neumeier is also on board as a producer, while Miner is an executive producer.
In this sci-fi world, Alex Murphy is a futuristic Detroit cop who suffers a terminal injury in the line of duty. He’s then remade into the cyborg police force known as RoboCop. Blomkamp promised in June that the original suit from that first movie would be resurrected for RoboCop Returns.
Blomkamp hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to the Hollywood machine, the same one that killed his hoped-for Alien sequel. When audiences and critics didn’t quite take to Chappie, an original story instead of a typical sequel or adaptation, the filmmaker focused on his Oats Studios, the independent space he launched in 2015. He was also supposed to make a disaster movie with Chris Evans, but the director told EW in February he couldn’t talk about Greenland because “there’s some political stuff happening.”
Details on Blomkamp’s new horror-thriller are unknown at this time. Although, he once had hopes to expand some of the horror-friendly short films he made through Oats — “Firebase,” “Zygote,” and “Rakka” — into feature films. At the time, he launched a crowd-funding campaign to do just that with “Firebase,” but he canceled those efforts in April 2018.