Hang on, which one’s RoboCop again?
The Detroit policeman (or ‘cop’) who is killed by criminals and brought back as a cyborg (or ‘robot’). Inspired by Judge Dredd, only the bottom half of his face is visible under his helmet. The franchise is famed for its over-the-top violence, Christ allegories and satire of corporations and mass media.
How much RoboCop has there been so far?
- RoboCop (1987): The original and best, this is the installment where Murphy becomes RoboCop, a van drives through a person, the dad from That ‘70s Show swears a lot, Miguel Ferrer does loads of cocaine, ED-209 is involved in the most violent product demo ever and a funny man on the telly keeps proclaiming “I’ll buy that for a dollar!”
- RoboCop: The Animated Series (1988): Quite a few films from the ‘80s that absolutely weren’t suitable for children but were suitable for toy manufacturers had animated spin-offs. This was set in the world of the first film but with a lot more lasers and a lot less death’n’cursing.
- RoboCop 2 (1989): Despite being directed by The Empire Strikes Back’s Irwin Kershner, this one is a mixed bag, but deserves credit for one of the characters, the baddie, actually being named ‘Robocop 2’.
- RoboCop 3 (1993): RoboCop is played by someone else in this one, co-written by Sin City creator Frank Miller. This is the first one to be deliberately toned down in order to appeal to children. It’s not very good.
- RoboCop: The Series (1994): This is set between the first and second movies, and features a lot less violence than the films (including non-lethal weapons to allow for recurring baddies) and child characters. It is not great.
- RoboCop: Alpha Commando (1998): In this animated series, one of the features of RoboCop’s suit is in-built roller skates. Oh.
- RoboCop: Prime Directives (2001): A Canadian miniseries set after the events of RoboCop 3, this brings back some of the darker elements of the first film, but suffers from low production values.
- RoboCop (2014): A remake of the original starring Joel Kinnaman and Michael Keaton, this was better than it could have been but was compared, perhaps excessively, to the original.
Is there a formula for telling which RoboCops are good?
Ed Neumier and Michael Miner wrote both the original and the remake, and they’re both good. The good news is, they (or at least Neumeier) is involved in the new one too.
Who’s making this new one?
Ed Neumeier, co-creator of RoboCop and co-writer of both the good films (as well as all the Starship Troopers movies) is currently holed up working on a new one. He told Barbados’ Zeitgeist Magazine: “It’s nice that people are still interested in RoboCop. They have me working on a new one at MGM right now so maybe we’ll get another one out of it.”
How will it fit in with the original and the reboot and everything?
Neumeier continued: “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.”
So, that sounds like a sequel that pretends there wasn’t a sequel before, like the Halloween franchise did with Halloween: H20, and how Superman Returns acknowledged the events of the first Superman but not the others, or how the American Pie straight-to-DVD films exist in a separate continuity to the theatrically-released ones.
The original is 30 years old now - how can that work?
Setting it 30 years later would seem to make sense, showing how the crime-addled Detroit of the original has deteriorated. If they could get Peter Weller back in the armour, that could be pretty awesome - his Wikipedia picture makes him look like the friendliest man in the world so he’d almost certainly say yes.
They’d have to explain how, despite being basically dead within the suit, his face had still aged, though. It would be no stranger than watching post-2000 episodes of Red Dwarf and wondering how a hologram and an android have both gained weight. But they could do anything with a RoboCop sequel really - has the future gone impossibly, creepily utopian like in Demolition Man, or is it just the previously-seen dystopia cranked up? Dunno!
When is it coming out?
As yet, nothing has been announced. It sounds like it’s in such early stages that it’s at least a few years off - it’d be amazing to see it before 2021.