Director Neill Blomkamp’s third sci-fi feature film, Chappie, has unfortunately gone the same way was as Elysium as far as most critics are concerned. Set in the near-future where the Johannesburg police force has been mechanized, Chappie is about a programmer who hijacks an old police robot and gives it the capacity to learn, feel and create.
District 9, Blomkamp’s first feature and his breakout success, was set in an alternate version of Blomkamp’s home town of Johannesburg, where the arrival of a small population of aliens several decades previously has led to a new apartheid where the “Prawns” are segregated into a broken-down slum called District 9. Sharlto Copley played Wikus, a government official who finds himself transforming into one of the aliens after being infected by their technology.
The film concluded with the aliens being moved along to a new area called District 10, which also happens to be the perfect name for a sequel. Discussion of a follow-up began almost as soon as District 9 was released, with Blomkamp saying that he’d be interested in making a sequel and later revealing that he’d written a “really f***ing cool” treatment for it. With Blomkamp’s next film set to be a sequel to Aliens it looks like District 10 is still a long way off, if it ever gets made at all.
In a new interview with IGN the director explained that he considers District 9, Elysium and Chappie to be a kind of spiritual trilogy, which is why he wants to take a break from the aesthetic that he developed in those films.
“I feel like Chappie is the end of three films that have a similar stylistic approach to them… Moving forward I would love to realise this idea of District 10 – I have every intention to do it, I just need to find the right time to do it – to not go back to Johannesburg and shoot something similar, yet.”
Blomkamp also insists that he didn’t realize until the end of the editing process just how much the conclusion of District 9 seemed to hint at a sequel. The original concept, Blomkamp says, was for a standalone film.
“It was a completely self-contained story about the Nazi becoming the Holocaust victim, basically. It was the oppressor becoming the oppressed. And when it’s based on a character like that, it ends on that character. The inadvertent world creation that came with it, which to me is my perfect kind of thing that I love – having a bunch of weird alien weapons in the back of a shack that you can discover – that’s just ripe for creative insanity, so it took a few years to process what that could be.
“I think that the story that I have now is what I would want to see as a fan of the first film, I think. I know I would want to see it – I assume other people would. It’s good man!”
The story that Blomkamp has in mind for District 10 may be good, but it may also be many years before we actually get to see it – if it ever gets made at all. Still, if George Miller can make another Mad Max sequel thirty years after the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome then it’s far too early to start writing of the possibility of District 10.