With the success of District 9 – both financially and critically – South African director Neill Blomkamp earned the golden ticket to make whatever original (i.e. not Halo) sci-fi project he wanted next. That project is the ambitious and mysterious Elysium, a film set in the future where the people of a post-apocalyptic Earth desperately wish for a lifestyle upgrade via a chance to live on the luxurious space station Elysium.

The official Elysium synopsis (below) was released only a few weeks ago and prior to that we had nothing but casting news and a few set photos of the protagonist (played by Matt Damon) and his high tech exoskeleton suit. Now we have our first official look at Damon armed and ready for battle.

The first official still from Elysium comes from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly – scanned from The Playlist – and features Matt Damon in the same bloodied and tattered beige shirt and mechanical augmentations as in earlier set photos, this time wielding some firepower. Click to enlarge:

District 9 fans will immediately find the style, tech and weaponry very familiar.

For interested moviegoers, Blomkamp will finally be sharing details on the film himself at Comic-Con next week where Elysium will have its own presentation as part of the Sony Pictures panel Friday, July 13, from 4:35-6:35pm. The sci-fi heavy panel will also host presentations for Total Recall and Looper.

In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

Joining Matt Damon in cast are Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Michael Shanks, Alice Braga, Faran Tahir, Diego Luna and Wagner MouraElysium releases March 1st, 2013.

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Source: EW (via The Playlist)