Robocop Returns has lost its director, as helmer Neill Blomkamp confirms he is no longer attached to the sequel. On his official Twitter account, Blomkamp says he is "off" the project, citing a scheduling conflict with what he's currently working on. "Off RoboCop. I am shooting [a] new horror/thriller and MGM can't wait," Blomkamp explains in a tweet. The filmmaker adds that he's still excited to watch the new RoboCop movie "in theaters with other fans." While a new director has yet to be named, it appears the sequel is on the fast track to production, and it's likely someone else will soon be signed on.

Last year, many fans of the original movie from director Paul Verhoeven were ecstatic to learn a modern sequel was in development. Dubbed RoboCop Returns, the movie only acknowledges the 1987 original, ignoring both sequels along with the previous reboot. Blomkamp was later attached to direct the project, with Justin Rhodes rewriting the original screenplay by Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner. For over a year, Neill Blomkamp has been giving fans updates on the project's production, confirming earlier this summer his plan was to use the original RoboCop suit rather than an updated version. It was also reported how Blomkamp's goal was to match Verhoeven's tone as much as possible, as if the original director was doing the movie himself. For fans of the original, hopefully the new director will share this same vision.

Blomkamp is perhaps best known as the writer and director of the sci-fi movie District 9, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, the director helmed the sci-fi flicks Elysium and Chappie. Blomkamp also came very close to rebooting the Alien franchise when he developed an Aliens sequel for Fox, only for the project to wind up dying in development hell. As his idea was to once again bring back Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, many Alien fans were disappointed to see it canceled, even starting a petition to save the axed movie. Unfortunately, it appears their efforts were futile.

RoboCop Returns won't be the first attempt at reviving the classic franchise. In 2014, Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Gary Oldman starred in a remake of the original movie directed by Jose Padilha. While highly profitable, the movie was not quite as well-received as the 1987 classic, and the decision was ultimately made to revive the original series rather than develop a sequel to the reboot. One of the more controversial aspects of the movie was to go easy on the violence with a PG-13 rating, making fans of the original happy to know RoboCop Returns will reportedly pursue a hard R-rating.

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As of now, there's no official release date set for the theatrical premiere of RoboCop Returns. If the movie is now on the fast track to production, then we'll likely see it sometime in 2020. New updates on the project should be forthcoming and a new director is likely to be announced soon. News of Blomkamp's exit from the project comes to us from Neill Blomkamp on Twitter.

Jeremy Dick at Movieweb
Jeremy Dick