The RoboCop franchise could return to duty on the small screen, though RoboCop himself may not be assigned to beat.
First revealed by the original film’s screenwriter Ed Neumeier in an interview with Moviehole.net, the project is in the pipeline at MGM and will not feature RoboCop (seriously).
The series will follow Dick Jones, the crooked executive from the first film played by Ronny Cox, during the early days of Omni Consumer Products and the company’s rise to power in Detroit.
Fans will probably ask where Alex Murphy or the cyberpunk-law-enforcement aspect of the franchise fits into the show, and the short answer is, they don’t.
“I’m working at MGM on it,” said Neumeier. “It has all the cool stuff about RoboCop except no RoboCop.”
However, despite this major omission, Neumeir noted that “the first time I heard it I knew it was a cool idea because I could see a lot of things you could do with it” and found that “It’s such an interesting character,” though the interview does not make clear whether is he talking about Murphy or Jones.
Neumeir explained that Murphy’s story is beside the point in his new series and discussed how the story would focus on the story of business, tech, law, and Silicon Valley run amok.
“There’s the idea of doing things about business and law enforcement in the city of Detroit a minute-and-a-half in the future, it would be a way to do all sorts of stories about business and tech, Silicon Valley, corporations, snakes in suits, cops, all that,” he revealed.
This sounds suspiciously like the Year One Gotham PD drama Matt Reeves is developing for HBO Max – itself basically a darker version of Fox’s Gotham series – which might be the inspiration for Neumeier and MGM, who haven’t carried things beyond the conversation phase.
“So we’ve been talking about it and I think we have an interesting story,” Neumeier mused.
Neumeir summarized the story as being “about the evolution of Richard Jones to Dick Jones, the story of OCP and how the world moves into the future, how the corporate world behaves.”
“It’s fun to work with a younger version of the Dick Jones we meet in RoboCop,” mused Neumeier. “He’s an actualized corporate predator but nobody necessarily starts out being the bad guy.”
Neumeier’s optimism aside, fans across social media gave mixed reacionts to the proposed series, with most fans failing to see the point of RoboCop-related media without RoboCop.
Some questioned whether the series should be made, given the ongoing social unrest currently taking place within the United States.
Twitter user @52movies sarcastically asked if the series would be “live shots of mostly peaceful protests from 2020″, a reference to the tendency of mainstream media outlets to describe the recent wave of riots as ‘peaceful protests”:
Another user, @ArgusLtd00, stated that “90% of the point of Robocop is to watch the big, shiny law-borg kick ass” and conversely asked if “NOW” is “the best time for a Robocop ANYTHING?”:
Others took issue with the series’ lack of RoboCop, as @MURATMICHIOGLU observed that “This “RoboCop prequel with no RoboCop” sounds like a worse idea than “developing” a series about the Kents BEFORE that alien baby landed on their property”:
“Instead of RoboCop we get NormalCop?” asked @KapitalistKhan, before noting that the idea would be “Kinda boring.”:
However, the series concept was not without its share of defenders.
@MichaelPayneV pointed out that “It’s a prequel, and it’s about how the world ended In the chaos we start the movie in.”:
“If you’ve… seen RoboCop….. then it should be pretty clear a prequel *wouldn’t* have RoboCop in it, right?” asked user @Sonic9jct:
“No offence to Peter Weller or the folks freaking out about the proposed Robo-less RoboCop prequel show,” said BBC film critic Marshall Julius. “but the coolest things about Verhoeven’s brutal satire were the tone and the bad guys.”:
RoboCop began with a trilogy of films over 30-plus years ago and has since received numerous spinoffs in the form of cartoons, comic books, video games, and both a TV maxi- and mini-series.
The film also received a remake in 2014, which starred Joel Kinnaman, that suffered too chilly of a reception to warrant further action on the franchise.
A direct sequel to the 1987 movie, based on an old script of Neumeier’s, RoboCop Returns, was announced in 2018 with Peter Weller returning and Neil Blomkamp attached to direct. However, Blomkamp he has since bowed out and the project is now stuck in development purgatory.
If Neumeier and MGM’s concept evolves and moves forward, it could be the only fix of RoboCop-based material founds could see for a while. There is hope that the series can be good and that the team is just pitching it to audiences in a less-than-appealing fashion.
Instead of saying it’s a prequel without RoboCop, the production team could emphasize that the series is about the beginnings and inner works of OCP. There is definitely a story to be told within this setting, but it’s just not necessary to focus on the fact that Murphy will have nothing to do with it.
If they had taken this route, this new announcement might have gone over a bit better. You never know.
What do you think? Are you excited to watch a different aspect of the RoboCop mythos unfold? Sound off on social media or in the comments below!