A RoboCop prequel focusing on the life of a young Dick Jones is in the works at MGM, according to MovieHole. In a recent interview, original screenwriter Ed Neumeier had a special message for all the kids watching at home, and it wasn’t “stay out of trouble.” RoboCop is coming to TV.
“I’m working at MGM on it,” Neumeier told MovieHole. “With any luck, if MGM is willing, if we can find the partners, if we can get this pilot made, if we can convince a bunch of people.” The spinoff TV show will feature the president of Omni Consumer Products, the ED-209 law enforcement robot’s biggest cheerleader, but it will have one thing missing. “It has all the cool stuff about RoboCop except no RoboCop,” Neumeier said. “It’s going to be 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.”
The greedy corporate head was played by actor Ronny Cox in the 1987 film, which, spoiler alert, ends with him getting tossed out of a skyscraper window. Neumeier says the writers have “come up with a whole backstory I never did.” In the film, the Omni Consumer Products Senior Vice President is actually “an actualized corporate predator,” he says. “But nobody necessarily starts out being the bad guy.”
Like the original superhuman cyborg police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller), RoboCop’s return is a team effort. “I’m working with these two writers, Dave Parkin and Rob Gibbs, who brought this idea to a TV producer friend of mine, who then brought it to me,” Neumeier says. “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. It’s such an interesting character.”
“In truth Dick Jones was based on an alcoholic landlord or real estate agent I had when I was writing RoboCop,” Neumeier says of the character’s origin. “He seemed very old to me but he was probably younger than I am now. He always wore a grey suit and he was always really drunk, walking-around drunk. He had this weird name, Dick Jones, which just seemed very old fashioned.”
The TV prequel series will also satirize contemporary society. “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,” Neumeier says. “It’s a wonderful rich tapestry.”
Directed by Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop spawned sequels, comics, video games and animated series. José Padilha directed the 2014 RoboCop remake. Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) was slated to direct RoboCop Returns, partly based on a 1988 script written by Neumeier and the original film’s co-writer Michael Miner, but it fizzled in development. There is no RoboCop prequel series release date or casting news yet.