Have you spent the last decade hoping for a District 9 sequel? Well then prepare to get excited, sci-fi fans. Neill Blomkamp, the writer and director of the first movie, has announced that he’s writing the sequel. He’s working on the script with Terri Tatchell, who co-wrote the first movie, and Sharlto Copley, who starred in the first film. This could not be better news. He updated fans via Twitter.
So far we know that the District 9 sequel is being written, who’s writing it, and that the work-in-progress title is District 10. From a single tweet, that’s actually a lot of exciting news.
Is there another movie like District 9? Not really. This story was gritty and gory and held nothing back. Describing the film in words seems to do it an injustice. It is a sci-fi thriller with aliens. Instead of asking “What will the aliens do to us?” it asked, “What will we do to the aliens?” The story took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Neill Blomkamp was born there. Some of the other films he’s made since, like Chappie, also took place in Johannesburg. This is of note, since District 9 uses aliens and sci-fi tropes to tackle racism, xenophobia, and a lot of other uncomfortable themes. The first movie didn’t sugarcoat anything. It makes sense that the writers would spend over a decade preparing themselves to make the District 9 sequel.
The first movie was made on a budget of $30 million and earned $210 million worldwide at the box office. Peter Jackson, the force behind Lord of the Rings, was a producer. That name wasn’t enough to account for the huge box office success of District 9. It was a surprising breakout hit, not only landing well at the box office but with critics and the academy. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture.
While the financial success of District 9 was incredibly impressive, it was a blip when compared to the shock of the Oscar nominations. Not a lot of sci-fi movies get nominated, so that’s one thing. But it also isn’t a stretch to say that this indie film was aggressive for the Oscars. The success of District 9 wasn’t something people were likely to ignore though, and that’s been a huge force in keeping the idea of a District 9 sequel alive during all this time.
If there was support for the project, why did we have to wait so long for a District 9 sequel? Artistic integrity.
Six years ago, Neill Blomkamp released Chappie. Instead of aliens, this movie followed a robot, Chappie. The robot gains sentience, which is terrifying in many stories, but adorable here. There are a lot of parallels between the robot and a child, growing from toddler to teen, but it isn’t a stretch to look at the robot and compare him to an adorable dog, either. Like District 9, Chappie took place in Johannesburg but doesn’t have the political leanings. It’s sillier and more hopeful. You can watch it and recognize this is a Blomkamp movie while still appreciating that it has a completely different tone. The director said in interviews that he needed that break before he could work on the District 9 sequel, though he was always kicking around ideas for what he would do when he got there.
It appears that now Neill Blomkamp and team are in the right space. Hopefully, he’ll be late-night tweeting more news on the District 9 sequel for us soon.