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Neill Blomkamp Talks Ideas for a District 9 Sequel or Prequel

by
January 7, 2010
Source: Hero Complex

Neill Blomkamp on District 9

Geoff Boucher of the LA Times' Hero Complex has been running a fantastic interview series with District 9 writer/director Neill Blomkamp, the South African filmmaker who blew away audiences last summer with his mid-budget sci-fi alien movie. Thankfully it was successful enough to warrant a sequel, but of course the question is, do we really need a sequel? In his final interview piece, Boucher talks with Blomkamp about a sequel, a prequel, and other ideas for his future, including his next movie, which will be set in another city (but not in South Africa) 150 years from now and addresses "sociopolitical ideas that interest me." Read on!

It's evident reading this interview that Blomkamp is extremely intelligent and also just a very inspirational filmmaker. For example, in regards to his view on why he makes movies, he says: "Sony has kind of pushed for awards and, really, if I feel like people are watching the film because they are interested in the film, then it's fine. I'm fine with that. But if I feel even remotely like I'm being asked to be a salesman, I have a problem." As we all know, the big problem with Hollywood these days is that almost everyone is a hack, directing adaptations of crazy things like Battleship just for the money, not for artistic or creative benefit.

So what of a sequel to District 9? Well, before we get into that, Blomkamp does confirm that he "definitely [has] input into it. Ultimately the person with the most control is Peter [Jackson], but I for sure would have some influence over whether that happens or not." So what are his ideas for a District 9 sequel / prequel?

"The concept of aliens in Johannesburg is such an appealing idea to me and the issues of race and how they meet. All of the things that I had going on with it. I wouldn't mind messing around with it again. I'm open to it if the story works and there's a reason to do it. And [Copley's character] Wikus is so funny to me, I'm very interested in a sort of passive racist like that. If you go forward [with his story beyond "District 9"] it's more of a traditional film but if you go backward I'd be intrigued in that. I'm not so interested in aliens coming back and blowing things up but [a prequel] might be interesting."

So what it sounds like, if they make a sequel to District 9, is that it will instead be a prequel, and they won't make a sequel. As much as I'd love to see Christopher come back with a whole race of aliens to kick the shit out of MNU, it sounds like we won't ever get to see that. But my problem with a prequel is that at this point we already have the origin story and we already know everything about what happened. I hate seeing a story that connects with the original film where they then have to use some cliche method of covering up why we didn't know about this in the original. Though, I do trust Blomkamp and Jackson enough not to screw it up.

And speaking of Blomkamp's future, we know he came from potentially directing the Halo movie to District 9, but what else has he been offered since then. We've heard he's been offered pretty much everything, but he admits that he's declined almost all of the offers, and is sticking with his own original sci-fi project next.

"I've been offered films – a lot of films, in fact – with seriously high budgets, and I've turned them all down. The reason is exactly what you said earlier: Once the budgets get bigger, you can't do what you want as a director, unless you're Peter Jackson or James Cameron. And even then, the pressure is still on the filmmaker. Even if the studio isn't clamping down on you, all the pressure is on the director. And if you screw that up, the jeopardy situation is even worse. The way you don't get yourself in that jeopardy situation is by making films that aren't as risky financially. I just want to make films that have enough of a budget to pull off high-level imagery but also have a budget that is low enough that I can do what I want.

That's a fantastic response and I truly admire Blomkamp for sticking with his beliefs and declining offers so that he can continue to make films exactly the way he wants. It just goes to show that you don't really need a bigger budget to make a better movie (although I'd say we already learned that with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen anyway). I've already expressed my thoughts on a District 9 sequel before, but this time we have some actual quotes from Blomkamp that tell us where they're headed. So just like Cloverfield, District 9 will remain a great movie on its own until Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp decide to make that prequel.

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  • Nasty Nate
    Wish they would'nt, especially a prequel. But theres money to make. It's going to be interesting to see Blomkamp's future movies, the man has talent.
  • The movie is open for both a prequel and sequel. But part of the appeal of the movie is the list of open questions. But I want to know why the ship came to be there and what happens to Wicus.
  • napoleonblownapart
    I'd prefer a sequel. I don't like prequels because you know where the story ends up and there are less surprises
  • tobi,leader of the akatsuki
    i don't mind either prequel or sequel,but only if the script is as good as the first film.the way the first film was well written & a suprise hit (joint favorite film,with the watchmen of last year.)so i say "when are we going to see more of those fucking prawns,"(spoken in a south african accent.)
  • Janny
    I don't know how they would do a prequel on earth as the aliens landing and then being placed in district 9 was touched at the beginning of the movie. The only thing that comes to mind as a prequel is how the aliens ended up in such a bad condition and why they chose to earth. I wouldn't mind a sequel as it could be a nice blend of action with social issues of forgiveness or does evil beget evil and would the aliens just take over...
  • Cody
    Im down for anythng...as long as there arent 200 fucks in the movie this time. That was just way overused in D9.
  • shadow
    *SPOILERS* I want a movie that goes more in depth on Wikus becoming and dealing with being an alien. That really has never been covered and would be a more pure sci-fi experience that I would love, more world building. A war would be to predictable and cliche.
  • Voice of Reason
    Sounds like the guy has a solid head on his shoulders, if he keeps it up, I'm sure he'll create mutually enjoyable movies for himself and an audience. And, the more he stays on track, the more likely he'll find himself with $300 million of his own to make an amazing film. Looking forward to monitoring Blomkamps career!
  • Geoff Boucher
    Alex, thanks for the kind words about the interview. This is a great piece you've written. I sent a link of it to Neill I'm sure he'll like reading it as well...
  • A prequel may be cool, but I really liked how the ending let you leave the theater thinking about Wicus. Sometimes it's better to leave things alone.
  • karl
    District 9 was awesome but would be better left alone. he needs to get on with the Halo movie already. "Landfall" (Halo3 short) rocked. I would much rather see a Halo film then another District 9. hopefully David Cross will to act in the role he voiced in the game.
  • samuelj
    i like blomkamp more and more every time i hear his thoughts
  • germs
    This dude is awesome. I'll watch anything he decides to put out.
  • Roro32
    THIS GUY IS DEEEEPP!!!!!!!
  • "David Webb"
    District 9 was fantastic, but I think the story should be left open-ended. It's perfect that way.
  • Fisherr
    I agree with #15 but i think having a sequel for me will be much better.
  • Eh I don't know how I feel about this. It was a great movie but a sequel is unnecessary.
  • District 9 was such a good movie and surpassed my expectations greatly. Originally Halo was to be produced by Peter Jackson and Blomkamp was meant to direct it, but because of some funding issues it didn't fall through. So instead Peter Jackson decided to produce District 9 to give Neill a chance to direct a feature film. I am a huge Halo fan but I feel like a movie like Halo (like all movies based on video games) will be a flop. What's your opinion?
  • 'District 9' was an awesome movie though i think storyline was not as far my expectation. But i think a sequel will be perfect. Thanks for sharing.
  • Sounds like a brilliant director who is too scared of failure to achieve his full potential.
  • I am huge fan of D9 and I must admit I am disappointed that he is not into making a sequel with the aliens returning. I just fear that this racial discrimination topic, that was nicely balanced with the action in District 9, will become an obsession to him whenever he decides to make a prequel.
  • Great Post! I’ve never really thought about freelance blogging, but it definitely sounds like something to think about. You said about on neill blomkamp talks ideas for a district 9 sequel.
  • Schilling'Shaw's
    I really like District 9 and it left me with wanting more. I also believe that a prequel is the best idea because it would most like include a war but i would also include the aliens that left but promise to return so they will be a pleasant ending with the action, drama, and comedy that everybody desires.
  • I wouldn't mind a sequel as it could be a nice blend of action with social issues of forgiveness or does evil beget evil and would the aliens just take over. thanx for posting.
  • Christine
    Star Trek half counts, cause it's a COMPLETELY different story than inferred or mentioned ANYWHERE in the series. But it goes take familiar characters, make them younger, and introduce them. But it's a very special case, especially since it's not a prequel to a set, clearly delineated story. It's a prequel to a series of separate stories with the same characters.
  • Bash
    Prequel is a very bad idea. We are talking Apartheid South Africa, which believe it or not is a completely different South Africa than the one that exists now. The benefit of doing a movie in the present means you can just shoot the scenery without having to change much. District 9 was 95% township, 5% interesting alien stuff. A prequel would mean a good deal of the budget would be spent on making the people, the cars, and everything else look mid-80's. Why even the refuse was different in South Africa back then, and that would just be too much to change. Give me a sequel with the return of Christopher Johnson or give me dreck! With a franchise like District 9 you would have to be a complete and utter moron not to try and do more.
  • xander
    Why does everyone presume that it would be a war in a sequel when the prawns come back.I was thinking more of a berlin wall situation with a culture clash of humans and aliens but then it would turn political.Or maybe it could be about people who cross the wall like a pack of gurriers or traders or couriers it could turn into an alien gangster flick LOL. Just thinking of that in itself is cool.But i guess im thinking too ambitiously.
  • A sequel would be best for sure.
  • A prequel or a sequel would just be fine, with a very good director I know the movie would turn out well.
  • Be prequel or a sequel as long as its good as the original, or exceeds our likes then it'd different.
  • D9 has surpassed my expectations really well. So, prequel or sequel, it would be pleasure to still watch it.
  • Andrea Bakurva
    Its prequel or sequel this movie so great... i cant wait to watch it! only trailer i watch its good already how about the original right?
  • Emcgruff
    SEQUEL
  • ..
    This movie there's so much potential, maybe even the modern day star wars. Just imagine all the plot progression or regression that could be done. It's almost limitless.With that man as director and with his innate creative genious; something absolutley beautiful with dynamics could blossom here. I really hope he pursues more with this.I'd watch it, that's forsure.
  • This is one of the best post that I have ever read. You have provided a great piece of information. I will definitely share it with my other friends. Keep up the good work, I would to stay in contact with your posts. ptc  

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