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SYFY WIRE District 9

Neill Blomkamp writing 'District 10' with original co-writer Terri Tatchell and star Sharlto Copley

By Josh Weiss
District 9

We love the smell of Prawns in the morning! In a Twitter post Friday, filmmaker Neill Blomkamp once again assured fans that a sequel to his 2009 breakout feature, District 9, is still in the works. The director wrote that he's currently penning the script alongside Terri Tatchell (who co-wrote the first movie and 2015's Chappie) and original star, Sharlto Copley. "It's coming," Blomkamp promised of the follow-up, which, as of right now, is titled District 10.

Using the genre of sci-fi to create an analogy for the era of South African apartheid, District 9 unfolds in Johannesburg, where a race of crustacean-like visitors from outer space (derogatively referred to as "Prawns" by the human populace) are treated as second-class citizens. The title refers to the rundown city of shacks in which the extra-terrestrials have lived in poverty for years. Copley plays Wikus van de Merwe, a cocky government employee who starts transforming into a Prawn after he's accidentally sprayed with a mysterious alien compound.

Hoping to reverse the process, Wikus helps a Prawn named Christopher Johnson restart the defunct spaceship that looms over Johannesburg. The story ends with Christopher traveling back to the Prawn home planet and Wikus completing his metamorphosis, while humanity wonders when and if Johnson will return.

"I want to go back to that world and tell rest of the story with Wikus and Christopher," Blomkamp wrote during a Reddit AMA in 2017. "The issue right now is that I have many other projects and ideas that I also want to work on and complete...and most importantly, the exact right REASON to make District 10 needs be very clear. The first film was based so explicitly on real themes and topics from South Africa that affected me greatly growing up there, that we need to make sure the next film does not forget that."

Employing a mixture of traditional and documentary filmmaking techniques, District 9 was adapted from Blomkamp's 2006 short film, "Alive in Joburg." It brought in a little over $210 million at the global box office (against a meager budget of $30 million) and snagged four Oscar nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The movie cemented Blomkamp as one of the most visionary genre directors of the 21st century and he'd go on to make Elysium and Chappie, as well as develop ideas for new installments in the Alien and RoboCop franchises. Sadly, the latter two projects never panned out. His next onscreen efforts are a secret film he made during the COVID-19 pandemic last year and Inferno, a sci-fi mystery/thriller starring Taylor Kitsch.