Will they call it 9 1/2?

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Shane Acker, writer-director of the much-anticipated animated feature 9, already has sequel ideas rattling around in his head.

Set for release on Sept. 9 and based on Acker's Oscar-nominated short of the same name, 9 is a computer-animated feature that unfolds in a post-apocalyptic landscape where mankind has been completely wiped out. One scientist's creations, magical little creatures seemingly made from burlap and machine parts, are still alive and find themselves negotiating a world whose scale is 10 times their own. Elijah Wood voices the title character, while other characters are voiced by Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Christopher Plummer and others.

Acker's sequel idea—major spoilers ahead!—"would have to do with the last images you see in the movie, where there's the suggestion that the life may be coming back to the planet, that maybe the planet has renewed itself," the filmmaker said earlier this month during an exclusive telephone interview. "So the question now is, how will these mechanical creatures that represents humanity in some way deal with the natural environment when it comes back? How will they become shepherds for the new world? Will they try to shape it, or will they just let it go unfettered? And when they start to become threatened by the natural world, what kinds of decisions will they make?"

Acker added, "So we have some really interesting possibilities with that. And how will they begin to replicate themselves and create a new society of creatures like themselves? And all along they'll struggle with the questions of being mechanical creatures. Will they embrace that? Or do they try to hang on to the humanity that's within them and not modify themselves and not become more machine-like? So those are some of the ideas that we're playing with, and we have a pretty interesting plot to hang all of that on."