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District 10 - Will It Ever Happen?

One of the best science fiction films of the 2000s, Neill Blomkamp's "District 9" was a breath of fresh air for the genre, mixing the story of an alien invasion with social commentary that touches on issues of racism, class inequality, and xenophobia. A clear allegory for apartheid in South Africa, the film presents an alternate history where a ship full of alien refugees lands in Johannesburg in 1982. 

Eventually, the aliens — known as Prawns due to their crustacean-like appearance — are segregated into camps. They become an impoverished underclass while their technology is usurped by government forces. But when a field agent for the agency who oversees the aliens named Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is infected with a mysterious virus, he begins mutating into a Prawn himself. He seeks refuge in District 9, where he must join forces with a Prawn named Christopher (Jason Cope) to discover the truth behind the virus.

Met with critical acclaim, "District 9" has become a sci-fi classic. Praised for its hard-hitting exploration of serious issues, the film has also been the subject of sequel rumors for years. But while there was talk of a second movie even when it was still in theaters, more than a decade later, such a follow-up has yet to see the light of day. As fans continue to wait, they go looking for answers to the critical question: Will a sequel to "District 9" ever happen?

Why hasn't there been a District 9 sequel yet?

When "District 9" came to theaters in 2009, Peter Jackson's presence as a producer helped bring it some serious attention. But it was the strength of the film — its powerful story, stirring emotional drama, and sci-fi parable — that made it a huge hit at the box office. On a modest budget of $30 million, the film managed to collect a mouth-watering $212 million at the ticket counter, making it an incredibly profitable endeavor. You'd think, then, that a sequel would have arrived in short order.

While that didn't happen, this success did propel filmmaker Neill Blomkamp into the stratosphere. He was pulled in every conceivable direction over the next several years, as he found himself with enough clout to warrant massive, big-budget projects and get his pick of any movie he wanted. First, he helmed "Elysium," a Matt Damon sci-fi adventure about class inequality. Then he moved on to the dystopian "Chappie," with Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman. He also spent years developing a film for the "Alien" franchise that has sadly never seen the light of day.

Unfortunately, neither "Elysium" nor "Chappie" were smash hits, and Blomkamp's stardom began to fade. It didn't help matters either when he directed the horror film "Demonic," widely considered to be one of the worst movies of 2021. Moreover, scheduling a follow-up with Jackson has also proven tricky. Sony might have wanted to schedule a quick sequel, but that simply didn't come to pass. However, after his racing flick "Gran Turismo" impressed critics, it's possible Blomkamp could get enough momentum to bring "District 10" to the finish line.

What has Sharlto Copley said about a District 9 sequel?

Neill Blomkamp wasn't the only person who became a sought-after name following the success of "District 9." South African actor Sharlto Copley was also able to parlay his role in the film into a successful Hollywood career, subsequently starring in big movies like "The A-Team," "Maleficent," and the critically acclaimed Netflix series "Russian Doll." Over the years, he's had a lot to say about his hopes for a sequel to "District 9." 

"I think [a sequel will] happen," the actor told Yahoo! Movies UK in 2013. "The second time round you hope that they'll be ready, and there'll be toys, and there'll be stuff to really get out there and make the most of that project, which I think is really close to both of our hearts. There's huge potential in [a sequel]." Copley's enthusiasm hasn't waned; nearly a decade later, in 2022, he revealed that a script was in the works. 

Even while promoting another project, Copley still hypes up the possibility that he'll return to the role of Wikus van de Merwe. When asked by ComicBook.com if he and Blomkamp still discuss making the sequel, the actor responded, "We do. I mean, we came so close to doing it. So hopefully, after his next movie, maybe we'll do it then."

What has Neill Blomkamp said about a District 9 sequel?

If anyone has been more outspoken about their desire for a sequel than Sharlto Copley, it's writer and director Neill Blomkamp. While he's been sidetracked with other projects, he's always circled back to "District 9." Rumors of a sequel were swirling even before "District 9" was released, especially after he told an audience at San Diego Comic-Con (per Sci-Fi Wire), "It's a universe and a place that I find incredibly creative. I'd love to go back to that universe."

After the movie dropped, he repeated his desire for more, telling SciFiMoviePage.com (via The Guardian), "Now that it's done well, I think it would be cool. The studio have definitely said they want one, it's just a question of what the hell it is." A few years later, though, he talked about his frustrations. "The amount of ideas and the amount of different places I want to go through the duration of making one film, means that I have no idea what else I want to do during that process. I only know at the end. So if I say I want to make 'District 10,' and then I have 50 ideas while I'm making 'Chappie,' and when I get to the end I don't want to make it, it's not a good place to be at. But I know I want to make 'District 10' at some point."

That desire never abated, and he's talked about it repeatedly in the years since. In 2021, he revealed that he was knee-deep in writing the script. But then in 2023, he expressed a bit of hesitation, telling The Hollywood Reporter, " I don't know if it's getting made or not. I don't know if I even want to make that right now, but at some point down the line, it'll probably get made."

What would be explored in a District 9 sequel?

Early on, director Neill Blomkamp was vague about the story we'd see in a sequel — but he did suggest it might actually be a prequel. "Wikus is so funny to me," he told the Los Angeles Times. "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 by that. I'm not so interested in aliens coming back and blowing things up, but a prequel might be interesting."

Blomkamp backtracked years later, though, and in 2017, he said he did indeed want to follow Wikus past the events of "District 9." In a Reddit AMA, he was rather frank, saying, "I want to go back to that world and tell rest of the story with Wikus and Christopher." But he also wanted to make sure there was a really good reason to make it. "The first film was based so explicitly on real themes and topics from South Africa that effected me greatly growing up there," the director remarked, "that we need to make sure the next film does not forget that."

In an interview with IGN, Blomkamp revealed the first clue as to what we might see, and it seems it will be inspired by real-world events. "There was a topic in American history that the second I realized that that fit into the world of 'District 9,' it felt like an awesome way to do a sequel," Blomkamp noted. Fans have been speculating ever since.

Who would star in a District 9 sequel?

If a "District 9" sequel is ever going to be made, and if it continues the story of Wikus and Christopher, it'll need to see the return of Sharlto Copley. Luckily, the actor is also involved with writing the script, so it's a sure bet he'll be back to reprise his role. Moreover, considering how often actor Jason Cope collaborates with Blomkamp — he's appeared in "Chappie" and several of the director's short films — it's very likely he'll also be back to portray alien refugee Christopher.

Beyond those two actors, however, there's not really much we know about who might return for a "District 9" sequel. It's worth noting, though, that Nathalie Boltt, who played sociologist Sarah Livingstone, has also reunited with Blomkamp for another film, 2021's "Demonic," and could be a candidate to return. But in all likelihood, given the many years that have elapsed since the first movie hit theaters, the story could be so far removed from what we saw in "District 9" that Copley and Cope may be the only returning cast members.

What about newcomers? Blomkamp has shown a penchant for casting actors he likes, so it's also possible we could see Carly Pope from "Demonic" or even Sigourney Weaver from "Chappie," whom he was due to pair with on his unmade "Alien 5."

Fans have been begging for a sequel to District 9 for years

A more thoughtful and emotional sci-fi story than some may have been ready for in a summer full of movies like "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," Neill Blomkamp's "District 9" grew a diehard fan following. One of their biggest wishes was for the cast and crew to come back together for a sequel. Over on Reddit, it's been a topic of conversation for years. In 2022, a user going by -kageka- wrote, "I hope he freaking does come through and makes the movie. Should it be called 'District 10?' I don't know. I need the sequel!" Other users noted recent reports of Blomkamp's work on the screenplay for the sequel. "Whatever it is," -kageka- mused, "I'm super excited and really hope it's done right."

Others began debating whether a second movie should follow the same characters or introduce an entirely new story set in the same universe. "Audiences are waiting to see what happens to [Wikus], and if the prawns return like they promised," said Crater_Raider. "It's a bit open ended." To some, it doesn't matter. As one user summed it all up, "Either way I would love to get another peek inside that world."

Do sequels to District 9 already exist?

When Neill Blomkamp set out to make "District 9," he wanted to explore themes of racism and class inequality, examining South African apartheid through the lens of science fiction. But while fans have been waiting ages for a sequel, what they may not realize is that, in some ways, they're already received two. Both of Blomkamp's next two films — "Elysium" and "Chappie" — do more than just explore similar themes. They may also take place in the same fictional universe, making them quasi-sequels.

These three films are all connected by Tetravaal, the corporation that is the focus of "Chappie." Astute fans have pointed out that while it doesn't play a major role in "District 9," it does appear as a bio-security company in the film — the facility that Wikus and Christopher break into where they discover horrific experiments being performed on alien refugees. 

While some fans can't get their heads around how actor Sharlto Copley could play three different characters in these films, others have put forth ideas on how all three stories are ordered in the timeline. One fan theory that's done the rounds suggests that the events of "Chappie" follow "District 9," while the devastated Earth seen in "Elysium" is the result of a war with the Prawns, who returned to exact revenge on humanity.

Why now is the perfect time for a sequel to District 9

There are many reasons why "District 10" has taken so long to come together, but one often overlooked element was mentioned by Sharlto Copley in a 2022 interview with BroBible. Asked about whether he and Neill Blomkamp were working on a sequel, he suggested that real world events may have been a factor in the delay. "There were some things going on sociopolitically that he felt may be timing-wise he didn't want to go immediately." Yet, with the film now ready to go, it seems that the timing is right.

Likewise, the political climate has changed a great deal since 2009, with Occupy Wall Street in the early 2010s highlighting economic struggle, Black Lives Matter rising to prominence in 2020, and other social justice causes gaining widespread media attention. Whether it's LGBTQ+ rights under assault or the #MeToo movement entering mainstream discussion around the world, audiences may finally be ready to really listen to what a new "District 9" film has to say.