'District 10' Will Take Cues From American History, Director Neill Blomkamp Says

The Neill Blomkamp news blitz continues. Just yesterday, we posted the news that the District 9 director is now working on video games, developing a multiplayer shooter for the appropriately named Gunzilla, which "aims to weave in narrative elements." This summer also brought the trailer for Blomkamp's new possession thriller, Demonic (due out August 20, 2021), while separately, we got a look at more of the concept art for his scrapped Aliens sequel.

Earlier this year, we reported that Blomkamp finally had a long-awaited sequel to District 9 in the works. Now, details of the film's plot have surfaced, and it sounds like District 10 will pivot from South Africa to the United States.

IGN reports that District 10 will deal with "a topic in American history." Blomkamp doesn't elaborate on what that topic is, but given the themes of District 9, it's not hard to imagine that it might have something to do with America's fraught racial history. District 9 was set in a South Africa that very much resembled apartheid, the social policy that implemented racial segregation and discrimination against nonwhites. The difference was that it substituted nonhumans, the alien "prawn" species, for nonwhites.

Like all the best science fiction, the film managed to submerge its themes within an engaging narrative, delivering mech action and body horror but also piggybacking themes of racism and xenophobia. Sharlto Copley made his feature-film debut as Wikus, the bumbling bureaucrat whose infection and gradual transformation into a prawn would make him less human in body and more human in mind.

One thing that does sound promising is about District 10 is that the delay in it seems to stem from Blomkamp and company wanting to crack the story and make sure they get it right. "It took a decade to figure out, to come up with a reason why to make that film as opposed to just make a sequel," he said.

The Arc of Blomkamp's Career, Post-District 9

District 9 was arguably the best science fiction film of 2009, a year that also brought us the likes of Star Trek, Moon, and James Cameron's Avatar. Like Avatar, which reclaimed the throne this year as the highest-grossing motion picture of all time, Blomkamp's film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. It was his directorial debut and he co-wrote it with his wife, Terri Tatchell, who is returning to help pen the script for District 10 along with him and Copley.

Peter Jackson co-produced District 9 and, for a brief time, it seemed like he was grooming Blomkamp to be his successor of sorts in the sci-fi/fantasy blockbuster realm. Yet Blomkamp's career in the twelve years since has never quite lived up to the promise of his first feature.

First, there was Elysium, which Blomkamp later said he "f**ked up." Then there was Chappie, which received mixed-to-negative reviews. Following that, Blomkamp's filmography went dark for over half a decade. Now he's finally returning with Demonic and District 10, but it remains to be seen whether the latter will be able to recapture the magic of District 9.