What does a RoboCop prequel look like without RoboCop in it? A similar question was posed when AMC’s Better Call Saul was first announced, and similar to how that show tracks Jimmy McGill’s transformation into scummy lawyer Saul Goodman, MGM’s new RoboCop prequel show aims to track the evolution of a younger Richard Jones into Dick Jones, the slimy corporate predator played by Ronny Cox in Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic. Get the details about the new series below.
Ed Neumeier, one of the original RoboCop‘s writers, spoke with Moviehole recently and revealed that a RoboCop adjacent series is in the works about the rise of Dick Jones and Omni Consumer Products, the shady company which served as the center of power in Detroit in the original movie. “It has all the cool stuff about RoboCop except no RoboCop,” Neumeier said. “I’m working with these two writers, Dave Parkin and Rob Gibbs, who bought this idea to a TV producer friend of mine, who then brought it to me. The first time I heard it I knew it was a cool idea because I could see a lot of things you could do with it. It’s such an interesting character.”
Neumeier explains that following a younger Dick Jones is interesting because “nobody necessarily starts out being the bad guy,” and he says that if he and the other writers are able to convince enough people at MGM to move forward with the idea, the show will “be about the evolution of Richard Jones to Dick Jones, the story of OCP and how the world moves into the future, how the corporate world behaves.”
Ronny Cox, one of the great character actors of the 1980s and ’90s, portrayed Dick Jones, the senior vice president of Omni Consumer Products. In the movie, he developed the ED-209 project: a walking, animal-like robotic tank that he hoped would replace police officers entirely and become the future of law enforcement in the city. When ED-209 brutally murders a man during Jones’ own boardroom presentation bragging about the machine’s efficacy, he cruelly brushes it off as a glitch.
The question here is: will modern audiences care enough about Dick Jones to invest in a story about his origins? Will a ruthless tale of corporate greed resonate in the same way in 2020 as it did in 1987? And who could possibly fill Ronny Cox’s shoes? Stay tuned to find out.