What does it mean for humanity if a machine can somehow develop consciousness? Neill Blomkamp’s dystopian science fiction, ‘Chappie’ raises several pertinent questions on existence, consciousness and what it means to be alive. But it somehow does not manage to answer them. Blomkamp is a South African director and screenwriter, most known for his science fiction pieces which include the Academy Award nominated ‘District 9’.
‘Chappie‘ was one of his most ambitious projects, and its failure affected him personally. The film mostly received mixed to negative reviews from critics, but managed to do almost decently at the Box Office as it grossed $102 million worldwide against a $49 million budget.
Despite its critical deride, ‘Chappie’ gradually found a way to people’s homes and then their hearts. Several viewers disagreed with the criticism of the film, and believed that the movie was both thought-provoking and heart wrenching. It made them not only question, but also feel for the self-aware robot, Chappie.
The film centres around a sentient robot that was created for law-enforcement, but is captured and trained by a group of gangsters. ‘Chappie’ stars Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver. It also stars Ninja and Yolandi Visser from Die Antwoord as metafictional versions of themselves.
It is noted that Blomkamp wrote ‘Chappie‘ as a trilogy. He earlier even expressed his interest in making sequels if they were economically feasible. But it is safe to say that he changed his mind over time, especially after the film’s performance. Recently, Blomkamp clearly stated on twitter that he wasn’t planning on making a sequel. This was in response to persistent demands from certain fans. There are no future plans for a sequel as of now. But we do have a small glimmer of hope. As the film was planned with sequels in mind, we wonder what ‘Chappie 2’ would be about.
Chappie 2 Plot: What Can It Be About?
Blomkamp’s ‘Chappie’ can be easily looked at as ‘RoboCop’ meets ‘Short Circuit’ because it explores a premise centering around a machine created for law-enforcement that experiences consciousness. The robot is created by Deon (Patel) as a part of Tetravaal to help the police forces of Johannesburg. But he wants to create a machine that can feel and think. A his idea is rejected, he steals an already damaged robot to experiment with. He then gets kidnapped by a bunch of gangsters, Ninja, Yolandi and Amerika, who force him to reprogram the robot to help them steal. Upon powering up, the robot shows childlike qualities and is named “Chappie”.
Chappie is then trained by the gangsters, but maintains his innocence and is also a gifted artist. Yolandi begins to care for him as a mother, but Chappie only has days to live until his irreplaceable battery runs out. What follows next is how he saves himself and his loved ones as he faces betrayal, and Vincent (Hugh Jackman) is set out to destroy him.
The film has some heart-wrenching moments but the most emotional one of the lot is when Yolanda dies. Despite these, ‘Chappie’ surprisingly offers a heartwarming and happy ending. Chappie first transfers Deon’s consciousness to a robot as he nearly dies. He then avenges Yolanda’s death from Vincent. While burning Yolanda’s memorabilia after death, Ninja comes across a box that includes a flash drive marked “Mommy’s Consciousness Test Backup”. The ending has Chappie transferring Yolanda’s consciousness to a robot that looks like her.
With the way ‘Chappie’ ends, it leaves a lot scope and space for a sequel. If at all we get ‘Chappie 2’, we know for sure that we will have Chappie along with Deon and Yolanda as sentient robots. It would also be fascinating to explore how Chappie continues to evolve with his consciousness. Since a recurrent theme in nearly all of Blomkamp’s work is transformation, we can expect some more of that in ‘Chappie’. It would be really interesting to have Chappie teach these experiences to other machines, as he continues to evolve. Also, what will all this lead to? Is the world prepared to have sentient machines? What will be its consequences?
The second part of the film should also learn from the mistakes of the former. This means, it should provide some answers, or rather some versions of the truth to the questions it raises. What does it mean to be alive? Also, with Chappie being able to transfer consciousness of humans to robots, the sequel should pose pertinent questions on what the soul is, and of course, on the immortality of human beings if their consciousness can be transferred to a new vessel.
Chappie 2 Cast: Who Can Be In It?
Blomkamp introduced the world to Sharlto Copley’s talent. ‘Chappie’ is just an example of that. The sequel will obviously have to have Copley reprise his role as Chappie. It also most likely to happen as Blomkamp and Copley work on several collaborations together.
What’s interesting and refreshing about ‘Chappie’ is how Blomkamp makes use of the Zef counter-culture movement through it. In the book, Chappie: The Art of the Movie, Blomkamp explains that he conceived the idea for ‘Chappie’ while listening to Die Antwoord:
“All of a sudden I got this idea for this robot…being hijacked by this band that I was listening to. I don’t know where the hell that idea came from, but that was the genesis for ‘Chappie’.”
‘Chappie’ ends with Deon and Yolandi coming back to life as robots, while Vincent passes away. This means a sequel to ‘Chappie’ will definitely also have Dev Patel as Deon and Yolandi as the fictional version of herself. With Vincent gone, we mostly won’t have Hugh Jackman in the sequel. This means, new cast members will be added to play new characters, one of which will include the sequel’s primary antagonist.
Chappie 2 Crew: Who Can Be Behind It?
If at all we ever get a sequel to ‘Chappie’, it will definitely have Neill Blomkamp as the director. Not only was ‘Chappie’ his creation, he is also widely known for making unique dystopian science fiction features. As I mentioned earlier, ‘Chappie’ was created to be a trilogy, and Blomkamp had also planned on working on sequels to it. But due to how the film performed, over time, Blomkamp decided against it. This still means that we could someday get a sequel if Blomkamp has a change of heart.
Chappie 2 Release Date: When Can It Premiere?
There are no talks of a sequel to ‘Chappie’ at the moment. Blomkamp also clearly stated on twitter that he is not making a sequel. But as the film was originally created as a trilogy, we can hope for a second part to the original some day. Having said that, it would be unrealistic to expect the film in the next few years, keeping in mind both Blomkamp’s words and his upcoming projects. If at all we do get ‘Chappie 2’, it wouldn’t happen anytime before 2025, unless of course Blomkamp has a sudden change of heart sometime soon.
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