Robocop has quite the expanded universe. But there is one thing yet to be tapped into in their cinematic universes.
This year, after twenty seven years since the original ‘Robocop’ gets the big budget reboot treatment. Opinion has varied dramatically on the quality of the film but general consensus is its very much a distilled version of a classic that doesn’t quite get why the original is so beloved. Regardless of how this new film is, there is one story I have always wanted to see be told on the big screen; ‘Robocop VS Terminator’. Now usually I scoff at franchise combining movies. I scoffed at Batman VS Superman, I scoffed at Freddy VS Jason and I scoffed at Aliens VS Predator. However, for me the idea of Robocop and Terminator in the same film makes sense.
Originally, ‘Robocop VS Terminator’ was four issue comic book written by Frank Miller which was then adapted into several video games. The plot, was as follow;
The comic book series begins with Skynet sending three Terminators back in time to Detroit to protect a turmoiled RoboCop from a lone human soldier also sent back to destroy him.
Discovering that the technology used to build him is partly responsible for the future development of Skynet, RoboCop sets out to take down Skynet in the post-apocalyptic future single-handedly. Part of the story focuses on his mind, the only part left of him, hiding and moving throughout Skynet’s systems, fighting back as best he can.
RoboCop’s human consciousness (Alex Murphy) waits for decades in hiding deep within Skynet’s “consciousness”, avoiding detection as the slaughter of humanity takes place. He waits for the opportunity when Skynet’s attention will be focused on other matters with the war against the humans for him to make a move. A human assault allows Murphy to create a Terminator body that resembles his old form. He makes his escape and is nearly destroyed by human resistance fighters. He identifies himself as an ally and after gaining their confidence begins to plot to destroy Skynet with them.
As the planning continues, the humans devise a final assault on the central location where Skynet is being housed. They realize that they do not have the manpower to complete their assault. One of the humans asks RoboCop how he was able to build his body. Upon explaining how he accomplished this, the human asks him why he couldn’t do the same thing many times over. The group begins their assault on the Skynet compound and it is evident that they will not succeed when a buzzing is heard from behind them. The original RoboCop has succeeded in not only replicating, but improving himself. A swarm of flying RoboCops descend upon the battle and turn the tide. While the battle rages on outside the facility, the original RoboCop sneaks into the facility and shuts down Skynet. He then surrounds himself in blob of the human flesh that covers the Terminators in order to travel back to the past before the appearance of the original Terminators.
Upon the appearance of the strange blob in the present, the people are confused and then terrified as the metal RoboCop tears forth from the mass of flesh and immediately blasts off into space. He finds the earliest iteration of Skynet, which in this story is a spy satellite, and destroys it. Upon the explosion of the satellite, he immediately disappears as the caption explains that this version of RoboCop would never have existed without Skynet.
The story ends with the RoboCop of modern times feeling a sense of peace without any inner turmoil from the beginning of the story, returning to the police headquarters for much-needed rest.
I like this comic however, it falls short of the potential of combining these two franchises together and gets a little “hokey” with human flesh blobs and countless Robocop’s flying in to save the day, although this was made interesting by Youtube creator AMDSFILMS in their Robocop VS Terminator fan edits.
So why is ‘Robocop VS Terminator’ ripe for a cinematic outing? I will tell you.
OCP is easily a legitimate possible precursor to Skynet.
OCP have demonstrated their interested in technology advances time and time again. It’s perfectly viable that after the success of Robocop but collapse of the Delta City plan, they decide to re-brand and become Skynet. Perhaps Skynet is already a department of OCP who collaborated in the creation of Robocop or even they are privatized by the military, controlled and consumed just as they did to the police of Detroit. It’s a story conceit that easily fits without having to try and shoehorn two franchise histories together.
Robocop as an early Terminator design
Little is known about the internals of [classic] Robocop. How does his face look under that skin? It could easily be an exoskeleton and such a revelation could be dark and shocking for Murphy. It ties into the idea of humanity and what it means to be human. A similar idea was present in early drafts for ‘Robocop 2’ when he is disassembled. We were to see that underneath his skin was a metal surface. If Robocop is an early precursor to the same technology then this very easily puts him at odds with the future resistance and could even lead to him being protected by Skynet.
Even without retelling the origins or Robocop, we could have a number of films which chart the course of Skynet’s birth and Robocop’s attempts to figure out and stop the war that he himself is part of. It could build on the foundations of the early films in the respective franchise and play on the fact that there is already a built in audience for both.
Robocop vs Terminator could be nightmarish, satirical and violent if done correctly. In a world of reboots of lesser quality. Why couldn’t we put these two iconic characters together?