As the movie ends we realize what a great mistake we’ve made. I say “we” because Blomkamp has managed to get us all emotionally involved in the situation.
We realize what we’ve done.
We’ve herded these people into a ghetto and fed them cat food. We’ve treated them like they were the scum of the earth. We’ve tried to find a way to get rid of them, if that was at all possible. They are such an obvious burden on the economy! One gets the feeling that the next step after District 9, District10 , will be just one more step to what can only end, eventually, in genocide.
What Blomkamp has managed to achieve is an understanding that we’ve never been able to have until this movie. Every SF film dealing with aliens usually has the characters either trying to communicate as equals, or facing off as enemies.
Right up until the very last minute, we are left hanging as to what is going to happen next. When the alien and his little son finally manage to escape with the MNU in hot pursuit, we are as surprised as the Afrikaners (and the refugees in District 9) to see the giant mother ship finally come back to life (after 20 years!) and lift off into space.
And we are definitely emotionally involved.
I’ve always treasured the fact that fiction has the power to get us emotionally involved. It’s one thing to be intellectually involved. We’ve all had our share of high school and university lectures which fill our heads and leave our hearts cold! If in our history classes we’d had more stories and less “academic facts” we’d all be better off! Stories have the ability to involve our whole beings. That’s why films and books are so effective. They involve us completely. And make no mistake about it, while stories based on fact are powerful, even a completely fictional story based on truth can transform our lives!
So what is truth? Truth is eternal. It exists beyond time and space and the material universe. It is the root theme upon which all movements are variations. Love conquers all, the faith of a child, hope springs eternal, (for instance), are timeless truths that are true for all situations, all civilizations, all creatures everywhere in God’s created universe—precisely because God created the universe with these characteristics in place as virtues.
What was a virtue in Socrates day was a virtue in Moses’s day and will be a virtue in your great grandchildren’s day. It will be a virtue under the moons of Mars, as it was a virtue under the moon over Naples. A hero at Troy and a villain in Gotham City are understood immediately. Heroes are supposed to win over villains. These things are supposed to happen, Superman is supposed to vanquish Lex Luthor, and Will Smith is supposed to shoot down the slimy alien. When we watch a true story of the attack on Pearl Harbour, or the decimation of Earth’s defences by the invading aliens in The War of the Worlds, we know in our hearts who is supposed to win, because justice and injustice must be reconciled. Our hearts demand it. Why? Because the Creator has planted these truths in our hearts. We are implanted with the truth— instinctively we know the way things are supposed to be — and all of life, whether actual or fictional, is a stage rehearsal of the play pre-written on our hearts.
For instance, it’s written on every heart that history must have a happy ending. There must be a final, unequivocal victory over evil, it is our expectation. Eternal life is supposed to waiting at the end. The good guys are supposed to win over the evil, it is expected. You can’t even have a drama, a play, or a movie without giving the audience what they expect — a decent ending. Why do we expect the hero to get the beautiful princess? Why is it expected? Because the Creator created us with this desire in our hearts. (It’s called “eternity in their hearts”—more about this later.)
District 9 affects both our heads and our hearts, in a painful way. The film ends with our feelings eviscerated. We are left feeling the pain of the poor Afrikaner Wikus van der Merwe, who by the end of the film has been completely transformed into a prawn. He is left in a hopeless state. In fact, he now has only one hope of recovery: the promise of the alien prawn Christopher. He may return in three years with a cure, maybe not.
Wikus’s wife now thinks he’s dead.
Johannesburg is now stuck with millions of prawns (perhaps indefinitely)
The prawns themselves have watched their last hope of rescue disappear off into space.
And the MNU have let their key link to operating the alien technology escape.
With this many loose ends, a sequel is inevitable.
But here is where we need to flash forward. If a sequel to District 9 was to follow the normal Hollywood pattern, we’d have to expect a normal worldwide reaction to the departure, and a normal reaction by the aliens. So let’s follow the expected story line.
Obviously, Christopher’s escape means that he has a chance of making it home. If he does make it to his home planet, there will definitely be a response by the aliens. Obviously they’re going to have to mount a rescue operation. They’re going to have to come back and take their people home.
This part would be a for-sure plot line for a sequel, especially from the alien’s point of view. But what about from the Earth’s point of view? What about the Earthlings? What do you suppose will be the reaction of people around the world?
The most likely reaction will be that the world will mobilize to prepare, not for the aliens returning to mount a rescue operation, but to prepare for an alien invasion. Because if these aliens are anything like human, they will come seeking revenge.
THEY WILL COME SEEKING REVENGE
An impending alien invasion would most likely be the normal Hollywood plot line. Think of it. Twenty years of incarceration in ghettos. Treating them like bugs, like vermin. Making no attempt to communicate with them , to try to understand them. To try to understand what they would have needed to repair their ship, to fuel it for the long flight home. The Afrikaners—the whole world, in fact—would have every reason in the world to expect an invasion.
Is this not a plausible story line, the most likely plot for a sequel?
Of course, I’m not suggesting that Neill Blomkamp is your normal Hollywood director. He’s not. He seems to have a heart for the little guy. I’m suggesting that Blomkamp would most likely throw us a curve ball. I’m suggesting that although Mr. Blomkamp has not made a sequel yet maybe because he’s waiting for inspiration.
Obviously a sequel to District 9 needs more than your typical Hollywood storyline.
And of course it’s mighty presumptuous of me to suggest a possible sequel. But it’s pretty tempting. You want to know why?
Because the conflicts raised in District 9 deserve an out-of-this-world resolution.
AN OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD RESOLUTION
Here’s my suggested screenplay.
To begin, Wikus van der Merwe is quickly hunted down and captured by the MNU. He’s caught when he makes a desperate attempt to talk to his wife. (What a painful reunion! He’s been transformed into a prawn!) Caught off guard, he is rounded up by the MNU who force him to confess that Christopher has promised to return in three years.
And of course, the MNU mobilizes the world to prepare for an alien invasion.
PREPARING FOR AN ALIEN INVASION
Now flash forward three years.
Eventually the Hubble will pick up evidence of the approaching fleet. As the day of the inevitable encounter approaches, every eye will be on the sky. Fear and trembling will spread throughout the Earth. And for good reason. These “prawns” have far superior technology. Their ships and weapons are organically controlled through genetic engineering. MNU have re-dissected Wikus van de Merwe’s prawn body, but still have not been able to figure out how to control the alien weaponry. The alien weaponry is so incredibly technically advanced. Their spacecraft are so incredibly technically advanced. They have anti-gravity. Their ships are able to travel interstellar distances at close to light speed.
Obviously there is coming a showdown. And as the alien fleet goes into earth orbit, the world goes into shock. When the size of the fleet finally comes into view, the situation looks hopeless. This invasion fleet has come to annihilate the world. There can be no other explanation. After all, the aliens have a right to retaliate, after such treatment.
So District 10 would be the obvious sequel to District 9.
It is expected that the aliens invade, not only to rescue their own people, but to punish the human race for their inhumanity. The inevitable reaction begins. A fleet of ICBM’S are launched in defence against the invading armada. But at this point it is already a foregone conclusion: the earth’s antiquated weaponry will be no match for the superior alien technology. It is expected by all what the aliens will do: they will defend themselves by a spectacular display of power , disarming the earth’s defences, and then launch their attack. .
BUT HERE IS WHERE THE PLOT WILL TURN
But here is where the plot will turn. After disarming all the initial defences, the aliens will make a strange request. They will request that Christopher be allowed to meet with a representative of the United Nations… and they will request that this envoy be Wikus van der Merwe.
So instead of demanding surrender and disarmament, the aliens will send their envoy (Christopher) down to the surface, not to make accusations or demand surrender, but to address the world.
And he will start, not by demanding the surrender of earth, but by negotiating for the rescue of his people…and making the most startling speech in human history.