1997’s R-rated science fiction satirical war film Starship Troopers directed by Paul Verhoeven based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein remains one of the better action films of the 90s and has a special place in our hearts.

In the distant future, the Earth is at war with a race of giant alien insects. Little is known about the Bugs except that they are intent on the eradication of all human life. But there was a time before the war… A Mobile Infantry travels to distant alien planets to take the war to the Bugs. They are a ruthless enemy with only one mission: Survival of their species no matter what the cost…

Photo Credit: Leslie Rosenthal

HN Entertainment’s CJ Paschall and Nicholas Whitcomb were able to speak with the franchise’s main screenwriter Ed Neumeier previously about RoboCop and it’s his direct sequel to the original 1987 film titled RoboCop Returns that has director Neill Blomkamp and Terminator screenwriter Justin Rhodes currently working on a new draft of the script.

In our interview conducted on Tuesday, we also got to speak to Ed Neumeier about the Starship Troopers franchise which he has been closely involved with since the first installment. Ed has penned scripts for Starship Troopers, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of The Federation, Starship Troopers 3: Marauders (Ed also directed), and the animated film Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars.

In the interview, Ed alludes to potential development on a Starship Troopers television series that could feature some of the original cast members.

HN: Going back to Starship Troopers, the idea of a reboot, in this day and age where studios are now kind of going for soft-reboots, basically sequels to movies 30 years later, do you think that bringing back the old cast (Casper and them) could work as a sequel, should they go that route?

”Well, I think they can. I don’t want to jinx anything, but we are talking about trying to do a television show that is based on that idea.”

We would assume that Johnny Rico’s Casper Van Dein might be a good bet to return considering how much he enjoys working with Casper. After reflecting on the importance of Peter Weller returning to the role of RoboCop in RoboCop Returns he mirrors is own experience bringing back Rico multiple times.

”I’ve written all sorts of things with Casper now as Johnny Rico and it’s a gas to write him because he gives you that character, he gives you more than you think, as soon as he shows up, the tone comes with him a little bit. I think it’s because he’s ridiculously handsome, he’s got this boyish can-do attitude, which is what Johnny Rico is, and a lot of the brand comes with him. It’s been to easy to dismiss these things in the past. Sometimes you can reboot something, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right.”

When it came to the original’s script Ed revealed that Paul Verhoeven wasn’t a fan of the bulky power suits and they altered the bugs slightly as well.

”The biggest change from the first draft to the second draft, the movie more or less is the second draft, was the elimination of the power suits. Well, the power suits stayed in for a while but…. I think that had to do with the way Paul saw it. Paul wasn’t as interested in the giant mechanical suits, he wanted to see people and soldiers that he could recognize as such, so losing power armor was a big deal if you’re a Heinlein fan.”

”And the other big change was instead of having an intelligent talking insect race which is implied in the Heinlein book we went with giant bugs ala ”Them”, which I think again was very smart on Paul’s part because it gave you something you haven’t seen before or not seen in a long time.”

The power suits were featured in the 1988 Starship Troopers Japanese anime OVA (obviously influenced Halo’s Master Chief design). They would eventually make their way into the franchise in subsequent projects.

Ed also shared his thoughts on Sony’s potential reboot that is said to be aiming for a PG-13 rating along with how WWII propaganda films influenced the structure of the first film.

”Well, I have mixed feelings about it [the reboot] because I think that what we did with the first Starship is almost not repeatable in a wayI based the structure of Starship Troopers when I was writing it, the structure of WWII propaganda films that the studios made between 1941 and 1944. We don’t really talk about those movies anymore, but that had a very particular structure and they were made during a conflict and they didn’t have an end-point as with Starship ends they’ll keep fighting.”

”I can imagine you could do a new one that was a more serious version of the book without the political commentary, but I don’t know if that interests me that much. The spectacle of the giant creatures and the ridiculous bloodshed, all that stuff, I don’t know if in this world of CG where you can do all that stuff pretty easily seeing a bunch of creatures fighting might not interesting enough right now, for me. But other people might like it.”

”I’m not sure, their idea is as I understood at a certain point was they said to kind of do An Officer and The Gentleman, Johnny Rico as the Officer and The Gentlemen version of a sci-fi movie. So, maybe you could do that a romantic picture about kids coming up together in the service and one of them becoming an officer and all of that means, you know. It’s really not what Heinlein’s about, but that’s okay I can imagine you could do that. I’m not sure who goes to see that movie though.”

We also brought up how James Cameron was seemingly inspired by the Starship Troopers novel and borrowed bits for his Colonial Marines in Aliens (bug stomper/bug hunt references are throughout the film). Ed acknowledging the potential influence while also declaring himself a fan of Cameron and credited Terminator’s success at Orion as a key factor to RoboCop getting made.

”There are references in Aliens to bug hunt and he probably did. I think he couldn’t do power armor either but he had kinda had those big guns that were gimbaled like steady cams and stuff like that. So he was very aware of that and the idea they’re going on a bug hunt and they call the aliens ”bugs” is definitely a reference, I believe to Starship Troopers. I’m not going to say absolutely Jim Cameron took that from Starship Trooper, cause he might come over and beat me up.”

”I’m a fan of Mr. Cameron, he’s okay by me…Some people have pointed out that RoboCop might not even be made at Orion if Terminator hadn’t been a success, so I owe him that already.”

The full interview will be on uploaded on our YouTube channel very soon.


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