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The Biggest Questions A District 9 Sequel Can Answer

With news of District 10 being in development, District 9‘s lingering questions might finally be answered. District 9, released way back in 2009, was an instant hit with audiences, earning $210.8 million at the box office, high marks from viewers (via Rotten Tomatoes), and four Academy Awards nominations. District 9 dealt with alien refugees stranded on Earth due to a malfunctioning spaceship, and the chaos with South Africans, their hosts, that ultimately ensued. The aliens, prawns, as they were called, were marginalized, neglected, and treated inhumanely throughout the movie. Humans did not know them intimately, nor did they know the humans that segregated them. The humans never even asked what their race or species was called, causing the derogatory term ‘prawn’ to stick. The exploration of these challenging topics is part of what makes District 9 one of the best sci-fi movies of the last 20 years.

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There was little understanding between prawns, who were stuck on Earth, and the humans who believed they were both more intelligent and more powerful than the prawns. The prawns were also relegated to one settlement, District 9, only to then be moved further away from humans to District 10. It became apparent throughout the movie that the humans were quite interested in prawns’ weaponry, which was much more advanced than Earth’s, and would only discharge in the hands of a prawn, rendering them useless to humans. The South African military and MNU (Multi-National United) devoted much time and energy to learning about the prawns via both physical experiments and weapons research.

Related: District 9 Sequel Gets Optimistic Update From Star Sharlto Copley

When the movie’s main character, MNU agent Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), was sprayed with a liquid fuel that would help the prawns escape earth, he became quite ill, kicking off his own transformation into a prawn. During that time, he was neither accepted by the prawns nor the humans, causing him to hide out in the prawns’ ramshackle settlement. There, he befriended Christopher Johnson, the prawn who synthesized the fuel to leave Earth. District 9 ends without any real answers, though, as Christopher sets off in his repaired ship back to his planet, leaving the rest of the prawns still stranded on Earth. And with Wikus no longer recognizable as a human being, did the prawns eventually accept him within their community?


What Is The True Value Of The Prawns?

District 9 makes a very clear distinction between human and nonhuman, and sets that up as a key point of conflict, however, the main organization driving the conflict is the MNU, which is doing genetic experiments as a way to manipulate the aliens’ technology. When Wikus van de Merwe, during his transformation into the alien species, was used to discharge weapons, the humans viewed him as “balanced”, i.e., the ultimate manifestation of what MNU was looking for, a human by definition, but with characteristics (an alien hand) that could control the advanced weaponry. The line of valuation between each species was then blurred, leaving the question of which species ultimately had more value.

Would Christopher Johnson Return For His People, And What Would Transpire If He Did?

Christopher proved during District 9 that he was intelligent, persistent, and clever. He spent twenty years quietly collecting and synthesizing the materials he needed to run the broken spaceship that lay beneath his shack. He proved he was capable of misleading, just like humans, when he told Wikus he could heal him, but withheld that it would take three years for him to do so. There is certainly a question of whether Christopher could be trusted when he said he will return to Earth for the rest of his people. And after having witnessed the MNU’s experiments on his species, it would be reasonable to expect he would touch down with weapons and an army at the ready. Either to violently liberate his people or wage war against the planet.

Were Prawns A Pure Species Or Were They All Derived From Other Beings?

It’s a bit difficult to distinguish whether the prawns were born prawns or transformed into prawns based on Wikus’ difficult transformation. It is also clear that the prawns, during their time on Earth, did not appear to have the desire to cause this transformation in humans. In fact, prawns spent most of their time avoiding humans, keeping mainly to themselves. It was also clear the prawns did not appear to wish to propagate the planet with their kind. They were stuck on Earth and wanted to leave. There were scenes of baby prawns developing as well, so it is clear they reproduced, leaving no need to increase their numbers by transforming other species.

Related: District 9’s Sequel Still Needs To Avoid Neill Blomkamp’s Movie Curse

Did MNU Succeed In Its Research?

Based on the number of prawns being studied and the interest in the prawns’ weaponry, viewers would wonder if the MNU was successful in any of its research, especially after witnessing Wikus’ transformation. This transformation may have given the MNU more ideas if only to unlock the potential of the weaponry. If it could be done with Wikus, then nothing could stop them from experimenting on another unsuspecting human. It would be important to know just how much MNU achieved in this pursuit because succeeding could have heralded the end of the prawn species on Earth. There is also the possibility of arms deals all over the world if the MNU were able to unlock the secrets of the prawns’ weaponry. South Africa may have been able to replicate and sell the weapons they were able to obtain and test.

Were The Humans Successful In Moving The Prawns To District 10?

After witnessing Wikus’ transformation and with the anticipation that Christopher would return for his people, it remains to be seen whether the migration of prawns from District 9 to District 10 was successful. Knowing that Christopher’s return to rescue them was imminent may have re-energized the prawns into rebellion. Also, knowing now they are both faster and more advanced than humans and possess a distinct advantage through their weaponry, may have caused an uprising that would finally shift the balance of power in the prawns’ favor. As was demonstrated throughout the movie, humans were truly no match for the prawns, and if they came together to fight back, they would most certainly defeat them.

What Became Of Wikus?

At the end of District 9, Wikus seemed to have adjusted to his life as a prawn, but still attempted to maintain his human ties. As his body and mind became more prawn-like, the question remains whether he would continue to care about humans, and, more importantly perhaps, whether he would continue to care about being human. Wikus would still have to wait three long years, and that’s if Christopher returned as promised, to begin the transformation back to a human. And that is if Christopher was telling the truth about his ability to turn him back. The question also remains whether something along the way might cause him to stop wanting to be human, or if by the march of time, Wikus would assimilate to life as a prawn and remain that way forever. What then would Wikus’ role be among the prawns, and would he be accepted or rejected due to his human origins? As a human previously, Wikus could share humans’ plans and motivations with the prawns in District 10, were they willing to mobilize for battle. Blomkamp has a chance to improve District 9‘s story with District 10 by tying up loose ends and answering the many questions left from the original.

Next: District 10: Why Blomkamp’s Plan Is Better Than A Direct District 9 Sequel


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