MGM continues to develop "RoboCop Returns" as a direct sequel to director Paul Verhoeven's original, satirical, ultra-violent "RoboCop" (1987) feature with director Abe Forsythe ("Little Monsters") on board to rewrite a screenplay by Justin Rhodes ("Terminator: Dark Fate"), Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner:
"In the original film, Detroit is on the verge of collapse due to financial mismanagement and a high crime rate. The city signs a deal with the mega-corporation 'Omni Consumer Products' (OCP) to run Detroit's police department in exchange for letting OCP rebuild run-down sections of the city into a high-end utopia. Senior Vice President 'Dick Jones' demonstrates a new law enforcement robot, 'ED-209'.
"However, the robot malfunctions, killing an executive. 'Bob Morton', an ambitious executive, uses the opportunity to introduce his own experimental cyborg design, 'RoboCop'. The chairman, aka 'The Old Man' is dismayed at the ED-209 failure and approves Morton's plan, to Jones's anger.
"On patrol in the violent 'Metro West' precinct, officers 'Alex Murphy' and 'Anne Lewis' pursue a notorious gang after an armed robbery. Investigating their hideout, an abandoned steel mill, Murphy kills one of the gang members, but is ambushed by the leader, 'Clarence Boddicker'.
"Boddicker and his accomplices shoot Murphy repeatedly with shotguns, until Boddicker shoots him through the head. Lewis arrives too late to help. Murphy is evacuated by helicopter but dies in the trauma unit.
"OCP claims Murphy's body and converts it into 'RoboCop'. The cyborg is programmed with three 'Prime Directives': serve the public trust; protect the innocent; and uphold the law. RoboCop is assigned to Metro West, where he begins a brutally efficient campaign against crime.
"However, though Murphy's memory was wiped, RoboCop begins to remember scenes from Murphy's life, including his death. Lewis confirms to RoboCop that he is Murphy, to his shock.