Not everything has to be connected, but sometimes it’s super fun to imagine that it is. Which is why this excellent fan theory caught my eye, and now I’m pretty much sold on it: RoboCop is the predecessor to Starship Troopers. Take this journey with me. You are entranced by the mere concept, I can tell.
Obviously we’re not talking in terms of when each came out—we’re talking about fictional timelines here. Over on Reddit, user TanookiDooki had a theory to that effect, and laid the argument out concisely. Connecting on several fundamental levels, from cultural norms to political commonalities to design, it not hard to buy that these universes could be connected.
Let’s start with the with the most obvious factor that could potentially unite the two: politics. In the RoboCop universe, after a series of events precipitated by a deal with the overtaxed Detroit Police Department, the corporation Omni Consumer Products basically becomes the government of Detroit, Michigan. By RoboCop 2, the city in such debt to OCP that the Chairman of the company decides to essentially foreclose on all property in the city, in order to create a gentrified “utopia” called Delta City. He is nearly capable of enacting this plan due to the power of OCP, despite not being an elected official; in order to exercise your full rights as a citizen, you need company stock. Old political institutions are looked on as symbols of decay and corruption.
While the world of Starship Troopers has transferred this power over to military might instead of corporate oversight, the ideology behind both societies are very similar. As Tanooki puts it:
In Starship Troopers, this mentality is expressed in what seems like a society that took it to full fruition. Their government is based around CITIZENS who are all subservient to the central military authority. Citizens are required to serve if they want to gain full rights within their society which means they’ve essentially scrapped democracy as a concept.
So both societies showcase what happens if democracy fails and is usurped by a terrible, more centralized power structure. While it’s probably unlikely that OCP’s power in and of itself led to the military might of Starship Troopers, the same strain of thinking that got Detroit where it was could have very easily led to the “veterans taking control” that creates the future of Starship Troopers. Tanooki continues:
This is what I believe went down in the Robocop universe. I believe that OCP and the Urban Rehabilitators were a proto-form of the Terran Federation which ended up taking over. While it can be debated whether OCP is the precursor to Terran Fed or if the Terran gov. is a similar entity with the same idea, the reality is they likely exist in the same universe. OCP was unsuccessful in the films, the power vacuum that was left in society called for a new centralized force to maintain order and security at a time when neither were guaranteed.
There are little similarities that makes this even more likely, both in terms of cultural norms and design. In both universes, we find that locker rooms and showering facilities are co-ed for the police and military. The propaganda between both films is frightfully similar in tone and execution. (It helps that both film universes are pretty camp.) Additionally, the color palette and uniforms are stylistically in sync—Tandooki directed readers to pictures of an Urban Rehabilitator uniform alongside a Terran Federation uniform for a fun compare and contrast exercise.
What do you think? Could you make a good enough case that these stories inhabit the same universe? Is there more evidence? Is this fodder for one of the world’s greatest crossover fanfics?
Head on over to Reddit for more speculation…