Remakes and sequels of dystopian films of times past have become a new film art form, and a decades-long proposed sequel to the science fiction classic "Soylent Green" would be in synch with the recently revamped "Bladerunner 2049." However, Den of Geek! reports that the original "Soylent Green" starring Charlton Heston is as relevant today as when it was originally released in 1973, and that a sequel or remake would be plausibly redundant, and perhaps not that good, especially if it were to lose some of the ethos and grit of the original. According to Sci-Fi Movie Page, rumors of a sequel began to circulate in 2004 when writer David Goyer (of "Batman Begins") said the proposed next film or remake would pick up where the original left off.

The original 1973 film "Soylent Green" depicts an overpopulated, malnourished and corrupt world with euthanasia stations for the elderly, infirm, or suicidal. This sort of film, starring icon Charlton Heston, was possible in the 1970s, but may not be as acceptable for today's more optimistic (or less socially critical) audiences. The dark flavored cinematic world of the 1970s and early 1980s was a product of its time insomuch as it was hypercritical of the interplay between elitist and mainstream American life. Remakes and sequels of these films may change the ethos of the originals. Consider how the remake of the film "Arthur" (1981) significantly changed the iconoclastic flavor of the original film.

Could a revival film of 'Soylent Green' be like the sanitized revival of 'Arthur?'

The remake of the film "Arthur" might give us some sense of how an updated "Soylent Green" might play out, with Charlton Heston perhaps replaced by Zac Efron or some other star of similar caliber. The original film version of "Arthur," starring Dudley Moore, depicts a guilt-free wealthy drunk who is endearingly disrespectful of the cultural elite which spawned him.

He is challenged to marry a woman of the same class in order to keep his inheritance but chooses instead (very drunkenly) to marry a more working-class girl. After all this, he gets to keep his inheritance, and there is no indication that he is going to stop drinking. Arthur is a drunk, an iconoclast, and a clown. In the remake of "Arthur," (2011) starring Russell Brand, the title character is faced with a similar dilemma as in the original, but interwoven into the story is Arthur's recovery from alcoholism in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Gone is the iconoclastic, devil-may-care clown. We are faced instead with a sanitized version of the original, packaged for contemporary audiences for whom unabashed alcoholism would be uncomfortable. (After all, this is the age of "Celebrity Rehab.")

The sanitization of "Arthur," which is comparable to the sanitized versions of other movies of that era, such as "Planet of the Apes," makes one wonder if a 2018 audience would require a sanitized version of "Soylent Green," one which takes away the dark grit of the original film, and replaces euthanasia stations with, say, "wellness rooms," or, even worse changes the core revelation of the movie (spoiler alert): that the futuristic world of "Soylent Green" is cannibalistic.

Would contemporary producers change the nature of Charlton Heston's desperate outcry that "Soylent Green is people!"

A sequel to 'Soylent Green' is unnecessary

Most likely, a "Soylent Green" sequel would depict the Charlton Heston character leading a rebellion against the unjust civilization in which the dead are processed as food, and prevailing in that rebellion. But the power of the original film is depicting the hopelessness of the struggle against the injustice and corruption of the world of "Soylent Green." Sometimes, the film seems to tell us, we are left only with the option - to cry out against injustice, to speak truth to power, even if we have little hope of prevailing in a struggle with the status quo.

The revelation that Soylent Green is people by Charlton Heston's character may itself be sufficient to bring about change. As an audience, we are left not knowing what will happen next, and that's the point. The film points to the horrible truths that may lie beneath our own civilization, waiting to be exposed, and to a potential future for our civilization if we do not change course. Essential to that message is that we are left horrified at the end of the film. This horror is not the stuff of contemporary film, and yet the horrific message is as relevant today as it was in 1973. Perhaps the proposed sequel to "Soylent Green" will remain forever on hold so that we may always revisit the darkly powerful and potentially transformative message of the original: "If you're not careful, this could be you." Then again, Sci-Fi Movie page reports that Warner Brothers may still have a sequel in the works, somewhere, waiting to be produced. Only time will tell. If a sequel happens, perhaps Russell Brand might even be cast in the lead role. That would be something, indeed.