Mild concerns that The Newsroom would end up being Dev Patel‘s last “big” role have been quelled: according to THR, he’s managed to nab a lead role in Neill Blomkamp‘s developing feature, Chappie, which the writer-director is quickly preparing as Elysium heats up for a theatrical release. Intrigued right away? The larger details raise eyebrows all their own.

Apparently maintaining his penchant for sci-fi social commentary — begun in District 9, by all appearances present in the aforementioned August tentpole — but taking things in a more significantly comedic direction, Chappie will feature Blomkamp‘s favorite thespian, Sharlto Copley, as “a police robot” working the beat in South African slums; on the other side of things, Patel is expected to play a slum inhabitant. (Die Antwoord also factors in, somehow.) Yes, the jokes about a certain recent Best Picture winner write themselves. But that doesn’t mean they should be made.

In co-writing with Terri Tatchell, his partner on District 9, Blomkamp is adapting an earlier short project: Tetra Vaal, that awfully brief piece of work more an introduction to great sci-fi concepts than fully cohesive piece of work all its own. To expand that into a feature is no easy task, clearly, but he did it fairly well in 2009 — why not again?. When Elysium hits on August 9, we ought to have some better idea as to whether or not expectations are a reasonable thing.

Meanwhile, THR have also informed us that Stellan Skarsgård is helping to expand the ensemble of Kenneth Branagh‘s Cinderella. Because this is a man who’s only be cast in a morally pure position on rare occasion, we can look forward to his turn as “the king’s adviser, who just may have ulterior motives.” Just may. But it’s one of many things Skarsgård can do well — and because big Hollywood productions could always use a thespian of his talent — the slight typecasting is, by all means, fine.

Filling out the better-than-expected lineup, Lily James will play the title character, while Cate Blanchett is filling the shoes of Cinderella‘s stepmother; Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, and Sophie McShera are also to appear for a fall start.

What do you think of Patel taking a major role in the next Blomkamp project? Does Skarsgård’s involvement at all change your thoughts on Cinderella?

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