In an era where studios relentlessly plunder the tombs of movies past, looking for the next successful remake or reboot, few revivals have caused as much trepidation and/or excitement as the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. The 1982 film, which followed ex-cop Rick Deckard hunting runaway replicants (machines that look and act human), is considered by many as the pinnacle of sci-fi and neo-noir filmmaking. Though some might consider it sacrilege to make a sequel to such a singular film, some big names behind the project — including Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott himself as producer and story developer — have made this one of the most anticipated sequels in the genre.
An official title for the film, Blade Runner 2049, was announced by Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment in a press release on October 6, 2016. The film is ostensibly set thirty years after the original. Although details are scant right now, there is a lot we can gather from what we know so far.
Who’s in charge here?
Blade Runner fans worried that the upcoming sequel is the brainchild of studio executives hungry for a reboot, do not fret. As mentioned above, director of the first Blade Runner Ridley Scott is producing the new film. Scott has been exploring the idea of more Blade Runner projects for a while now, too. In 2009, he and his brother, fellow director Tony Scott, announced a web series called Purefold, set before the film.
The project eventually fell through, but Ridley’s interest in the franchise remained, and he eventually committed to producing and directing a full-length Blade Runner film in 2011. In time, Scott relinquished his role as director, though he remains involved in the project. Scott also brought back Hampton Fancher, who wrote the screenplay for the first film.
Taking Scott’s place at the helm is red-hot French-Canadian director Denis Villeneueve, whose star has been rising dramatically as of late. Among his recent works are Prisoners (2013) and Sicario (2015), both critically acclaimed films that demonstrated Villeneuve’s formal expertise and a desire to explore more complex ideas than the typical thriller. He seems a perfect choice to oversee the sequel to Blade Runner, a film that took time to explore the ethical implications of its protagonist’s mission.
Villeneuve has confirmed that he does not have final cut of the film, speaking to Variety. He does not seem perturbed about it, however, claiming that while he did not have final cut on Prisoners, it ended up being the best version of that film possible.
Joining Villeneuve is recurring collaborator Roger Deakins, who handled cinematography on Sicario and Prisoners, as well as other acclaimed films like No Country for Old Men.
Deakins is not the only collaborator that Villeneuve is brought on for 2049. Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who also worked on Prisoners and Sicario, will compose the score for the film. Jóhannsson’s Sicario score landed him an Oscar nod.