We reported quite a while ago that the Blade Runner sequel was officially go, but since then, all's gone quiet on the production. Until now, that is.
Denis Villeneuve, who signed on to direct following Ridley Scott's departure, recently gave an in-depth interview and dropped a good few tidbits of information. Moreover, Roger Deakins has spoken about his enthusiasm for the project and there's been a few rumours circulating on the project itself.
Here's everything we know so far.
SO WHAT HAPPENED WITH RIDLEY SCOTT DROPPING OUT?
Scott was already involved with the production and script and brought back original screenwriter Hampton Fancher to write the sequel script. However, it was both Hampton, Scott and the studio's decision from Scott to jump out of the seat and bring someone in. That's where Denis Villeneuve stepped in and took over the reigns.
AND WHO IS DENIS VILLENEUVE?
He's done quite a number of independent films before he moved on to more mainstream fare. His earlier work was particularly intriguing, one of them being Polytechnique - a film based on the true story of several female engineering students who were murdered by a misogynist. 2013's Prisoners was a fantastic thriller whilst Enemy was a lot more cerebral than anything we've seen in quite a while. His latest film, Sicario, has been getting huge praise and we're particularly excited to see how it pans out.
DO WE KNOW WHO'S BEEN CAST?
We know Harrison Ford is definitely involved. In fact, he was signed on to return as Rick Deckard long before Denis Villeneuve came along and has been heavily involved in the process. Moreover, Ford's been unusually positive about the sequel, calling it the best script he's read in years. Yeah. Exactly. Ford's commitments with Star Wars, however, are preventing the production from kicking off in any meaningful way for the time being. More on that later. Ryan Gosling was in talks to sign for the role, but no official casting announcement was made to say yay or nay. Beyond that, it's been quiet. Sean Young, who played Rachel in the first one, has said that she is not returning. Rutger Hauer, who played Roy Batty, hasn't been contacted or asked about it - so no news there.
IS VANGELIS COMING BACK TO DO THE SOUNDTRACK? ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED?
Again, there's been nothing in the way of an official confirmation or anything of the sort, so nobody knows. Vangelis is still working and composing music for films, so it's entirely possible he could be called back for. The last major soundtrack he scored was in 2013 for Trashed, a documentary Jeremy Irons did about waste management and the environment. Before that, it was Oliver Stone's brave-but-stupid Alexander. However, Vangelis is now currently 71 so it's logical to assume that he's retired from film soundtracks altogether. Possible replacements? Jonny Greenwood would be interesting. Someone like Daft Punk or even M83 could also be very cool. You could real obscure and pick someone like Steve Moore to take a look at it. Here's a snifter of his work for reference.
The cinematography will be done by Roger Deakins, who did Skyfall, Fargo, Prisoners, the True Grit remake, The Shawshank Redemption, A Beautiful Mind and basically any film you've looked at and said, "Wow, that looks amazing." Seriously, the guy's an absolute genius and he's been itching to do a sci-fi film for years. Considering one of the biggest highlights of Blade Runner is just how gorgeous it looked, putting Roger Deakins in charge of that aspect is pretty damn cool.
ANY IDEA ON WHAT THE PLOT IS?
There were quite a number of official sequels to Blade Runner via novels that were authorised by Philip K. Dick. Whether these are used as reference points for the script is unknown. Our guess? Highly unlikely, to be honest, as they weren't particularly good. With the original screenwriter involved, he can more than likely come up with something much better than the books. Ridley Scott did mention that Harrison Ford only comes into the film in the third act and that the central narrative of the film is about finding Rick Deckard. It's been speculated that the role Gosling was auditioning for was that of a detective sent to track Harrison Ford's character, who took the fall for the events in the original one.
Villeneuve, meanwhile, has been incredibly tight-lipped about any plot details, preferring instead for people to come view the sequel without any foreknowledge. All he's said is that the film is "autonomous and at the same time there will be some link," which really tells us absolutely nothing.
BUT DO WE REALLY NEED A BLADE RUNNER SEQUEL?
Yes, the first one was a masterpiece. Yes, it revolutionised how we see science-fiction film. Yes, it's the best film Harrison Ford has starred in, bar The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yes, the ending was perfect. Yes, yes and yes. BUT. Let's take a look at another Ridley Scott film did that had a perfect ending - Alien. Brilliantly directed haunted-house horror film that happened to be set in a spaceship. Great cast, did very well with critics and audiences, nobody wanted a sequel. What happened? ALIENS with James Cameron. That's how we're looking at the Blade Runner sequel.
Take a look at Denis Villeneuve's work and you'll see a director who's talented, has a fantastic eye for visuals and knows how to make a scene just... work. Prisoners was a fantastic thriller that you definitely should watch. If what we're hearing about Sicario is to be believed, it could be the film of 2015 outside of The Force Awakens. Not only that, Villeneuve isn't stupid. In a recent interview, he talked openly about those same concerns everyone else has been voicing, describing the original film as a 'monument'.
"I hesitated massively. It took me a lot of time to say yes. Not because I didn’t believe in it, because I was like ‘Who am I to dare to touch that?’ And at the same there’s a part of me that said, ‘I’m a hardcore fan, I don’t want to fuck that up.'"
As far as we can tell, he's saying all the right things about it.
SO WHEN DOES IT START FILMING AND WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE IT?
It's been confirmed that it will begin shooting next summer as Harrison Ford has to complete his press tour duties for The Force Awakens and possibly turn up in Episode VIII for something as well. Then again, maybe not. Either way, the film is beginning shoot next summer. The script has already been completed, as we said, so we're guessing Villeneuve and Scott are gearing up the pre-production process, casting and making any last minute tweaks to the script.
As for a release date, there's none set down yet. Which, honestly, is very good news. Why's that, you might ask? How often does it happen that a film is scheduled for a release and the film that eventually hits the release date on time comes out less than because it was rushed to that release date? The fact that no release date, beyond a vague notion of 2017 or something, tells us that the film is no rush to hit the screen. They're making something that has weight, substance, character and will be worth the wait. It's not being fired out to hit a certain time period that's optimal for its demographic, it's not being pulled to make sure it can compete in the Oscars, it's been made and when it's ready, it's ready. Think about how rare that is.