It’s been a long road for Blade Runner 2, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s seminal dystopian film. Based on Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film followed ‘blade runner’ Richard Deckard as he chased rogue humanoid replicants and inspired a generation of sci-fi and cyberpunk fiction and movies. At least according to production company Alcon – who acquired the rights in 2011 – the upcoming film will be part of an ongoing evolution of the Blade Runner franchise.

The series follow-up will star Ryan Gosling (The Big Short) and will be directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), with original lead Harrison Ford (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) reprising his role as Richard Deckard and Scott returning as executive producer. With a main cast and crew in place, which includes Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, all that’s left is to put the film on celluloid and send it out to long-awaiting fans.

Today, Alcon Entertainment announced that production on Blade Runner 2 will begin this July. They also announced that Sony Pictures Releasing had signed on as the overseas distributor. Alcon co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson stated:

“We are excited to work with Tom Rothman, Michael Lynton and then entire Sony team on this very special project as well as maintaining our important and long-standing relationship with our domestic partner Warner Bros. Pictures.”

Sean Young and Harrison Ford together in the directors cut of Blade Runner Blade Runner 2 Starts Filming in July; Sony to Distribute

Sony takes over from Warner Bros., who served as distributor for the original Blade Runner. Alcon also mentioned that Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will produce the sequels and prequels. And in addition to Sir Ridley, Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble of Thunderbird Films will serve as executive producers on the film. Sony Chairman Tom Rothman offered a few words with regard to the distribution deal:

“We know of few projects with greater international potential than the long dreamed of sequel to ‘Blade Runner.’ We are deeply grateful to everyone at Alcon, Denis and Ridley for entrusting us with such a gift. Working on a ‘Blade Runner’ film also fulfills a long-time personal ambition, as I deeply love and admire the original.”

The screenplay was written by Blade Runner co-writer Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, based on a concept by Fancher and Scott. The sequel is set roughly 30 years from the original, according to Scott, but other than that, little else is known about which direction the film will head. Sir Ridley did tease a possible opening to the film last November, one that would replicate his unused concept from the first film’s beginning. Since then, producers have been fairly tight-lipped. Director Villeneuve has promised to keep the story true to the sci-fi classic, though.

Blade Runner city scene cropped Blade Runner 2 Starts Filming in July; Sony to Distribute

With Harrison Ford reprising his role, it’s tempting to compare his role in the sequel to his return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens. Yet it’s too early to assume Ford’s return will be as a mentor to Gosling’s character, especially since the conclusion of the first Blade Runner hinted that Deckard may himself be one of the rogue simulacra he sought to terminate – something which Scott has previously confirmed. And since the original film established a replicant’s inability to live beyond four years, it’s unknown how Deckard found a way to break his programming – or whether he’s one of Tyrell’s more advanced designs, something which Scott also previously implied.

Scott had also suggested at one point that the storyline will play out like a hunt for Deckard, which is vaguely reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s role in The Force Awakens. If this is the case, Deckard could wind up the target of Gosling’s potential blade runner character. However, without knowing Gosling’s exact role, it will be interesting to find out the reason behind the search for Deckard. Of course, nothing is set in stone until the film hits the screen.

Filming on Blade Runner 2 will begin production in July of 2016.

Source: Alcon Entertainment

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