Acting regularly since the early 1990s, British actor Lennie James arguably first gained wide fame via his work in Guy Ritchie’s hit 2000 heist comedy Snatch, alongside the likes of Brad Pitt and Jason Statham. James gained even more followers playing the mysterious Robert Hawkins on the short-lived but well-remembered apocalyptic CBS drama Jericho, before eventually landing his current gig as Morgan on AMC juggernaut The Walking Dead.
Over his decades in the business, James has truly become one of the most dependable character actors in Hollywood, always reliably giving his all to each role. Not content with being part of one iconic genre franchise, James has now signed on join the growing cast of Blade Runner 2.
A direct sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 dystopian sci-fi classic, Blade Runner 2 picks up the tale of hard-boiled detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), decades after he was last tasked with hunting down a group of bioengineered androids known as Replicants.
Deckard famously ended Blade Runner by running away with his Replicant love interest (Sean Young), with – depending on the cut of the film one happened to watch – many viewers interpreting the ending to mean that Ford’s character was himself a Replicant. That said, the fact that he’s still alive far past the normal Replicant expiration date seems to shoot down that long-held theory.
In addition to the returning Ford and the newly announced James, other Blade Runner 2 cast members include Ryan Gosling, Dave Bautista (Spectre), Robin Wright (House of Cards), and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire), among others. Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) is taking over direction of the series from Scott, who remains on-board as a producer. Original Blade Runner writer Hampton Fancher is returning to co-write the sequel’s screenplay, along with Michael Green, from a story by Scott and Fancher. The entire franchise is of course based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Actual plot details concerning Blade Runner 2 remain frustratingly vague, so there’s no real way to try and predict what role James will play in the story, or how big his part will be. No matter how things end up creatively, there’s no way Blade Runner 2 doesn’t arrive in theaters to massive fanfare, and equally massive expectations. After all, it’s not every day that someone follows up one of the greatest sci-fi films ever, decades after the fact no less.
Blade Runner 2 will see theatrical release in the U.S. on October 6, 2017.