In about a month, director Dennis Villenueve (Sicario, Prisoners) will begin shooting his long-awaited sequel to Blade Runner, one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. With original director Ridley Scott producing and Harrison Ford returning as replicant-hunting ‘Blade Runner’ Richard Deckard, fans of the 1982 masterpiece await the next chapter of the Philip K. Dick-inspired story with a healthy measure of caution.
As the production assembles a strong and eclectic cast, featuring Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys) and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks in leading roles, and Robin Wright (House of Cards) and David Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) in key supporting slots, details of the story remain under lock and key. Now Alcon Entertainment has added Mackenzie Davis, best known for her role on Halt and Catch Fire and her appearance in Sir Ridley’s “musical or comedy,” The Martian, to their growing cast.
The 29-year-old actress has built an impressive resume for herself since her feature debut in James Ponsoldt’s (The Spectacular Now) breakout film Smashed. And while a few bright stars will have their names at the top of the credits, Blade Runner 2 seems to be building a deep cast of young and emerging talent.
To cynical eyes, producing a sequel to one of cinema’s most iconic films 35 years after its initial release is yet another demonstration of the industry’s general aversion to any project that isn’t a remake, sequel, or adaptation. Those who were disappointed by Prometheus, Scott’s return to the Alien universe he helped create, might see that muddled film as reason enough for Hollywood to keep their greedy fingers away from Blade Runner.
But with this latest addition to an already fascinating cast, one has to give the Blade Runner 2 producers credit for assembling a very promising creative team. With Dennis Villeneueve having spoken at length about his love and admiration for the original film, and his skills as director seeming to improve with every entry into his swiftly-growing filmography, he could turn out to be the perfect director to elaborate on Scott’s legendary vision of the future. With a screenplay written by Blade Runner co-writer Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, based on a concept by Fancher and Sir Ridley himself, and with Roger Deakins lending his unmatched expertise behind the camera, there isn’t a name involved in this film that warrants any reasonable suspicion or skepticism from fans.
Of course, Ridley Scott’s vague description of an opening scene remains our only glimpse into the story. The most talented director, the most creative cinematographer, and the finest actors in the world can’t really fix the movie if the script and story are fundamentally bad. Still, judging solely by the talent involved, it might be time for fans to upgrade from cautiously optimistic to sort of optimistic.
Blade Runner 2 is currently scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on October 6th, 2017.