Fans of the original dystopian sci-fi film Blade Runner have been waiting since its 1982 release year for news of a sequel. While the rumors swirled for decades, Blade Runner 2 finally has a promised release date in January of 2018. Though original director Ridley Scott has relinquished that role in the sequel to Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), Scott created the new story with Hampton Fancher (also co-writer of the original).
Fancher and Michael Green have put together the final screenplay for Blade Runner 2, and star Harrison Ford is set to return as Rick Deckard. Ryan Gosling has also been cast in the film. Though production begins this July, there hasn’t been much else in the way of casting news until now.
As Variety reports, Robin Wright (House of Cards) is in final negotiations to star in the film. While it’s not yet known what her character in the Blade Runner sequel will be, the fact that the studio pursued her until a schedule could be reconciled with her Netflix series indicates it’s an important role.
The sought-after actress will also be appearing in the upcoming Wonder Woman film, set to premiere in June of 2017. Still known for her breakthrough performance in The Princess Bride, Wright has a full resume of films including Forrest Gump, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and last year’s Everest.
Though actor Ford was convinced to return for the sequel because it was the “best script” he’d ever been offered, the rest of us will have to wait to find out what’s in that script. The film will be set about 30 years in the future from the original narrative, which was set in 2019 Los Angeles. The drama will focus on locating Deckard, whom Scott has confirmed was an android replicant himself — apparently one who can survive the four-year encoded lifespan. The only other hint Scott has given was a description of the Grapes of Wrath-vibe opening scene, one which was meant to lead the original Blade Runner.
Adding respected actors Gosling and Wright to the cast is a good sign that the sequel will still be as much about the characters as the futuristic sets and action sequences. Perennial B-movie fave Rutger Hauer delivered a stand-out performance as replicant Roy Batty in the original, so the hope is that Blade Runner 2 will draw out similarly good work from its cast. Director Villeneuve’s assertions that he’s a “hardcore fan” of the original, and willingness to take on the risk that critical fans might be ready to take “a baseball bat” to his work, reveal a desire to deliver an impressive sequel. Hopefully the filmmakers and stars can bring the story that so impressed Ford to vivid life on the big screen.
Blade Runner 2 is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on January 12, 2018