Blade Runner 2049 is one of the highly anticipated films of 2017 and for good reason. It may be a sequel coming in over 30 years after the original Ridley Scott-directed classic, but a lot of great talent is involved with this film, including Scott as an executive producer. As teased in the announcement trailer, the upcoming film from director Denis Villenueve (Arrival, Sicario) stars Ryan Gosling as an L.A. police officer in the process of uncovering a mystery, which leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, played by a returning Harrison Ford. Understandably, the pressure is quite high to deliver a film that can live up to its predecessor.
It is no doubt a daunting position for Villenueve to be in. Having worked on comparatively smaller (and non-franchise) films up to this point, the move into potential blockbuster territory can be tricky for a variety of reasons. In addition to simply making a confident film that works on an artistic level, it also means satisfying the legions of Blade Runner, science-fiction and neo-noir fans who don’t want a new film to somehow tarnish its predecessor. Based on a recent interview, the idea of delivering both a good film and a good film for the fans is not lost on Villeneuve, a huge fan of the original Blade Runner himself.
In regards to the level of anticipation, Villeneuve (speaking at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards) candidly stated:
“The level of expectation behind this movie is huge and everybody is waiting for the movie with open arms — or with a baseball bat. The expectations are for obvious reasons: The first movie was a masterpiece and it’s a very risky, challenging project. But I will say that it has been the most rewarding and exciting experience of my life so far and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you guys.”
Further explaining what to expect to some degree, Villeneuve went on to describe Blade Runner 2049‘s tone and how it should feel in line with the first film:
“The first movie was a film noir, quite intense with melancholia and an existential crisis, so we are not far away from the thematics of the first movie, I will say. It’s the same genre, the same atmosphere.”
Due out in October, Blade Runner 2049 is written by Hampton Fancher (the original Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Logan, Alien: Covenant). Other cast members include Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Mackenzie Davis. Additionally, assuring everyone that the film will at least look fantastic, Roger Deakins is serving as the film’s cinematographer. This is all great for Villenueve, who is currently making rounds on the awards circuit for his movie Arrival, which is expected to be an Oscar contender as well.
This should also help put more confidence in those anticipating the film, as well as those worried about holding onto their optimism. A notable film to point to is Ridley Scott’s own Prometheus. Leading up to its release, Prometheus had Alien fans quite excited, but the film was met with a more polarizing reaction than anyone seemed to expect. Now Scott is looking to right some of his perceived wrongs with the upcoming Alien: Covenant, while a higher percentage of fans are more cautiously optimistic this time around. For Blade Runner 2049, the talent involved and the current streak Villeneuve is on hopefully allows for a film that is both a great follow-up to the original, but also has some fresh ideas and visuals to present to audiences old and new.
As the film is another in the line of recent sequels coming multiple years, if not decades, after an original, one has to hope this is much more like a Mad Max: Fury Road success, as opposed to being an Independence Day: Resurgence. Hopefully keeping expectations in check will have fans judging the film fairly.