Blade Runner 2 (not the official title) was developed by the original Blade Runner team of screenwriter Hampton Fancher and filmmaker Ridley Scott, even though Scott won't be helming the return voyage to that cinematic universe (itself based on Philip K. Dick's sci-fi literature). The director's chair on the sequel will instead be occupied by Denis Villeneuve - a fellow who's certainly been gaining more notice of late.
Villeneuve popped up on many people's radars with his critically-acclaimed drama/thriller Prisoners in 2013, which he followed up with Enemy - a mystery/thriller that flew under most filmgoers' radar, but which seemed to impress most people who did see it (thanks in part to the intriguing performance(s) by Jake Gyllenhaal - Villeneuve's Prisoners star). The Blade Runner sequel will re-team Villeneuve with one of his key Prisoners collaborators behind the camera - namely, legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins.
Deakins, for those unaware, is the Coen Brothers' frequent director of photography and has been nominated for an Oscar twelve times (!) without a win, most recently for his work on Angelina Jolie's Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken. He's fresh off having worked alongside Villeneuve again on Sicario - a crime/thriller (starring Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin) that just made a splash with its showing at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival - and he also served as cinematographer on the Coens' latest movie, Hail, Caesar! (due out in 2016).
Here is the statement from Alcon Entertainment CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, with regard to Deakins joining the Blade Runner 2 creative team:
“Roger is an extraordinary talent and we are very excited that Denis and Roger have chosen to continue their collaboration in bringing the sequel to Blade Runner to the big screen.”
The original Blade Runner remains a touchstone work in the cinematic science-fiction genre; not just for its thematic elements, but also for its striking visual design (which has influenced many, many sci-fi films released over the three decades since it opened in theaters). It's a daunting task, coming up with a sequel to a movie that's achieved "classic" status like that, but so far the combination of Villeneuve and Deakins has yielded strong results - something that bodes wells for Blade Runner 2, simply on its own terms as a new venture into the world partially established by Scott.
Plot details for Blade Runner 2 - based on the script co-written by Fancher and Michael Green (Heroes, Green Lantern) - are largely a secret for now, though Harrison Ford is set to reprise his role as Rick Deckard from the original film, in a sequel that (essentially) picks up in real-time after its predecessor. Scott previously indicated that Deckard won't be the main focus of the story this time around - and last we heard, Ryan Gosling had entered talks to play the male lead in Villeneuve's currently-untitled Blade Runner installment.
Many Blade Runner fans are (fairly) skeptical about the sequel being able to hold a candle to Scott's first movie, but there is arguably fair reason to be cautiously optimistic. So far, the talent that looks to be involved - on both sides of the camera, at that - is a combination of lauded filmmaking industry vets, along with younger artists very much in the prime of their careers. That's perhaps reason enough to be interested in learning more about what new story is going to be told here (within the context of the Blade Runner universe) - regarding what tomorrow could bring.
Blade Runner 2 (again, not the official title) begins production in Summer 2016. It does not have an official release date yet.
Source: Alcon Entertainment