Among the pantheon of great, genre-defining sci-fi films, there are a few titles that stand nearly head and shoulders above the rest. One of those is Ridley Scott's 1982 dystopian classic Blade Runner. Based on the Philip K. Dick story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner famously starred Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, an ex-cop forced out of retirement by the LAPD of the then-far away year of 2019. Deckard's job was to hunt down Replicants, a type of bioengineered android nearly indistinguishable from humans, but with a much more limited life span.
In the decades since its release, Blade Runner has gone on to become one of the most iconic sci-fi movies in history, and remains one of the greatest achievements in Scott's storied filmmaking career. Fans have long pondered what exactly a continuation of Deckard's journey would entail, but until recently, a Blade Runner sequel seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream. That all changed last year, when Blade Runner 2 was officially confirmed for release. Taking over directorial duties this time out is Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario), with Ford returning as the lead, and original Blade Runner co-writer Hampton Fancher co-penning the sequel's script.
Naturally, a lot of pressure comes along with taking up the Blade Runner mantle from Scott, who remains on-board as a producer. Villeneuve was asked about this, as well as his overall plans for the sequel during a recent interview with THR. Thankfully, the pressure doesn't seem to be getting to him all that much, although he acknowledges that it is certainly a daunting task to try to continue the legacy of excellence that Scott began:
"First of all, it’s not possible to live up to the original. It’s Ridley Scott. It’s a masterpiece. It’s one of the best sci-fi films, one of the best films in the past 50 years. For me, what terrorizes me right now is what I’m doing is taking Blade Runner and making it my own, and that is horrific. To realize that when I look at the dailies, it’s not Ridley Scott, it’s me, and that it’s different. It’s still the same universe, we are still in the same dream, but it’s mine, so it’s like I have no idea how you people will react, I don’t know. It has its own life."
While at first glance it seems a bit surprising to see Villeneuve just come out and say that his film has no chance of living up to the greatness of Scott's original, it's also kind of refreshing in a way. It's safe to say that in the eyes of most sci-fi fans, no Blade Runner follow-up could ever hope to recapture the lightning in a bottle that Scott did back in 1982; it arguably would be pretty pointless for Villeneuve to try and do so. Instead, Villeneuve seems to be smartly approaching Blade Runner 2 as its own beast, made using his own vision, albeit still taking place in the universe first created in print by Dick then immortalized and expanded upon on-screen via Scott.
While very little is still known about the actual plot of Blade Runner 2, Villeneuve has certainly done his best to increase his chances of success by recruiting a talented big name cast to surround Ford, including names like Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Lennie James, and Jared Leto. It's far too soon to tell whether Villeneuve will indeed succeed in directing a worthy sequel to Blade Runner, but he's definitely starting out from a good place.
Blade Runner 2 hits theaters on October 6th, 2017.