Readers with long memories may recall that Sir Ridley Scott has been mulling over the notion of making a sequel to his 1982 science fiction classic, Blade Runner, since last year; they may also remember that towards the tail end of 2012, that film's star, genre icon Harrison Ford, expressed a modicum of subdued interest in reprising his role as the android-hunting Rick Deckard. As much as the film is self-contained, Scott seems to have more story to tell within the dystopian world Phillip K. Dick invented on the page in 1968.
What, exactly, that story happens to be about remains an enigma. Scott hasn't made more than a peep about his script, or even the ideas he'll be injecting into it, and has gone on record only to say that it's happening. Equally mysterious is the film's production timeline; vague overtures made by Fox suggest that the picture could open in US theaters as soon as March, 2016, but that feels too generous to be realistic. Even Ford's place in all of this is unknown, as the actor's name hasn't come up in conversation about the film since he first piped up about it seven months ago.
Apparently, Alcon Entertainment - the production studio backing Blade Runner 2 - feels as uncomfortable about that uncertainty. Earlier today, the company issued a press release that more or less offers the part to Ford outright. Word on this unorthodox move comes from the folks at THR; unsurprisingly, Alcon has no excess information to offer about the film itself, as they've only taken the bold opportunity to open negotiations with Ford through the press.
To describe their campaign as "unprecedented" almost feels like an understatement; nobody approaches an actor for a role on a public stage like this. That's not to say that Alcon has made a bad move, per se, though they'll wind up with a full omelet on their face if Ford ends up declining their offer. On the other hand, if he accepts, then their gambit will have paid off, but in between now and the time it takes for Ford to make up his mind one way or the other, one can only look at Alcon's plan of action and raise an eyebrow.
But as unconventional as the studio's tactics are, it's even odder to think that audiences might actually be treated to a Blade Runner sequel starring Harrison Ford in this decade. A few years ago, nobody might have bought into the possibility that he might end up collaborating with Scott to explore Blade Runner's bleak, hard boiled landscape anew. Yet here we are today, staring down the barrel of a possible follow-up to one of cinema's most celebrated sci-fi narratives.
Will Ford accept? Will he say no? Ford had a packed 2013 slate thanks to his presence on movies ranging from Ender's Game to 42, and thanks to his confirmed involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII, it's unlikely he'll be getting less busy in the foreseeable future. (Especially in light of his allegedly "gigantic" role in the film.) And none of this even raises the question of whether he and Scott should be pursuing a Blade Runner sequel in the first place - not just because of the film's lauded status but in consideration of how much they both have on their plates. Ford's presence in Star Wars aside, Scott has Exodus, a Prometheus sequel, The Martian, and The Forever War in his sights already.
Maybe Scott can balance that stacked workload, maybe not. If Ford turns down Alcon, it's probably irrelevant, as Scott has planned for Blade Runner 2 to take place decades after the original film; recasting Deckard in that context seems like a mistake (though Scott's past mentions of a female protagonist might make the character obsolete anyways). For now, this is just a waiting game as Alcon waits on Ford's reply, but theirs is a one of a kind circumstance, to say the least.
We'll keep you up to date on Blade Runner 2 news as it becomes available.