As with most years, 2017 had its fair share of movies that offered the potential of a director’s cut being released somewhere down the line, and while Blade Runner 2049 was one of them, chances are very slim you’ll ever see it. The sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi noir already clocked in at a massive 163 minutes, but when Joe Walker, the film’s editor, mentioned an initial four-hour cut had sparked discussion of releasing the film in two parts, intrigue soon followed. Director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins delivered an astonishingly beautiful film, so the idea that there was more out there to be had certainly became a tempting proposition.
That puts Blade Runner 2049 in a similar discussion as Andrés Muschietti’s IT and Zack Snyder’s Justice League as notable films with fans (and in one case a director) clamoring for the release of a director’s cut. For his part, Muschietti promises an alternate cut of his Stephen King adaptation will be released soon, while Snyder, whose superhero team-up film was ostensibly turned into a Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, has inspired online fan petitions urging Warner Bros. to release the director’s pre-reshoots version of Justice League. Fans are currently stuck holding their breath on that one.
Unfortunately, for those wanting to see more of Blade Runner 2049, the four-hour version won’t see the light of day, and Villeneuve has explained why. In an interview with Screen Crush, the director stated the reason is because, like all first cuts, the four-hour version was still very much a work in progress, and that he’s confident the theatrical release is the definitive version of his film. Villeneuve said, "I will not show it to anyone, the four hours, it doesn’t work. The movie you see right now is the one.”
The director confirms the story told by Walker regarding the briefly held notion of splitting the film into two parts, a la Kill Bill, but says that, like the four-hour cut, the discussion never really left the editing room.
“The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, “Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?” But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs] No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
Villeneuve is aware how strange it is to be discussing a definitive cut when it comes to Blade Runner, a movie whose definitive version on Blu-ray comes in a chunky box with no less than four versions of the film inside. Still, the director draws the line at four hours of chasing replicants through the decaying remains of a future Southern California.
“…you have to kill your darlings and I think four hours was too self-indulgent. And it’s a strange conversation because we’re talking about Blade Runner, so people want to know if there are other kinds of cuts. It’s [that way] in all movies; there’s always a long cut at the beginning. The first cut is always long and it’s a process and a lot of editing.”
While it’s always tempting to think what could have been, when it comes to alternate or longer cuts of films, it appears Blade Runner 2049 will buck the trend set by its predecessor by delivering just one cut.
Blade Runner 2049 is currently available to purchase on Digital Download. It will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on January 3, 2018.
Source: Screen Crush