Hans Zimmer is now collaborating with Benjamin Wallfisch on the original score and theme that Jóhann Jóhannsson wrote for the upcoming sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Jóhannsson collaborated with director Denis Villeneuve on three of his directorial efforts (Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival) prior to their work together on the Blade Runner sequel and was even nominated for an Oscar, for his efforts on Sicario. However, it will be up to Zimmer and Wallfisch to complete the music for the Blade Runner followup, ahead of its domestic theatrical release in October.
Zimmer, as it were, has been involved with Blade Runner 2049 – a film that continues the story of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and introduces new blade runner K (Ryan Gosling), thirty years after the events of the original Blade Runner – since back in May, if not even further back than that. It is believed that Jóhannsson has stepped away from his fourth collaboration with Villeneuve in order to concrete on finishing his score for Mother!, the Darren Aronofsky-directed/scripted dramatic thriller that is now scheduled to hit theaters in mid-September.
Villeneuve confirmed to Studio Cine Live (via Film Music Reporter) that Jóhannsson remains involved with Blade Runner 2049 and that his original theme is still being used by Zimmer and Wallfisch. The latter duo previously collaborated on the score for the Oscar-nominated historical drama Hidden Figures. Wallfisch also scored the horror film A Cure for Wellness earlier this year and provided the music for two fast-approaching horror film releases (Annabelle: Creation and IT), while Zimmer is currently earning accolades for his score from Christopher Nolan’s WWII thriller, Dunkirk.
Vangelis’ ethereal score for the original Blade Runner is generally considered to be as essential to that Ridley Scott movie’s futuristic-Noir atmosphere as its visual components are – in turn, setting the bar high for what fans of the film are going to be expecting from the music of Blade Runner 2049. Jóhannsson crafted similarly atmospheric and unique scores for his previous collaborations with Villeneuve, so his involvement with the Blade Runner sequel sounds all the more promising, for it. It doesn’t seem that Zimmer and Wallfisch are changing course from Jóhannsson’s approach on the film, either, and are instead drawing heavy inspiration from the blueprint that the latter left for them.
While Jóhannsson’s departure from Blade Runner 2049 might come as something of a surprise to some, it’s not altogether unexpected. In retrospect, it was always going to be a challenge for Jóhannsson to complete the scores for both the Blade Runner sequel and Mother!, since the two are being released in such close proximity to one another (John Williams is no longer scoring Ready Player One, for similar reasons). As far as replacements go, one could certainly do far worse than bringing on an icon like Zimmer to finish what Jóhannsson started and bring the world of Blade Runner back to the big screen.
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