Reactions to the recent news that Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. have acquired the rights to the Blade Runner franchise have been decidedly mixed. Most fans seem less than thrilled by the notion of either a sequel or a prequel to the 1982 Philip K. Dick novel adaptation, but they can at least take comfort from the news that a remake is not on the agenda.
Alcon executives Andrew Kosvoe, Broderick Johnson, and Bud Yorkin have opened up a bit about their plans to continue the Blade Runner story, including how they'll approach future installments and who they'd like to oversee their development.
Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is highly-treasured by most sci-fi fans and general cinephiles alike, so it's not surprising that the Alcon heads have admitted to io9 that the filmmaker's blessing is very important to them. Scott is currently busy with a project inspired by his other most beloved sci-fi feature, the Alien spinoff Prometheus, but it seems unlikely that he'd also be interested in revisiting the world of replicants and futuristic Los Angeles as well ("seems" being the key word).
What then do the producers find so attractive about the prospect of exploring the Blade Runner universe with greater depth - other than it potentially meaning more money, that is? Here's what Johnson, speaking for himself and his peers, had to say:
"['Blade Runner' is] one of our favorite films, and we thought that the universe that has been created here is one that's full of ideas and possibilities. We're intellectually fascinated and ready to explore the themes that the movie invokes and the underlying material. At the end of the day those are the things that make great movies. Those and characters, it's an opportunity of a life time to try and explore this further."
Blade Runner fashions Los Angeles in the year 2019 as being a technologically sophisticated metropolis built upon the decaying remains of an older city that wouldn't feel out of place in a Noirish detective novel. There was indeed a sense of realism to that squalid world in Scott's film, and that same atmosphere is what Kosvoe, Johnson, and Yorkin indicate they want to recreate in whatever spinoff project ultimately comes to fruition.
It's not surprising then that three studio heads cite Christopher Nolan as being "the pie in the sky," in terms of their top choice to direct a new Blade Runner flick - besides Scott, of course. Kosove specifically cites "that methodology that Chris Nolan brought to Batman [that is] precisely what we aspire to whomever the filmmaker is."
Nolan has worked with Alcon before, as he was brought onboard to helm the remake Insomnia back before his career really took off with Batman Begins. Inception deliberately paid homage to the style and themes of Blade Runner, and Nolan has openly admitted that it's a cherished favorite of his as well. That's not to say he'd have any interest in making a sequel or prequel to the film, but it's honestly not out of the question either - though, really, Nolan fans should bear in mind that he can't make every single upcoming big-budget project in development.
Perhaps the biggest concern that fans naturally have about Blade Runner prequels/sequels is that they will tarnish the standing of the original. Regardless of whether or not you feel that inferior followups to a classic actually make it less appealing, it's difficult to not be cynical and assume that Alcon/Warner Bros. isn't simply making a cash-grab with this new move of theirs.
On that matter, Kosove has the following to say:
"First of all, we're paying for everything, but second of all — and this a way of answering maybe partially the concerns of your fans — this may work, or it may not work. We may make this movie, but in truth it may never get made."
"But what I can tell you for certain today is that we will not go about this process in some form of large group think where 15 executives are going to sit around a table micromanaging the creative talent. Broderick and I will meet with writers and directors and we will figure out what direction we want to go and what story we believe in."
"And then they will have the artistic autonomy to go out and make a great movie... And [that's] how we'll approach this process. I don't know how better to answer the question than that."
For more, read the entirety of io9's interview with the Blade Runner producers HERE.