After 35 years, the sequel to cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner is finally hitting our screens
You might well have seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion or C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate, but have you seen any of the new Blade Runner movie? No? Then stop going on about sodding tears in the rain and get info’d up on the most eagerly anticipated sci-fi flick of 2017. It’s taken 35 years for the follow-up to Ridley Scott’s slowburn cult classic to reach our screens – quite long enough to wait for this whole Deckard/replicant thing to get cleared up. Here’s everything we know so far – including big old spoilers - about the cinematic event of the year.
When is Blade Runner 2049 released?
Originally planned for a January 2018 release, Blade Runner 2049 has been brought forward to October 6 this year, which will still make it one of the longest gaps between film sequels in history.
With Ridley himself dropping out of the director’s chair back in 2014 to take an executive producer role and concentrate on his follow-up to Prometheus – Alien: Covenant – the reigns for Blade Runner 2 have been handed to French Canadian film-maker Denis Villeneuve, who brilliantly proved his sci-fi chops on last year’s Arrival.
Who’s in the Blade Runner 2049 cast?
After much back-and-forth – “Is he too old?” Scott said in 2012, “well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don't know how long he can live” - in 2015 it was confirmed that Harrison Ford would reprise his role as Rick Deckard in the new film, presumably having far outlived the Nexus-6’s 4-year guarantee. Scott claims he’ll only appear in the third act of the film though (and hopefully get on better than he did in The Force Awakens) joined by a glittering array of present-day stars, with Ryan Gosling taking the lead role as a next-gen Blade Runner LAPD Officer K, Jared Leto playing a replicant manufacturer called Walter and the likes of House Of Cards’ Robin Wright and Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) taking supporting roles. Edward James Olmos also returns from the first movie as replicant hunter Gaff in a scene “about someone who is going to try to find out certain things about us back then.” Clear as mud, then.
What’s the plot of Blade Runner 2049?
“Thirty years after the events of the first film,” we learn from Villeneuve, “a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.”
Sounds fairly apocalyptic, as does Scott’s detailed description of the opening scene. “We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film,” he told the AFI Festival in LA in 2015. “I always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ – what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling – you can see for 20 miles. No fences, just ploughed, dry dirt.
“Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up. It’s a bit like The Grapes of Wrath; there’s dust, and the tree is still standing. By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilising this ground. You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage. And now a spinner [a flying car] comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks.
“The doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in to the cottage, opens the door, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder – a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison [Ford]’s side. The cottage actually creaks; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else – you’ll have to go see the movie.” Oh, we will.
Are the new Blade Runner trailers good?
Expertly updating the Eastern-tinged dystopian noir of the original, the two trailers so far are a thrilling mash-up of post-apocalyptic wasteland, grimy urban decay and sleek futuristic settings. The first follows Gosling tracking Deckard through a desert, past the remains of mighty statues, to a grand building buried in the red sands, where he runs into the wrong end of Deckard’s gun, and features subtle nods to the original – the way Gosling taps a single note on a piano in the same way Ford did in the 1982 film.
The second is rather more revealing, including scenes of Leto explaining the replicant-making process to Gosling – “every civilization was built off the back of a disposable war force,” he says - and “giving birth” to one, giant holographic ballerinas in the new neon ‘Chinatown’ and plenty of Ford/Gosling bonding bits. Check them out below.
Who’s written the script?
With numerous scripts for Blade Runner sequels and prequels being developed and ditched since way back in 1999, it’s no wonder the original writing team of Hampton Fancher and David Peoples hasn’t reunited for this film – Fancher has been joined by Michael Green of The Green Lantern infamy.
Who’s made the soundtrack?
The 80s synth-symphonic feel of the original is evident in the trailers, but isn’t the work of Vangelis. “[Vangelis’ score] was a huge part of why [the original] film is so strong,” said Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who was brought in to bring a modern slant to the original sonic aesthetic, “so yes, it’s something that I’m very aware of, but as I said, this is a sequel, not a remake, so we’re doing something that exists in the world but is new as well.”