Blade Runner is returning to the big screen in 2016, with Ridley Scott having handed off the job of directing to Denis Villeneuve: a filmmaker who has quickly risen in the ranks of respected cinematic storytellers that are currently active, after his work on such films as Prisoners and Sicario. Harrison Ford is returning for the next Blade Runner installment (once again raising questions about the true nature of his character Rick Deckard in the process), and he will be joined by a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, MacKenzie Davis, Jared Leto and many other noteworthy actors in supporting roles.
The storyline for the Blade Runner sequel, as was scripted by original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher and Dave Green (who also co-wrote next year’s Alien: Covenant, which Scott is directing), remains tightly under-wraps for the time being. However, those looking for any and all clues about the film may find a significant one in the form of the sequel’s now-official title: Blade Runner 2049.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment have now confirmed that Blade Runner 2049 is going to be what Villeneuve’s project will be called. In addition, a photo from the set has been released, showing Scott, Villeneuve, Ford and Gosling enjoying a break from filming, as you can see below:
As the original Blade Runner takes place in the year 2019 (an alternate version of what 2019 will really be like, it’s safe to say at this point), the title for the sequel implies that the latter picks up exactly thirty years – or, essentially, in real-time – following the events of its predecessor, as the film’s producers have suggested in the past. Official concept art released for Blade Runner 2049 suggests the movie carries over the futuristic-meets-Noir aesthetic of its predecessor; but at the same time, Villeneuve has said that the sequel “has is own life” and suggested that its setting and characters (including Gosling as the mysterious new protagonist) must stand on their own, in accordance.
Of course, Villeneuve has also acknowledged what most everyone else already knows: that no matter how well it turns out, Blade Runner 2049 cannot fully live up to its predecessor; itself, a touchstone achievement in the sci-fi genre that remains highly influential today. Nevertheless, Villeneuve keeps on making a name for himself as a filmmaker, with his alien drama Arrival continuing to generate strong buzz ahead of its theatrical release next month. Which is to say: given the great talent involved on both sides of the camera here, it’s difficult to imagine Blade Runner 2049 turning out too badly, even in the worst-case scenario.
Blade Runner 2049 opens in U.S. theaters on October 6th, 2017.