After years of speculation, the Blade Runner sequel is officially underway. The follow-up to the sci-fi classic, titled Blade Runner 2049, is done filming, and details about what fans can expect from the long-awaited sequel are gradually starting to surface. From the return of Harrison Ford to the latest hints from original director Ridley Scott, here’s everything we know about the upcoming movie so far.
1. It’s been a long time coming
Blade Runner 2049 started filming this summer, after years of speculation and false starts. Talk of a potential sequel has been going since at least 2007, when Scott first revealed he was contemplating the possibility. In 2009, he reportedly began developing a Blade Runner prequel, but that project never came to fruition. Since then, a sequel has been in and out of development, with both Christopher Nolan and Scott himself attached to direct at various points.
In 2014, Scott confirmed that a sequel was still underway, but that he wouldn’t be directing. Now, the project is finally picking up progress, with its creative team already becoming established and casting in full swing.
2. Harrison Ford will return
In the years that the sequel has been in development, there’s been widespread speculation over whether Ford would return to play Rick Deckard. “It’s not a rumor — it’s happening. With Harrison Ford? I don’t know yet,” Scott said in an interview in 2012 about the sequel.
In 2015, Scott suggested that Ford would indeed return after reading the script (which Ford allegedly called “the best script I’ve ever had”). Now it’s official: In January 2016, Alcon Entertainment confirmed that Ford has formally signed on to reprise his role in Blade Runner 2049.
3. The new cast
In 2015, Ryan Gosling confirmed that he will take on a lead role opposite Ford in the upcoming sequel. Details about the role have not been revealed, but Scott has previously hinted that Gosling’s character will serve as the new central focus of the story, with Ford’s character only showing up later in the movie.
The project is also rounding out its supporting cast. In late March, it was revealed that Robin Wright is in final negotiations to join Ford and Gosling in the movie. She will reportedly play “a key role,” although specific character details have not been revealed.
Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista recently took to Instagram to hint that he’s also joining the cast. The actor posted a photo of himself holding the origami unicorn that Edward James Olmos’s Gaff leaves for Ford’s Deckard at the end of the original Blade Runner. It’s unclear who Bautista will play.
According to Deadline, Cuban actress Ana de Armas has joined the cast of the upcoming sequel in a role that has not yet been revealed.
Dutch star Sylvia Hoeks has also joined the cast in a leading role, although her specific role is unknown.
German actress Carla Juri has boarded the movie in a still-unidentified role.
According to Deadline, Captain Phillips Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi has been cast in the film, although there are no details on his role.
Per Deadline, Lennie James is joining the cast of the sequel in a still-unidentified role.
Per Entertainment Weekly, Jared Leto has signed on as the last cast member in the upcoming sequel. He will play Niander Wallace, a blind man whose company, Wallace Corp., acquires the means to create its own replicant androids (but more on him later).
4. The creative team
As first announced in 2016, Sicario helmer Denis Villenueve is set to direct the highly anticipated sequel, from a screenplay penned by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher.
Scott (above) will serve as an executive producer, while original Blade Runner cinematographer Roger Deakins (who worked on Villeneuve’s Sicario as well) will also return for the project.
Villenueve has revealed that he doesn’t have final cut authority on the movie, with that task going to Scott instead. As he explained to Variety:
I agreed to do it because the producers behind Blade Runner [Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove] are two friends. I made Prisoners with them, and I knew the environment they would create around me would be very secure. I don’t really have final cut on it. The thing I realized about final cut, is it’s the power of the best cut. I didn’t have final cut on Prisoners, but what you saw is the best cut. Sicario is a directors’ cut, Arrival is a directors’ cut. I cannot talk about it, I will see. My relationship with the people I am working with is very strong. At the end of the day what will win is the best movie.
5. It might resolve the original movie’s central mystery
Plot details for the upcoming sequel are being kept under tight wraps, but Scott has divulged a few hints about what fans can expect.
As previously announced, the story will take place several decades after the conclusion of the original. “Coming back it’ll be 2047, roughly,” Scott told Yahoo. “As young as you can play Ryan Gosling. He’s 34, but he looks 27 when he’s doing his push-ups. So maybe 2050.”
Per Scott, the coming film may also answer the original’s central question as to whether Ford’s Deckard is a human or one of the Replicants he’s tasked with hunting. Though there’s been debate over the mystery in the years since the original, Scott insists it’s the latter. “Of course he’s a bloody Replicant! He’s going to have to admit it,” Scott told Yahoo. As for how he could survive, given that Replicants die after four years, Scott says, “I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to see the story. It’ll all make sense.”
The concept art for the sequel has been revealed via EW, as seen below. The setting is once again a future Los Angeles, albeit one that spreads over much of the West Coast. “The climate has gone berserk – the ocean, the rain, the snow is all toxic,” Villeneuve said. As he explained to EW, the vehicle pictured in the photo from the sequel, is a kind of snow blower that hovers over the streets and destroys snow.
Contrary to Scott’s previous comments, Villenueve has since refuted the idea that the movie will expose Deckard as either a replicant or human being. When asked if the sequel will resolve the film’s loosest thread, he cryptically replied, “Not necessarily.”
6. Three Blade Runner 2049 prequel shorts will be released
The crew behind the Blade Runner sequel is amping up anticipation for the movie’s release by dropping three prequel short films in the lead-up to its premiere.
The first of the shorts, 2036: Nexus Dawn, hit the web in August 2017 (seen above). As the name implies, it’s set over a decade before the events of Blade Runner 2049 and focuses on Leto’s character, Niander Wallace. In the clip, Wallace introduces a new line of “perfected” replicants called the Nexus 9, which he attempts to use to get the prohibition on replicants lifted. Obviously, this could have major consequences going forward.
7. It could lead to more sequels
Blade Runner 2049 could be the next step to turning Blade Runner into a full-blown franchise. “Everyone else is, so why not?” Scott said when asked if he has plans to continue the Blade Runner series, the way he does with Prometheus.
The director also confirmed that the intention is for Gosling to take over the franchise after Ford’s departure.
Gosling recently hinted at the grand scale of the upcoming movie, telling GQ that the project is multiple films in one. “It’s like three movies that I usually make in one. Just in terms of the length and just the whole scope and experience, he said. “I’ve never done something so shrouded in secrecy or where there’s so much anticipation.”
Blade Runner 2049 will hit theaters on October 6, 2017.
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