Now that Blade Runner 2049 has opened in theaters, will there be a third film in the series? Director Denis Villeneuve hasn’t committed to anything, but he is now for the first time discussing what a third Blade Runner might look like.
In an interview with Crave Online published on Monday, Villeneuve said that there’s one key subplot in Blade Runner 2049 that would likely be the focus of a potential third movie. It’s a bit of a spoiler, so now’s the time to turn away if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
“But yes, there’s some clues of what could come after,” he said. “That tension between the synthetic humans and humans could ratchet up to something that becomes more than just an intimate story.”
Villeneuve is referring to the fact that Blade Runner 2049 is an intimate story of Ryan Gosling’s character, Officer K, and Villeneuve considered himself to be telling this one tale and not setting up a larger universe. Still, for all of Villeneuve’s comments about the film being completely standalone, there sure is a lot left open at the end. Niander Wallace, one of the main villains of the movie, is left alive, and there’s a whole scene dedicated to setting up a replicant uprising that never comes up again and is never resolved. Villeneuve’s comments in this interview suggest that a potential third Blade Runner would be about this uprising, and it would become more than just the story of one character on a personal journey.
It doesn’t sound like Villeneuve is just speculating off the top of his head there, as he also notes that the film’s writers have come up with actual ideas for a third installment, noting, “I know that Hampton [Fancher] and Michael Green have some plans in mind where it could go.”
Even prior to the opening of Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve had said that Ridley Scott has ideas for more sequels.
“I think it’s more a question you should ask the producers,” Villeneuve told Collider when asked if there will be a third movie. “They are very passionate about this world and I’m sure that if the reaction is positive towards this one, they could come back with another idea. Ridley Scott has some ideas.”
While promoting The Martian in 2015, Ridley Scott was asked if he wanted to turn Blade Runner into a series like he did with Alien. Scott said, “Everyone else is, so why not? I love to work. The French say, ‘Work to live,’ and I live to work. I’m very lucky to have a job that I adore.”
It’s unclear whether Denis Villeneuve himself would return to direct a third Blade Runner film. In interviews, he has repeatedly said that he’s too close to this one and would need some time to decide whether he wants to tackle another installment.
Unfortunately, it now seems unlikely that there will be another Blade Runner, as 2049 severely underperformed at the box office this weekend. The movie was aiming for an opening of around $50 million, but it only took in $31 million, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s an issue considering the movie cost about $150 million, so it really needed to be a huge hit for Warner Bros. to make back its money. It’s possible that 2049 will have serious legs and build up momentum over the next few weeks, but at this time it seems like the film will struggle to get to $100 million at best, which would make it an unequivocal financial failure. For comparison, Alien: Covenant opened with $36 million this past summer and ended up making $74 million total in the United States.
With numbers like that, it looks like Hampton Fancher and Michael Green’s ideas for a third Blade Runner will be lost in time, like tears in rain.