Will ‘Dune’ Director Denis Villeneuve Make a Sequel to ‘Blade Runner 2049’?

Blade Runner could get new life after all.

In the past few years, Denis Villeneuve has taken Hollywood by storm. With 2013’s Prisoners and 2015’s Sicario, the director proved he could craft compelling drama, harrowing thrills, and visceral action. Then, in 2016, he leapt into the world of sci-fi with Amy Adams’ lauded work in Arrival.

But it wasn’t until 2017 that Villeneuve got a chance to tackle a major franchise movie. Blade Runner 2049 promised to combine all the mood and atmosphere of his earlier films with the thought-provoking sci-fi of Arrival. Could Villeneuve successfully follow the original film? And, if so, would he be willing to stick around for more?

Ryan Gosling, Denis Villeneuve, Ana de Armas, and Harrison Ford
Ryan Gosling, Denis Villeneuve, Ana de Armas, and Harrison Ford | Marc Piasecki/WireImage

‘Blade Runner 2049’ underperformed in theaters

When it was released in 1982, Blade Runner received mixed reviews and earned a modest $32 million at the box office. However, in the decades since, Ridley Scott’s film has become revered as an influential sci-fi classic. So fans were excited to see how Blade Runner 2049 would build on that legacy.

Yet, despite the original film’s love among cinephiles, Villeneuve’s movie too struggled to find a mainstream audience. Against a reported production budget of $150 million, Blade Runner 2049 only earned $92 million domestically. That bleak picture is a bit sunnier when one considers its $260 million worldwide take. But it’s still far from a runaway hit.

Denis Villeneuve would only revisit ‘Blade Runner’ for this reason

Both Blade Runner and its sequel are beloved by critics. Without a greater box office impact, the likelihood of a third film remains slim. Still, Villeneuve told Empire he is interested in going back to helm a third film. But the project would have to satisfy his creative impulses in the right way.

It’s such an inspiring place, the Blade Runner world. The problem I have is the word “sequel.” I think cinema needs original stories. … It would need to be a project on its own. Something disconnected from both other movies. A detective noir story set in the future… I wake up sometimes in the night dreaming about it.

The world of Blade Runner is certainly rich enough to expand beyond Deckard (Harrison Ford) and K (Ryan Gosling). Certainly, the second film presents the former with the perfect send-off. So the notion of Villeneuve exploring a new tale is intriguing at the very least. The question remains whether Warner Bros. would be interested in going back for more.

A new anime series is still in the works

A big-budget live-action epic might not seem like a safe bet to the studio. However, the story of Blade Runner isn’t waiting on Warner Bros. to decide whether it wants to produce more content within the franchise.

Back in 2018, fans learned Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, and Alcon Entertainment teamed up for an anime series based on the films. Set in 2032, the show will feature established characters and direct connections to the short films made for Blade Runner 2049.

Perhaps if this series catches fans’ attention, then all hope is not lost for a Blade Runner. Similarly, another 1982 sci-fi hit, Tron, inspired a 2010 sequel. Although Tron: Legacy disappointed, some fans are still clinging to a shred of hope Disney will give Tron 3 a green light. At least in the case of Blade Runner, the franchise still has some new stories on the way.