Blade Runner: Los Angeles in 2019

If a movie is defined by its look, its mood, then Blade Runner is one of the industry’s most famous, celebrated examples.

Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece is getting the sequel treatment. Canadian Denis Villeneuve (Sciario, Enemy, Prisoners) directs, Ryan Gosling, Robing Wright, Ana de Armas and, yes, Harrison Ford, star. The film is scheduled for a 2017 release.

But will it be any good?

Blade Runner Sequel (2017
Concept art: Blade Runner Sequel (2017). Source:

Hopefully the creative team won’t mess with a good thing, and overuse CGI and green screen. Obviously, effects will be essential, but I’m hoping that the essence of noire — rain slicked streets, a sense of dread, ominous darkness interspersed with rare slivers of stunning light — remains intact. Please give us grit and dread. When it comes to noire, and, especially, the gloom embraced by the original Blade Runner film, we appreciate the non-Hollywood treatment that might otherwise favor gloss and hope. I’m banking on Villeneuve’s love for the original to carry forward throughout the creative treatment. The fact that veteran DP Roger Deakins will helm cinematography further bolsters the chances of this project being a success.

Also, let’s not forget the fantastic, electronica score by Vangelis. It was every bit a major character in the original. The scenes of the spinner arriving at the police station while Harrison Ford finished his bowl of noodles would never feel the same without those dreamy signature Vangelis pitch-bends.

Anxious fans can get their first glimpse of what to expect courtesy EW. There a few concept shots of the follow-up to the dystopian classic have been published. They look, in short, fab.

Tell me about your mother…

Based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), Blade Runner was initially a disappointment — especially by the box office standard at the time for actor-driven Hollywood blockbusters. At the time sci-fi was all about Star Wars and light sabers and promotional lunch boxes and toys. So a brooding piece about replicants with droning off screen voices decrying an off-colony world seemed anything but mainstream. Voight-Kampff? Too cerebral and obscure for the mainstream gleaned on E.T.. Thankfully, the studio axed the (ridiculous) happy ending of Deckard and replicant Rachael driving off into the sunset — courtesy of some unused countryside footage from Kubrick’s The Shining. And, over time, Blade Runner has come to be recognized as a genre-defining classic.

Sean Young has not been cast in the Blade Runner sequel. Harrison Ford, however, is a go.
Sean Young has not been cast in the Blade Runner sequel. Harrison Ford, however, is a go.

As much as I dislike sequel-itis gripping Hollywood these days, this Blade Runner sequel is easily my most anticipated film in quite some time (right up there, after The Neon Demon of course…).

The climate has gone berserk — the ocean, the rain, the snow is all toxic.

— Denis Villeneuve, director Blade Runner 2

At this point we do know a “berserk” climate will play a factor. In addition, it seems as if the setting will extend beyond the confines of Los Angeles. Further, we know the planned release date: October 6, 2017.

Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' is based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ is based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”.

Questions, though, remain:

  • Will the Blade Runner sequel shed further light on the Deckard replicant debate? Is he or isn’t he? In my view, he is — he is what he pursues, clues abound.
  • Speaking of clues, will the infamous unicorn return?
  • Will we get a glimpse of the off-colony world in the sequel?
  • Nemesis-wise, is there going to be an even more impressive replicant to follow in the footsteps of Roy Batty, a feared Nexus 6 — performed superbly by Rutger Hauer who captured the brute force, and agony of servitude and a machine’s self-awareness of a limited lifespan?
  • Has Tyrell corporation resorted to Kickstarter campaigns to fund NextGen replicant models?
  • And, will the sushi in futuristic L.A. be any good?

It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does?

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear