Producers Discuss the Future of the Blade Runner Franchise: Replicants, Ridley Scott and...Christopher Nolan?
03.04.11 by BrentJS
The recent news that Alcon Entertainment is making plans to "produce prequels and sequels" to director Ridley Scott's Blade Runner was met with a great deal of enthusiasm by sci-fi fans, mixed with a healthy bit of skepticism. After all, Scott's adaptation of Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is considered by many to be the greatest sci-fi movie ever made and a national treasure by the Library of Congress. As one commenter put it, "Blade Runner is powerful and fantastic for what it is. More importantly, it is complete. Why would you even want to alter it?"
In an effort to address such concerns and to tease the potential of the expanded universe of the Blade Runner franchise, producers Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson and Bud Yorkin recently opened up to io9 about why they decided to play around in the Blade Runner universe, why now is the right time to do it and who they might be interested in getting to help them realize their new visions. And, yes, there will be Replicants.
Johnson said that, beyond being one of their "favorite films," the universe that Dick created and Scott adapted for the big screen is simply bursting with "ideas and possibilities."
We're intellectually fascinated and ready to explore the themes that the movie invokes and the underlying material. At the end of the day those are the things that make great movies. Those and characters, it's an opportunity of a life time to try and explore this further.
Kosove said that now is the perfect time to re-examine the world of Blade Runner because our technological achievements are quickly propelling us into a future not too dissimilar from Dick's vision.
I think for us, one of the things that made this so timely is the fact that we're all living, and we're kind of blessed to live in, what is essentially the industrial revolution age for technology. And it's changing at such a rapid pace. Because of that, and because of the fact that Philip K. Dick is quite brilliant at imagining a world that maybe doesn't exist but is very quickly getting here. There are opportunities to think about either what our world will be like in our almost immediate near future. ...I think that there's a unique aspect of Blade Runner, and it is absolutely right to be re-address now at this time in human history. That is the concept of what it means to be a human being. What does it mean to be human, to have empathy, to have feelings? That fundamental concept, given the Blade Runner lore and what an iconic property it is, for us, an irresistible intellectual exercise to see if we can figure out what would be an immediate pre-chapter or a following chapter to Blade Runner.
While some of the technology depicted in the movie might be on the horizon—the X-Hawk concept car is basically the flying car or Spinner from Blade Runner—it's doubtful we'll have anything as awesome or scary as the artificial humans or Replicants that Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) hunted and was hunted by in Blade Runner. Fortunately, Yorkin confirmed that we'll be able to turn to future Blade Runner projects to find more of those awesome artificial humans.
We are going to have Replicants, obviously. That's part of what we started with originally. We're certainly going to have Replicants involved. By the way, Replicants can be any number of ways ["pleasure" and "combat" models are depicted in the movie], and involved in the way humans work and live. Replicants will be different in the end somewhere. And you're right, that's part of the area that we will be involved with.
When it comes to the involvement of Scott, the director who started it all and who is currently revisiting the other sci-fi universe that he helped to launch as the director of Alien, Kosove gave a very guarded response.
I'm going to answer it very briefly—we won't say if we've reached out to Ridley Scott or not, but what we will say is that Ridley Scott's blessing to what we're doing is very important to Alcon. It's important to Bud [Yorkin], and certainly we have the greatest degree of respect to him as a filmmaker. He's one of the greatest living directors and one of the greatest directors of all time. So of course he's very important.
So, who would they like to helm a Blade Runner prequel or sequel? Oh, just a little director by the name of Christopher Nolan. Ever heard of him?
Our friend Chris Nolan who we did Insomnia [with] would be in the pie in the sky for us. ... To be clear I think what Chris Nolan did...the methodology that Chris Nolan brought to Batman is precisely what we aspire to whomever the filmmaker is, whether Ridley comes back and joins us or it's someone else. It's precisely what we aspire to with Blade Runner, that's the template for us.