Sequels No One Asked For: Blade Runner Edition
London Ent/ Splash
Blade Runner is a classic. Arguably, it’s a masterpiece. But it’s from 1982, which means it must be revisited/reimagined for a contemporary audience because pop culture is a ravenous beast that survives on nostalgia and memes. Rumors of a potential Blade Runner sequel have been swirling for the last few years, and yesterday it was confirmed—Blade Runner 2 is happening and Harrison Ford will return to star as Deckard, one of the most mysterious protagonists in cinema. Is he a Replicant? Or isn’t he? Depends on which version of the film you watch—there are seven, thanks to studio tampering at the time of initial release and various subsequent alternate cuts—and also how much you privilege subtext. (Lainey: is that like how you see the white and gold dress but it’s really blue and black?)
I love Blade Runner, but I’m reluctant to revisit it in this way. Who wants to see Old Deckard? I’m similarly reluctant to see Old Han Solo in New New Star Wars, but I’m willing to go there because the approach to New New Star Wars is intriguing, and I’m cautiously optimistic JJ Abrams won’t betray the original characterization. I’m trying to find similar optimism for Blade Runner 2. Ole Grumpy Guts himself recently said he loved the script, and Ford is the grumpiest person alive, so I don’t think he’d say that just to say it.
And Denis Villeneuve will direct the sequel, which actually is kind of exciting. Villeneuve is on a tremendous run, from his Oscar-nominated Incendies to Prisoners to the criminally-overlooked Enemy. I’m interested to see what he’ll do with genre fare like Blade Runner. I just don’t want to answer the question. I don’t want to know for sure what Deckard is or isn’t. Part of Blade Runner’s specialness is its ambiguity. Sequels, by their very nature, destroy ambiguity. Blade Runner 2 feels like an answer no one really wants.
Attached – Ford and Calista Flockhart at the Laker game the other day.