Ridley Scott for Blade Runner II?
When I returned from my long weekend break I never really expected to be hearing that Ridley Scott had officially signed up for a Blade Runner sequel or prequel, but that appears to be the news over the weekend and I can hardly believe. I did do a double take for the date, no, not April.
Exact details are sketchy, but it would seem that Scott has signed on to "shepherd" the story towards a "new, exciting direction" to quote the production company. Now does that mean he's directing?
Now while there are suggestions of directing the film, I'm more careful in reading those words from Alcon Entertainment, they say, through The Guardian:
"We are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction..."
"We are huge fans of Ridley's and of the original Blade Runner. This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for us...The idea was always to go right to Ridley and that's exactly what we did." He added that having Scott attached "gives people a level of comfort about how serious we are."
Directing? The word shepherd doesn't really scream to me that he's directing, it sounds more like he's Executive Producing, guiding everyone else in his universe while another director takes on the task of delivering a sequel to Blade Runner, or indeed a prequel, because the deal for Alcon includes the two options, not a remake.
The original Blade Runner is based on the sequel and prequel-less Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, although novels bridging the book to the film were written by K. W. Jeter, they were never really that well received.
The film is set in an overpopulated Earth where humanity has taken to colonising space. They have become so much more advanced in so many ways, and yet have never progressed in others. One massive leap forward is the development of artificially intelligent robots who are so lifelike that they indeed have created a new form of life. Called Replicants, they have developed enough to understand their own existence and to question it, and so they often escape the bonds of human servitude.
Blade Runner refers to the main character of Rick Deckard who is tasked with finding and bringing down a gang of replicants who have escaped from a colony in deep space and have come to Earth, and in the process he'll find that he'll question more than just his mission.
So could we get a sequel? Well the original Blade Runner was left in a position where there were enough questions to allow a sequel to be made, but I wonder if that would just be too close to the original, something that is definitely off limits because we all know anything going near that original film would be up against a tide of negative feeling from the outset.
I think it's going to be set in the universe of the Blade Runner and utilise everything from the story but not anything directly from the original. Perhaps referencing it directly, but not carrying forward characters or direct storylines.
There is of course the option for a prequel, but again it's only going to be a prequel or sequel if they directly take a storyline or characters from the original, and that's not a great idea either. I think the strongest possibility is to go to the future and follow another Blade Runner, building a more important story about the replicants and their desire to understand their own creation and reason for being here.
What do you think? How could a new Blade Runner work, and will it work if Ridley Scott is not directing, would it work if he was?