There may be more Blade Runner in our future, and I’m not just talking about how Ridley Scott’s 1982 film predicted the rise corporate conglomerates and nearly ever-present advertising in our lives.
Alcon Entertainment, the Warner Brothers based production company that The Blind Side and The Book Of Eli, are in final negotiations to secure the prequel and sequel rights to Scott’s classic science-fiction film from its producer Bud Yorkin.
The original film starred Harrison Ford as a police officer who specialized in the hunting down of “replicants,” a type of cloned worker slave class created to work in conditions too harsh for normal humans to endure, being called out of retirement to chase down a group of replicants who have escaped from an off-world colony and have returned to Earth to find their creator. Not much of a hit with critics or the public when it was first released, its fusion of film noir and cyberpunk literary influences have lead Blade Runner to be re-evaluated as a classic in the years since.
While I am sure that there are some who will reflexively moan about tampering with a classic like Blade Runner, let us note that Yorkin is not selling the remake rights to the film. As per the press release –
Alcon’s franchise rights would be all-inclusive, but exclude rights to remake the original. The Company, however, may produce projects based on situations introduced in the original film. The project would be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. International rights are yet to be determined.
This is an interesting and important distinction. (And besides, it’s not like Scott himself wasn’t above tampering with Blade Runner himself.) That still leaves a lot of room to play in as Scott’s film hinted at a rich universe of story-telling possibilities. It also leads me to wonder if we won’t see similar kinds of deals in the future.
I think the big question, though, is what tack any possible sequel will take. If you haven’t seen the original film, and shame on you if you haven’t, its ending leaves certain issues ambiguous. Do we want to see those issues addressed, as any supplied answer will not satisfy everyone who has discussed and debated the film in the three decades since its release? Personally, I don’t. I would rather they leave those elements off to the side and use a sequel or prequel to further explore Scott’s dystopian future.