– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The time is fast-approaching for any longstanding bets of a BLADE RUNNER sequel to be paid up. Despite the practically interminable development time (almost 35 years) the film has had, it looks like momentum has finally caught for BLADE RUNNER 2, as Alcon Entertainment, Sony, and WB have finally announced that the film will begin shooting this coming July.

That’s right. While all of us are kicking back watching THE BFG, GHOSTBUSTERS, and STAR TREK BEYOND, BLADE RUNNER 2 will officially be in production. On board as director is Denis Villenueve, who has been on a role with films like PRISONERS and SICARIO. Returning to the franchise will be Harrison Ford, who seems to be making a pretty penny off of long-awaited sequels as of late, and joining the BLADE RUNNER mythos will be talented pretty boy Ryan Gosling.

Check out the official press release below:

“LOS ANGELES, CA, JANUARY 25, 2016 – Sony Pictures Releasing International will distribute Alcon Entertainment’s follow-up to Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece BLADE RUNNER in all overseas territories in all media; with Warner Bros. Pictures distributing in North America and Canada through its output agreement with Alcon, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. 

Denis Villeneuve is directing the film starring Ryan Gosling (THE BIG SHORT) and Harrison Ford (STAR WARS) who is reprising his role as Rick Deckard. Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original) and Michael Green have written the original screenplay based on an idea by Fancher and Ridley Scott. The story takes place several decades after the conclusion of the 1982 original.

Alcon Entertainment acquired the film, television and ancillary franchise rights to BLADE RUNNER in 2011 from the late producer Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic science-fiction thriller. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will produce along with Johnson and Kosove. Bud Yorkin will receive producer credit.

Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. Ridley Scott will also executive produce.

The film marks Villenueve’s third collaboration with 13-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins, who will serve as cinematographer, following Alcon’s PRISONERS and the hit drug-trafficking drama SICARIO, which brought Deakins his latest Oscar nomination.

Principal photography on Villenueve’s new BLADE RUNNER film is scheduled to begin in July 2016.

States Kosove and Johnson: “We are excited to work with Tom Rothman, Michael Lynton and then entire Sony team on this very special project as well as maintaining our important and long-standing relationship with our domestic partner Warner Bros. Pictures.”

States Tom Rothman: “At Sony, we have made a strong commitment to the international marketplace.  We know of few projects with greater international potential than the long dreamed of sequel to Blade Runner, especially given the all-star creative team Andrew and Broderick have assembled.  We are deeply grateful to everyone at Alcon, Denis and Ridley for entrusting us with such a gift.  Working on a Blade Runner film also fulfills a long-time personal ambition, as I deeply love and admire the original.”

Among its many distinctions, BLADE RUNNER has been singled out as one of the greatest movies of all time by innumerable polls and media outlets, and overwhelmingly as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications.

Released in 1982 by Warner Bros. Pictures, BLADE RUNNER was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and was directed by Ridley Scott, following his landmark film, Alien. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction) and is now regarded by media and cineastes as one of the greatest movies of all time and the defining vision of the cyberpunk genre. 

In 1993, BLADE RUNNER was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.”

Am I nervous about what this sequel may do to BLADE RUNNER? You bet I am. Even today, that first film holds up as a great example of provocative science fiction. To add onto that seems like an exercise in futility. But given the excellent talent involve, I’m confident that they’ll at least be able to create something interesting. Can they live up to thefirst one? Probably not. But who’s to say they have to in order to make something worth watching?

Are you looking forward to BLADE RUNNER 2? Let us know in the comments down below!

SOURCE: WB Press Release

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.