Yet another classic Ridley Scott film is getting a sequel. The French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is in talks to direct the next installment of the director’s 1982 sci-fi movie Blade Runner, and Harrison Ford will reprise his role as the bounty hunter Rick Deckard. Production will begin in 2016—34 years after the original film was released.
The news comes only a week after the announcement that director Neill Blomkamp will make a sequel to Scott’s other famous sci-fi franchise, Alien. We imagine the sequel to Gladiator will be announced any day now.
If you’re a skeptical Blade Runner fan who thinks there’s no reason to make a sequel to one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time—you might have a point. Blade Runner was the rare sci-fi film to end on a pitch-perfect note (including this stunning speech by Rutger Hauer), leaving many lingering questions that are better off unanswered—including whether or not Ford’s android-hunter Deckard was actually an android himself.
Its ambiguity was the film’s biggest strength, though Scott’s director’s cut of the film made that central question a bit less ambiguous. A sequel that answers too many questions definitively could contaminate that legacy.
But consider this: Villeneuve is one of the most skilled directors working today, and he thrives on ambiguity. His last two films, Prisoners and Enemy (both starring Jake Gyllenhaal), were superb. The surreal Enemy, in particular, is a film without real answers to any of the questions it raises. Prisoners, though more straightforward in its storytelling, also has a beautifully ambiguous ending.
If anyone has the potential to make a Blade Runner sequel work, it’s Denis Villeneuve.
For the 72-year-old Ford, this will be the third time he plays an iconic character that he first portrayed many years earlier. In 2008, he reprised his role as everyone’s favorite archaeologist in the (disastrous) fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise. And this December, he’ll once again play the coolest guy in the galaxy, Han Solo, in JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Like the upcoming Star Wars film, the Blade Runner sequel will take place several decades after the conclusion of the original film.
Blade Runner is a film that needs no sequel. But if one must be made, the hiring of Villeneuve offers some reassurance that it will not be ruinous.