Alcon Entertainment has announced that they are in final negotiations to acquire the rights to the world of Blade Runner and elements from the short story that inspired the film, Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” With these rights they could make any number of sequels, prequels, or spinoffs of the 1982 classic. I can hear groans in the back of the room already, but one thing that Alcon producers would not be allowed to do is the dreaded straight remake, and as a matter of fact company co-founder Broderick Johnson says, “we never would want to remake it”. I’m not sure if he can be trusted though, if I were ever to write a screenplay for some sort of college comedy I would probably name the jerk head of the jock fraternity Broderick Johnson. He may be setting us all up for one big cinematic wedgie.
But taken at face value, all of the quotes coming out of the Alcon camp are saying all of the right things. They seem to be focusing less on the marketing potential of a potential franchise and more on the storytelling potential of Blade Runner’s rich mythology. Co-founder Andrew Kosove explained to 24 Frames, “The risk is not just getting a movie made but coming up with a story that really justifies coming back to one of the great science-fiction stories.”
When explaining the urge to return to this old material rather than come up with something new, he went on, “The Blade Runner lore is kind of irresistible. And the extraordinary pace of technological advancement since the movie came out means that there are a lot of opportunities to do something fresh.” He’s right that there have been a lot of technological advancements that could inform a sequel, but in my book Blade Runner is s great because it still feels fresh. Out of all the mobile tech and iPods and Jeopardy playing robots we’ve seen in the last ten years, what of it has advanced our thinking past the Replicants and screen covered universe of the original film? To make a sequel as much of a revelation as the original would take some visionary filmmaking.
So who is going to be doing the screenwriting and directing? At this point, it’s unknown. But Kosove did offer up some choice bits of speculation about getting Ridley Scott to return. He said, “We haven’t met Ridley, but the thought of re-engaging with his artistic vision is very exciting, and [him directing] is something we think would be wonderful.” So there you have it, a deal is almost done, sequels may happen, story is the main concern, and they’d love to have Ridley Scott come back. These decades-after-the-last-one sequels that have been cropping up recently don’t really have the best track record, but I don’t think anybody could ask for a better approach to making more Blade Runner than this.
What do you think? Are you ready for a possible prequel that could bring attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and C-beams glittering in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate to the big screen?