Ridley Scott seems like one of those guys who is going to be directing movies right up until the moment he finally keels over mid-take at the ripe old age of 107. He just seems unstoppable. He hasn't even released his latest film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” and he's already shooting his next one, “The Martian,” based on the popular book by Andy Weir.
It does not appear, however, that he will actually be directing the “Blade Runner” sequel that they've been discussing for the last few years. In an interview with “Variety” this week, Scott announced that he will not be helming the film, but that they are very close to getting another filmmaker onboard. Scott's been supervising the development of the script for a while now, working with Hampton Fancher, one of the writers of the original “Blade Runner.”
“We talked at length about what it could be, and came up with a pretty strong three-act storyline, and it all makes sense in terms of how it relates to the first one,” Scott told the trade, adding, “Harrison is very much part of this one, but really it”s about finding him; he comes in in the third act.”
So is that the new standard-issue storyline for these way-later-than-normal sequels? “TRON: Legacy” was all about hunting down the long-missing Flynn. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” focuses at least in part on a search for the long-missing Luke Skywalker. And now Ridley Scott says that the “Blade Runner” sequel will focus on a search for Rick Deckard. It seems like everyone's reaching the same conclusion, approaching these sequels in the same way. How familiar is that story shape going to feel by the time this one actually arrives in theaters?
I'm fascinated by something else that this week brought into focus for me. With “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars” both heading into theaters next year, we're seeing a major generational shift. Colin Trevorrow was a kid when the first “Jurassic Park” came out, and it influenced him in his goal to become a filmmaker. When we actually see “Jurassic World,” what we'll be looking at is officially sanctioned fan fiction made by someone who has had that first film rattling around inside them since childhood. The same thing is true of “Star Wars: Episode VII.” JJ Abrams was very clear to me in a conversation we had as he was just starting to develop his “Star Trek” reboot that his first love was George Lucas's galaxy far, far away, and everything I'm hearing from people who worked on the film is that his love of that universe is clear in every choice he made on this film. The new “Terminator” sequel goes one step further than many of these films by actually folding the events of the new film into the events of the original, and there will be some meticulous recreations of scenes and images from the 1984 film.
There are plenty of younger filmmakers who feel that way about “Blade Runner.” Hell, Charlie de Lauzarika, the guy who has been Ridley Scott's go-to home video producer, probably knows the “Blade Runner” universe better than anyone else working right now because of his extensive work restoring the film for that remarkable Blu-ray release a few years ago, and he recently made his directorial debut with a film called “Crave.” Charlie would approach this with the reverence and the love that would be required to really pull it off, and if there's anyone Ridley trusts, I would imagine it's him.
I've written about this new age of fan-fiction before, and I think it's accelerating. Truth be told, I still don't want a “Blade Runner” sequel. I am terrified that they're going to take any of the ambiguity of the first film and flush it down the toilet. Whatever happens, the original film remains a classic, and I'm certainly not going to get upset if the new one isn't good. But we are in a strange time right now, with the plundering of pop culture proceeding at a pace that is breathtaking, and for guys like Spielberg, Scott, Cameron, and Lucas, looking at their own work being reflected back at them by the kids who were raised on it has got to be one of the weirdest possible moments.