Everything we know about 'Blade Runner 2049'
From the film's setting to its mysterious characters, the dystopian world of 'Blade Runner' has never looked more hauntingly inviting.
Are you ready to return to the glittery, dirty, dystopian cityscape of "Blade Runner"?
Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who last year turned the head of critics with his alien invasion thriller "Arrival," is very carefully placing the finishing touches on "Blade Runner 2049." The film, which stars American actors Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, has been under intense fan scrutiny ever since the production was announced in February 2015.
"It’s the first time that I had to take the universe of someone else and to make it my own," Villeneuve said of the sequel. "It’s very challenging, the biggest artistic challenge I’ve had in my life probably."
"Blade Runner 2049" is slated to hit theaters on October 6, 2017. Below is everything we currently know about the film, its twisted world of artificial intelligence run amuck, and the characters trying to bring reason to a world warped by technology.
It picks up 30 years after the original and is set in Vegas and Los Angeles
Much like "The Force Awakens" kicked off the new Star Wars trilogy with events set 30 years after "The Return of the Jedi," the plot for "Blade Runner 2049" picks up three decades after the original's 2019 timeline. According to Gosling, the dystopian future envisioned by British director Ridley Scott in 1982 has become even more depressing.
"It's the same iconic universe, but it's changed over the course of the 30-year gap. It's a lot more bleak in some ways," Gosling shared at CinemaCon in March. "The director [Denis Villeneuve] describes it as toxic. But it's still the Blade Runner universe."
During a brief screening of footage from the film, director Villeneuve revealed that the film will include locations set in both a futuristic Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The first full-length trailer continues the original's look and feel
Those worried about Villeneuve coming up short on the look and feel of the "Blade Runner" universe had their concerns washed away after a viewing of the first trailer.
“I feel [the pressure] every day,” Villeneuve told Variety of his attempts to recreate Scott's vision. “At the same time, I’ve never been that inspired and excited. I love risk. All of my projects have come with a certain amount of artistic risk, or sometimes a risk of how you portray reality.
"...I’m used to pressure," he added. "For ‘Blade Runner,’ it’s artistic pressure, and by far the biggest ever.”
The second trailer builds on the Gosling/Ford relationship
While "Blade Runner 2049" is by no means a "buddy film," the second trailer definitely shows a lot more of the interaction and teamwork we can expect from Gosling and Ford. It's also clear that both the replicants and humans are after some kind of "key" to solving some major issue driving a wedge between both divisions.
Plot aside, each small preview is only building the hype for just how absolutely gorgeous the visuals of this film will be. Villeneuve's promise to do justice to the dystopian digital universe imagined by his predecessor is clearly being met.
Hiam Abbass has a mysterious role
It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but we believe we've spotted the first image of Israeli actress Hiam Abbass in the trailer. The Hollywood veteran, who grew up in the historic city center of Nazareth, Israel, has a very mysterious role that director Denis Villeneuve is keeping close to his chest. Whether she's human or a replicant is one of the mysteries we'll just have to wait to have answered.
A behind-the-scene featurette reveals some stunning footage
While featurettes in Hollywood are nothing new, it's rare to have one be as exceptionally good as this one. In addition to some new footage and dialogue, our ears are also given a welcome sample of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson's synth-filled soundtrack. And hey – who doesn't love a little holographic Frank Sinatra belting out the classic tune "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"?
It may open with an epic fight
Back in 2015, Ridley Scott revealed that the sequel's opening would begin with a cut sequence from the original film.
"We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film. We always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ – what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling – you can see for 20 miles," he said during a discussion at the AFI Festival. "No fences, just plowed, dry dirt."
Scott goes on to say that this bleak scene of a world gone to dust, which also features a dramatic fight, was meant to serve as an introduction Rick Deckard and the humanoid replicants. While it's unclear whether the scene will actually involve Gosling's character (or if it even made the final film at all), Scott was pretty excited about its potential inclusion. "I’m not going to say anything else – you’ll have to go see the movie," he added.
Update: The second trailer appears to show brief snippets of this fight scene between Gosling and a gigantic replicant. It seems that Scott finally realized the opening he had in mind for the original.
Robin Wright sets the tone
Fresh off her commanding turn in "Wonder Woman" opposite Israeli star Gal Gadot, American actress Robin Wright stars in "Blade Runner 2049" as Office K's stern-looking boss. In the trailer, Wright minces no words about the desperate situation of things.
"There is an order to things. That's what we do here: We keep order," she states. "The world is built on a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there's no wall, you bought a war."
Edward James Olmos is back
Best known for memorable roles on television series like "Dexter" and "Battlestar Galactica," American actor Edward James Olmos also cameoed as a mysterious cop named Gaff in the original "Blade Runner." After much fan speculation, Olmos confirmed earlier this year that, yes, he would be returning for the sequel.
“I signed a seven page non-disclosure contract," he told TheTRENDTalk show. "I did, my manager did, my agent did, everybody did. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody about it. Guess what? This is the first time that I’m telling the whole world, that yes, I am going to be Gaff in ‘Blade Runner 2049.'"
According to Olmos, his return will be a short lived one. "My role is like it was in the original – that time I only had four scenes, in this I only have one," he added. "But again, it’s a poignant little scene."
A desire for practical sets
According to Villeneuve, English cinematographer Roger Deakins was adamant about capturing a living, breathing world on set.
“Roger was insanely impressive in how he was able to create landscape with tricks,” Villeneuve told Variety. "For me it was beautiful. I think I can count on one hand how many times I saw a green screen in all of those months of shooting. There will be CG enhancements, of course, but as much as possible it was in-camera."
Gosling echoed Villeneuve's praise, adding that the scale of these practical sets was simply incredible.
"Everything was practical, all of the props were functional," he said. "It was a living, breathing universe while we were shooting it. So it was wonderful for us, because we were able to just focus on our characters and the emotional landscape."
It may reveal whether or not Rick Deckard is a replicant
At the end of "Blade Runner," audiences are left wondering if Harrison Ford's Deckard character is one of the very replicants he's charged with hunting down. While Ford has disputed the theory in interviews, Scott has done the opposite. According to him, Rick Deckard is not human and will be revealed as such in the sequel.
Villeneuve's response, meanwhile, is perfectly cryptic.
“We are still exploring the themes of memories and empathy,” he said during a Q&A. “That's still part of the deeper tissue ... of where the movie evolves in relation to what does it mean to be human.”
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