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Decades after it was considered a financial flop, Blade Runner is now up for a sequel. Alcon Entertainment, based out of Warner Bros., has been hot on the idea of a follow-up for a few years now. No other details have been shared about another Blade Runner until now. They're gonna need that old Blade Runner, they need his magic. That man is Harrison Ford.
Alcon put out a press release today (via Coming Soon) claiming an offer is out for Ford to return for the untitled Blade Runner 2, returning as his character Rick Deckard. The script has been written by the screenwriter from the original film, Hampton Fancher, with an assist from Michael Green (Green Lantern). It seems unclear as to whether Ridley Scott will direct, but he's got a busy dance card: he's just signed on to direct The Martian and has another unrevealed film slated for 2016. It sounds a lot like Alcon is eager to move on without him.
The question is, will Ford accept a part in Blade Runner 2? Harrison Ford is a 71 year old man and is coming off a string of box office bombs. Clearly he knows what side of his bread is buttered, however, as evidenced by the belated Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and his recently announced commitment to Star Wars Episode VII: The Creaking Bones Of The Elderly. But there was an audience demand for the return of Indy and Han, beloved characters from cherished movie series.
Blade Runner has only grown in stature since it was first released in 1982, landing a spot on AFI's list of the 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time and being added to the National Film Registry. But as far as recognizability, the Blade Runner fanbase is considerably smaller than some of Harrison Ford's other followings. The die-hards were vocal in support of the original film and its many cuts over the years, but still the film's mainstream profile has never really matched the level of some of the bigger sci-fi series. The movie is thirty two years old, and there are surely huge swaths of younger people who aren't even aware it exists! If a Blade Runner 2 popped up in theaters tomorrow, would anyone under the age of 25 even go?
If Ford does wind up signing on, that leaves us with big questions: what direction will Blade Runner 2 take the character, and what has he been up to in the years since the first one? Fans of the original know that the multiple cuts of the film differ as far as endings, but they're all pretty ambiguous and lead one to wonder how Deckard would even still be around thirty two years into the future. The is-he-or-is-he-not debate revolving around Deckard being a replicant remains a passionate one, and a sequel would have to come down hard on that question, potentially further alienating portions of the fanbase.
Just because Ridley Scott and Sean Young want to make Blade Runner 2 doesn't mean people want to see it, nor does it mean they'll understand it. This sequel has been in-the-works since 2011, but I wonder what shape it will be in if Ford says no. Could they make the movie without Deckard?