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How Blade Runner 2049 Convinced Harrison Ford To Return

Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049

Sequels don't usually take 35 years to reach theaters. And yet, later this year, a sequel that has been 35 years in the making will land theaters when Denis Villeneuve explores Sir Ridley Scott's futuristic environments in Blade Runner 2049. The Sicario and Arrival director cast Ryan Gosling in the lead role of K, a hardened LAPD officer on a mysterious case that has him crossing paths with Rick Deckard. Yes, THAT Rick Deckard, played in the original by Harrison Ford.

At San Diego Comic-Con, where Blade Runner 2049 is about to unleash new footage on the world, director Denis Villeneuve talked to CinemaBlend about how key producers from Alcon worked tirelessly behind the scenes to negotiate the rights to the Blade Runner franchise, so that a sequel COULD happen. And as the cards started to fall, they found themselves recruiting Harrison Ford for his very important part. Said Villeneuve:

The first thing they did was to approach Ridley, of course. They said, 'We are able to do it, and we'd love to do it with you.' And Ridley came back to them, after 15 minutes, and said, 'Fly to London now!'So they met with Ridley, and Ridley had a lot of ideas. Because the thing is, when he did the first original Blade Runner, what he told me is that he had the desire to follow Deckard on other stories. This was a universe that was open. You had a detective living in the future. This was not the intention to be just one movie. The desire was there. It's just that so much shit that happened on the first movie that it froze there. He thought it was dead.So they went to Ridley and they went to [screenwriter] Hampton Fancher and both of them had the idea to do a sequel that excited a lot of people, and as soon as they got the idea, they phoned Harrison. I think, at the early stage of screenwriting, they asked him. Because, without Harrison, there was no movie. And Harrison said yes, so they developed the script. Harrison was there before me. I didn't [cast] Harrison. I had to be approved by Harrison. That's a different thing, you know? [Laughs] When I agreed to make the screenplay, I needed to meet Ridley, to hear from his own voice that he wanted me to do this. And then I had to meet Harrison. To be scanned by Harrison to make sure that I was Harrison Ford approved.

One reason why we remain excited for Blade Runner 2049 is because it has the support of several original players, with original screenwriter Hampton Fancher returning to pen the script, original director Ridley Scott serving as an executive producer, and original star Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard. At the same time, handing the reigns to a brilliant filmmaker like Denis Villeneuve means that we are in store for something creative and envelope-pushing. The man specializes in intelligent science-fiction that connects big-screens visuals to contemporary human quandaries. Handing him the keys to the Blade Runner sandbox should guarantee a masterpiece. So far, it looks like this:

Blade Runner 2049 opens in theaters on October 6. We hope to have more coverage from the movie as San Diego Comic-Con rolls on. It's expected to be part of Warner's Saturday morning panel, so keep it locked here.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.