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The following will dive heavily into Blade Runner 2049 plot points. Spoilers abound, so stop reading now if you haven't yet seen this film.
Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is a meticulously crafted and intricate sci-fi sequel to a beloved cult classic. Despite its lengthy run time, it's evident that each and every scene exists for a specific reason, contributing new pieces to an elaborate puzzle that concludes with Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) reuniting with the daughter he left behind decades ago. Only, this wasn't always going to be the ending, as co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher explains to The L.A. Times:
In my script, Deckard died at the end.
Interesting. Hampton Fancher, who also wrote the original Blade Runner, apparently has a version of a Blade Runner 2049 script where Rick Deckard would meet his maker in the finale. Fancher even expands that he had a very different job in mind for Deckard, one that he describes to the L.A. Times as being "kind of horrifying," and he holds back on revealing what it is because, with Deckard surviving the finale of Blade Runner 2049, the potential of exploring this avenue remains on the board.
Not the case for K, the Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049. Though the movie might have what appears to be an ambiguous ending -- with K catching snowflakes, then laying down on the stairs after delivering Deckard to see his daughter -- co-screenwriter Michael Green explains to Entertainment Weekly that K most certainly is dead, and this wasn't supposed to be an open-ended, debatable plot point. Green says:
I was surprised to find out that anyone thought he didn't die. And I can say this: the non-casual fan might recognize the music cue that plays in that moment.
EW points out that the music cue is a callback to this scene in the original movie, "Time to Die," with Harrison Ford and the great Rutger Hauer:
It took 35 years for a sequel to Blade Runner to make its way to theaters. Sadly, audiences aren't exactly flocking to the movie, despite rave reviews (like the one handed down by our own Eric Eisenberg). Maybe these discussions about the intricate mysteries of Blade Runner 2049 can generate public awareness and interest? Because Denis Villeneuve has created a memorable sequel and a fantastic visual return to a spectacularly original film environment, and the joy of Blade Runner 2049 is getting lost in the twisty narrative. Have you seen it yet? Do you agree?