Get ready for fall’s most-anticipated cinematic sci-fi sequel
It’s been 35 years since Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) chased down replicants – androids that look and behave exactly like humans – in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi cult-classic Blade Runner. And on October 6, Ryan Gosling steps into the replicant-hunting shoes in director Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated sequel as Officer K, who seeks out a reclusive Deckard for help saving humanity.
Here are five cool things you need to know about Blade Runner 2049.
1. Love the look of the film? Thank a Canadian!
Villeneuve is a Canuck, but so is his production designer, Oscar-winning Vancouver-born Dennis Gassner. Gassner (who earned his statuette for his work on Bugsy) is responsible for the way 2049 looks, from costumes and set design to lighting and camera angles. He’s also got a long list of visually stunning big-screen credits, including such diverse titles as Skyfall, The Truman Show, Into the Woods and O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
2. Whet your appetite with three über-cool short films.
Can’t wait for October 6? No problem! To amp up excitement for 2049’s release, three “prologue” shorts were commissioned, each one shedding light on a key plot point of the feature film.
This short, directed by Luke Scott (son of Ridley Scott), introduces Dave Bautista’s character, Sapper Morton, who’s a replicant on the run.
Also directed by Luke Scott, this short introduces Jared Leto’s character, scientist Niander Wallace, who’s trying to have the replicant prohibition repealed and who unveils the Nexus 9, his new line of replicants.
Unlike the other shorts, this one is anime. Directed by acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) and available exclusively on Crunchyroll, it’s set three years after the events in the first film, as a massive electromagnetic pulse plunges the world into darkness.
(Pssst. Want even more Blade Runner backstory? Check out the film’s official prologue site, Road to 2049.)
3. When worlds collide!
Ridley Scott helmed both Blade Runner and the original Alien film, and fans have long (long, long) been speculating that both franchises exist in the same cinematic universe. Over time, and thanks to some Easter eggs on DVDs of Alien (1999’s 20th-anniversary edition) and its prequel, Prometheus (2012), speculation has become fervent belief. And when the trailer for 2049 was released, eagle-eyed fans caught a glimpse of what looks like one of Prometheus’s “engineers” encased in a glass box. We’ll have to wait to see whether 2049 provides definitive answers, but be sure to check out the wealth of corroborating evidence Den of Geek has unearthed.
4. You can embrace the spirit of the film.
Looking to toast 2049’s release? You can raise a glass of a special limited-edition whisky. Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut was created in conjunction with Villeneuve as a nod to the original Blade Runner, in which Deckard shares shots of JW with Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh). Only 39,000 bottles of The Director’s Cut will be produced, and will be available in the same custom bottle fans will see Ford and Gosling use in 2049.
5. Its projected opening-weekend box-office take is expected to be more than the entire budget for the first film.
There’s no denying fans are excited to see Blade Runner 2049, and industry experts are speculating that it could earn US$40-47 million in its opening weekend – which is considerably more than the meagre-by-today’s-standards US$28-million production budget of the original. And with 2049’s budget rumoured to be anywhere from US$150 to US$180 million, the studio will no doubt want every box-office dollar it can get.