In an unusual move, Alcon Entertainment has issued a press release seeking Harrison Ford to reprise his role as Rick Deckard, the burnt out replicant-hunting protagonist of 1982s Blade Runner. Confused? Yep, it’s weird – it seems Alcon just wanted the world to know they have an offer out to Ford, not that there’s been any official movement regarding his involvement.
Here’s how the official release put it:
“Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment (‘Prisoners,’ ‘The Blind Side,’ ‘The Book of Eli’) has an offer out to Harrison Ford to reprise his celebrated role of Rick Deckard in its Ridley Scott-directed sequel to ‘Blade Runner,’ it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.
Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the 1982 adaptation) and Michael Green are the screenwriters. While the story is being kept under wraps, it takes place several decades after the conclusion of the 1982 original.
State Johnson and Kosove: “We believe that Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have crafted with Ridley Scott an extraordinary sequel to one of the greatest films of all time. We would be honored, and we are hopeful, that Harrison will be part of our project.”
Little is known about the long-gestating sequel, but as the release mentions, both original director, Ridley Scott, and writer, Hampton Fancher, are on board with a script in hand. Perhaps this is Alcon’s way of trying to assuage fan fear by letting them know that the sequel is an attempt to stay true to the feel of the original. If so, and if Ford agrees, than perhaps we will have an answer to one of science fiction’s more compelling (and debatable, even between star and director) questions in cinema for some years now: Is he, or is he not, a replicant?
The 1982 film is long remembered for changing the landscape of the science fiction genre. Up until its release, the majority of science fiction films, regardless of topic, tended to depict the future in positive tones. However, Blade Runner’s dark depiction of the future was a noticeable shift not only in tone, but also in aesthetics.
Ford seems open to a revisit, having recently stated in a Reddit AMA, ” “I’m quite curious and excited about seeing a new script for Blade Runner if in fact the opportunity would exist to do another. If it’s a good script, I would be very anxious to work with Ridley Scott again. He’s a very talented and passionate filmmaker, and I think it would be very interesting to revisit the character.”
Scott, himself, has stated that Blade Runner is probably his most complete and personal film. The film is famous for its various cuts, many of which had the hands of movie executives tweaking its direction and tone. These various cuts, shown in different markets, contain noticeable differences. Some cuts include a famous voiceover by Ford at the end of the movie, whereas others remove it. Still other cuts include an extended scene of the famous eye test used to identify replicants, which many believe was intended to answer the question whether Deckard was indeed a replicant or not (to many, the scene was inconclusive). Scott was finally given full control with 2007’s Blade Runner: The Final Cut, which is now recognized as the director’s own intended vision of Blade Runner. It is this cut of the movie which contains the famous “unicorn dream sequence,” which many believed was Scott’s way of answering the question regarding Deckard’s humanity. However, to this day the question is still debated.
The original film was met with mixed reactions from both critics and audiences. Many felt that the story took a back seat to its special effects and thus suffered overall. In addition, its depiction of the future was very offsetting and polarizing for critics, perhaps because of its new (and dreary) outlook. Now considered a “cult classic,” in 1993 the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, and is hailed by many as one of the greatest science fiction film’s of all time.
Blade Runner is based off of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? If Ford returns for Blade Runner II, perhaps we will finally have our answer.