Perhaps 35 years isn’t such a long time when you consider it took 25 for Ridley Scott to make his Final Cut of the original Blade Runner. Blade Runner 2049 brings back replicant hunter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and a new group of Blade Runners and replicants.
At the Los Angeles press conference for the film, screenwriter Hampton Fancher recalled early ideas for a sequel not too long after the 1982 original.
“Through the ‘80s sometimes Ridley would give a call, ‘What do you think? Do you have any ideas? Maybe we should do something.’” Fancher recalled. “That kind of thing happened a couple of times. I did have some ideas so I flew out maybe twice to have meetings. We thought about going ahead but the rights were very confusing so nothing ever happened.”
Producer Cynthia S. Yorkin could speak more to the complicated Blade Runner rights. Her late husband Bud Yorkin was an uncredited producer of the original. He passed away in 2015 but had already begun the process of disentangling Blade Runner.
“We started over 12 years ago trying to get the rights untangled with a partner that was reluctant to see anything happen with Blade Runner,” Yorkin said. “It had been so many years, so kind of had to talk him into that first. That took quite a while so finally we got the rights straightened out, were able to pursue it.”
Production company Alcon entertainment, headed by Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, landed the rights.
“It was very important to us as a producing team to find people, a company that would be sensitive to and want to uphold the integrity of the film and continue the mythology in a way, bridge that mythology in an important, meaningful way,” Yorkin said. “We met Broderick and Andrew and Alcon and established a wonderful relationship. My husband was really, really taken with them and thought they were fantastic and smart and talented. So we teamed up with them and they really took this movie all the way home.”
Fancher dipped his toe back in the Blade Runner world before embarking on the new screenplay.
“I wrote a story about six years ago, a little story that involved the playbook so to speak, little short story,” Fancher said.
Yorkin believes her husband would be proud of the finished film.
“I’m very, very pleased that the dream of my husband and myself came true and the dream of this team has come true,” she said.
Blade Runner 2049 opens in theaters Friday, October 6. Look for more Blade Runner 2049 stories on Monsters and Critics including exclusives with the producers and screenwriters.