How a short story and a strange acid trip inspired Blade Runner 2049

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Sep 19, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 is easily one of the most-anticipated films of the fall. A long-awaited sequel to a sci-fi classic, it features a stellar cast (led by Ryan Gosling and a returning Harrison Ford), a great director (Arrival's Denis Villeneuve) and the involvement of original director Ridley Scott and original writer Hampton Fancher. 

Despite the buzz surrounding the film (helped along by dazzling trailers) we actually know very little about what we're going to actually see. Sure, we're expecting Villeneuve to bring some incredible visuals to the party, along with plenty of sci-fi action, but the story has been kept a closely guarded secret pretty much since the development process began back in 2011. We know a new Blade Runner named K (Gosling) is searching for Deckard (Ford) to help unravel some kind of dark secret, and we know that an eccentric manufacturer (Jared Leto) is building a new generation of replicants. That's kind of it in terms of the big picture, and it'll probably stay that way right up until the film's release.

We do, however, now have some intriguing new stories from the making of the film thanks to an expansive and insightful piece from Brian Raftery at Wired. The whole process of Blade Runner 2049 began with a dinner Scott shared in London with Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, a pair of producers who'd picked up the rights to a Blade Runner sequel. They were eager to move forward with the project and wanted to see if Scott could come aboard. The director, who'd longed to return to Blade Runner's dark future for some time, enthusiastically agreed.

Scott then set about trying to getting Fancher to come aboard, though the two famously butted heads while making the original film (Scott ultimately brought in David Peoples to work on Blade Runner's script). Fancher, luckily, had been working on a short story, and though its title (if it had one) isn't revealed here, it apparently formed the basis for Gosling's Agent K character. A short story became a treatment, and that became a script that wound up in the hands of Michael Green (Logan), who went to work on a new draft. The resulting product was a confidential screenplay, so secretive that the team developed a code name: "Acid Zoo." Why? Because apparently Fancher took LSD once and spent his trip staring at gorillas. From there, casting began and from there we got all the way here, to the verge of returning to the Blade Runner universe.

So, while we may still know very little about 2049's eventual story, we now know a little more about its humble (drug-induced) beginnings.

Blade Runner 2049 his theaters October 6.