Making a sequel to a classic movie is never easy. The task becomes even more difficult when the original film came out more than three decades before the follow-up flick. But Denis Villeneuve did just that with Blade Runner 2049, which arrived 35 years after Ridley Scott's groundbreaking adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Villeneuve, who is known for making Arrival and Sicario, would have no problem returning to this richly futuristic mythos, although it would have to be through the conduit of a fresh story and cast of characters.
"It's such an inspiring space, the Blade Runner world," the director told Empire for the magazine's March issue. "The problem I have is the word 'sequel.' I think cinema needs original stories. But if you ask if I'd like to revisit this universe in a different way, I can say yes. It would need to be a project on its own. Something disconnected from both other movies. A detective noir story set in the future ... I wake up sometimes in the night dreaming about it."
Starring Ryan Gosling as a new android hunter by the name of K, Blade Runner 2049 was critically acclaimed and made a little over $260 million at the worldwide box office. Harrison Ford came back to play Rick Deckard. While the project didn't make a ton of money, it was (and is) a stylistic and narrative achievement that some fans consider to be better than its 1982 predecessor, which was also not an immediate or iconic success upon initial release.
"It was by far one of the most beautiful cinematic experiences," Villeneuve also said during his chat with Empire. "But I haven't watched the movie since the premiere. Making movies is a lot of joy and a lot of pain, and I have to make peace with all that. And I'm not at peace yet. It's gonna be a long time until I'm able to watch the film again."
The filmmaker's next big-screen release is Dune, another science fiction epic that also draws its main story from a celebrated genre author. Based on a script Villeneuve co-wrote with Eric Roth (Munich) and Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange), the big-budget and all-star adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal novel opens in theaters everywhere on Friday, Dec. 18.