Blade Runner 2049 is arguably a better film that Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi classic, but it does differ in one major respect—the theatrical cut is the final cut. Scott has tinkered with his Blade Runner over the years, resulting in various cuts of the film being released, but director Denis Villeneuve has no plans to alter Blade Runner 2049—even if fans are clamoring to see a rumored much longer cut of the movie.
Indeed, the film’s editor previously revealed to Collider that the first cut of the film clocked in at four hours, and the filmmaking team very briefly considered releasing the movie in two parts. That notion obviously never came to fruition, but those holding out hope that we’ll eventually see the four-hour cut on home video will be disappointed to hear that Villeneuve has no plans to release that version. Speaking with ScreenCrush, he explained just what was up with that four-hour cut:
“The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs] No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
Villeneuve says he won’t be releasing the four-hour cut, saying it “doesn’t work” as a finished film, and adds that while the first cut was strong, he doesn’t particularly miss what came out:
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. I must say, apart from Touch of Evil and Blade Runner, I have never seen a director’s cut that was better than the original. I mean, I’m not a fan at all of Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought it was a massive mistake to do Apocalypse Now Redux. It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual.”
I certainly understand Villeneuve’s reasoning, but contrary to some runtime complaints, I couldn’t get enough of Blade Runner 2049 and would love if Warner Bros. and/or Alcon released that extended cut on Blu-ray. But if Villeneuve has his way, we’ll never see it.