The Blade Runner sequel, titled Blade Runner 2049, is a case of knowns and unknowns at the moment. We know that Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) is directing from a script by Michael Green (Logan, Alien: Covenant) and Hampton Fancher (the original Blade Runner) with 13-time (!) Oscar-nominated Roger Deakins acting as the film’s cinematographer. The cast includes Mackenzie Davis, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Carla Juri, Barkhad Abdi, Robin Wright, Ryan Gosling and, of course, Harrison Ford, who is the only returning cast member who has been announced so far. We also know that it takes place 30 years after the setting of Ridley Scott‘s original and will likely focus on the title characters, law enforcement agents tasked with tracking down synthetic humans dubbed Replicants.
Ford will reprise his role as Replicant-hunter Rick Deckard when the film opens October 6, 2017. But just how big will his role actually be, and how much of the movie’s run time will he occupy? Fandango has the answer, and it might surprise you. They recently spoke to Gosling, who is doing his promotional tour for La La Land, and asked about his his work with Ford on the sequel. Here’s what he had to say:
I can say that we shot for many months before Harrison [Ford] arrived, and obviously there was a lot of anticipation as to when he would show up and how that would be, and it was just a relief. The second he got to set, he just rolled up his sleeves and we all just got to work. It was a real great pleasure to get to work with him.
Now that raises a few questions. Anyone hoping for a buddy cop comedy with Old Man Deckard and Gosling as a new recruit will probably be disappointed, but what does that mean for other potential plot ideas? And what exactly will Ford/Deckard’s role be in the film? Sure, he could have spent just as much time filming the sequel as the sequel spent filming without him, but he’s clearly not going to be in this thing from start to finish. He is 74, after all, so perhaps production was simply arranged to provide him the shortest possible shooting schedule. But what does this mean for his character?
Recently, Villeneuve said that this film wouldn’t be answering the “human vs replicant” question of Deckard’s nature–that’s fine since Scott answered that question years ago–but regardless of Deckard’s mortality, Ford is 100% human. That means the 35 years between films will undoubtedly show in the actor’s performance. However, this also complicates the mythology a bit. If Deckard is indeed a replicant, he should only have a four-year lifespan. Perhaps the Tyrell Corporation progressed beyond the limitations of the Nexus-6 models. Or perhaps Blade Runner 2049 is going with the ill-conceived Terminator route and will either de-age Ford or use computer-generated imagery to keep Deckard young. Time will tell! In the meantime, feel free to take to the comments to share your thoughts on what this means for Blade Runner 2049.