Comic-Con: Five things you need to know about 'Blade Runner 2049'

Brian Truitt
USA TODAY
View Comments

SAN DIEGO — It’s been 35 years since director Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner but some things never change, like the arresting neo-noir world or Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard still dealing with melancholia and loneliness.

Ryan Gosling stars as Officer K in 'Blade Runner 2049.'

However, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) gets to make that futuristic sandbox very much his own in Blade Runner 2049, the sci-fi sequel (in theaters Oct. 6) that stars Ryan Gosling as Officer K. Like Deckard decades before, K is a blade runner, an L.A. Police Department operative who hunts down extremely humanoid androids called replicants. In the process, K uncovers a secret that could throw Earth into complete chaos and goes searching for Deckard.

Comic-Con: Sophie Turner, Gwendoline Christie rule at 'Game of Thrones' panel

Comic-Con: 'The Defenders' continues the expansion of Netflix's Marvel world

Ahead of Saturday morning’s Warner Bros. Comic-Con panel featuring the movie, Villeneuve doles out five things his fellow Blade Runner fans need to know about the sequel:

The climate has gone downhill in the 30 years since the original 'Blade Runner.'

The environment has gone seriously downhill.

To say Earth’s weather conditions are problematic would be an understatement, and it’s the main difference between the first Blade Runner and its follow-up set 30 years later. “The ecosystem collapsed and climate is totally unpredictable and harsh. The world is just even more unfriendly,” Villeneuve says. “The good news is we are still here, and in a way there is optimism in the darkness. The frontiers between humanity and what is design become even more blurred.”

The world of 'Blade Runner 2049' is still visually arresting but an EMP blast from the past wiped out their digital records.

Sorry, guys, there’s no Internet in the future.

It’s a bit of backstory but important: A blackout event has occurred between movies, “an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that destroyed all the records,” Villeneuve says. “The digital world went away, so they lost track of everything. In this world, there’s another way of dealing with memory, which is that they went back to a more analog approach. It’s a world where we are back into a physical world so we need blade runners.”

The color yellow plays a visually important role in the world of 'Blade Runner 2049.'

The color yellow is very important.

Because Blade Runner is a movie that deals with memory, Villeneuve specifically chose yellow, because there’s a link with childhood but also with madness. “It’s interesting to think that the equilibrium is not broken but as you grow up, the color becomes dangerous.”

Director Denis Villeneuve (far right) goes over storyboards with star Harrison Ford.

The first film's mysteries remain intact.

When talking with Scott (who's an executive producer), Villeneuve realized quickly that one of the key things he needed to do was keep hidden some of the aspects that were introduced in the first movie, like how replicants are made and what it looks like off-world. “There’s a certain blur about the world outside of L.A. and what that looks like,” Villeneuve says. “I did my best to protect the mystery. It’s my favorite thing in cinema, what we don’t show.”

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the 'Blade Runner' franchise is whether Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a replicant or not.

Deckard is definitely a replicant. Or not.

In the original theatrical version of Blade Runner that Villeneuve grew up watching, there’s a voiceover that makes it clear he’s human. And then Scott did a director’s cut that made it seem like he could be a replicant. Those closest to the movie are “still at war about that”: Ford says Deckard is a real dude who falls for a replicant, while Scott thinks it’s more interesting that he slowly discovers he himself is a robot. “After 35 years, they still strongly believe,” Villeneuve says. “They didn’t give away their position.”

So will Villeneuve finally give fans a definitive answer? “At the end of the day, what’s more interesting is the question,” he says cryptically. “I like the idea that in 2049, Deckard is still doubting his identity.”

 

View Comments