Though Blade Runner 2049 was popular among critics and audiences alike, it seemed no one was watching it. Due to its lackluster returns – $260m globally from an apparent $150m budget before marketing costs – it looked as though the big screen future of Blade Runner was a grim one. But, there may be hope.
Denis Villeneuve – arguably one of the most underrated, critically consistent directors in the business – is still very much interested in the universe. “It’s such an inspiring place, the Blade Runner world.” the Arrival director told Empire.
He added, “The problem [I] have is the word ‘sequel.’ I think cinema needs original stories. But if you ask me 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.”
Although Blade Runner 2049 had a limited audience, it has remained in the public eye, popping up on multiple lists of best Sci-Fi films. It’s visuals, crafted by the often imitated but never duplicated Roger Deakins haven’t hurt its longevity either – the cliche phrase that every frame is a painting is undoubtedly true.
I mean, just look at it.
Look at it.
There is clearly an interest in the franchise too. Recently Titan Comics released Blade Runner 2019, a series helmed by 2049 screenwriter Michael Green.
There is also an anime project in development. Titled Blade Runner – Black Lotus, the series is set to take place ten years after the prequel anime. That prequel, established in 2022, covered a significant event that took place between the original film and Blade Runner 2049.
Blade Runner – Black Lotus also has some serious pedigree involved. It’s being developed by heavy hitters of the anime industry, including Shinji Aramaki, who directed the Appleseed films, Kenji Kamiyama, who directed the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series, and Shinichirō Watanabe, the director of Cowboy Bebop.
Whether we will ever see Villeneuve return to this universe or not remains to be seen. I personally hope so – seeing Blade Runner 2049 in the cinema was a transcendent experience, the likes of which I fear may be numbered.