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Ridley Scott To Direct A "Follow Up" To Blade Runner: I Do Not Think "Fresh and Original" Means What You Think It Means

By Rob Payne | Industry | August 19, 2011 |

By Rob Payne | Industry | August 19, 2011 |

You know, generally speaking, I’m not opposed to any and all adaptations, remakes, sequels, prequels, reboots, or the occasional reborquel. I think that basically any story can be elaborated on, or extrapolated from, or retold with better tools or by better creators. Shakespeare revisited older plays and stories all the time, and some fantastic films have been made by adapting his work. Marvel and DC reconfigure their comic book characters whenever a new creative team takes over, and often times the What Ifs, the Elseworlds, and other alternate universes tell better stories than the source. Hell, a lot of the best movies ever made were books or TV shows or plays before they were turned into films. Japan has been retelling the tale of the 47 Ronin practically every single year since the incident occurred and the first play was produced, and now they do it on television, too.

The idea that everything has to be exhaustively “original” doesn’t hold much water with me — originality is more in the telling, I think, than individual story components. New products are good and desirable, but new ideas are hard to come by. And “new” doesn’t automatically mean “better” and “remake” doesn’t always mean “piece of shit.” I’m probably one of the only people excited for Christopher Nolan to wrap up his Dark Knight trilogy because, not only do I think it will be (at the very least) pretty all right, but that means Warner Bros. will bankroll a new take on a movie Batman, and I want as much Batman as possible. The character works in every medium, in every kind of genre, and I’m selfish like that.

All that said, Blade Runner is not a fucking franchise.

It is not a sequel, or a prequel, or whatever Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment mean by “follow up,” and thankfully they can’t legally just re-make it. But the movie does not need a new beginning and it does not need a new end. It is neither the middle of a story nor the start of another, though, it could be the ending to a story that doesn’t need to be told. Neither Rick Deckard nor Roy Batty necessitate their own …Begins. Even Philip K. Dick, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which the movie was loosely based on, believed it was perfect. Blade Runner holds itself up, completely on its own, like so many of Philip Marlowe’s cases.

It is not a fucking franchise.

But, as of March of this year, some project surrounding the Blade Runner universe (should the narrative even be quantified in such terms) was inevitable. Except, it seems, for a remake, which while technically good, I do think a closer adaptation of the Do Androids Dream… novel might actually be tolerable. Ridley Scott’s adaptation took a quite a few artistic licenses, after all.

Saving that, however, Scott doing a “follow up” at least means whatever shape the new movie takes, it ought to be faithful to the original. But I was with Dustin in thinking that Deadline’s initial story was complete and utter bullshit. Especially since the septuagenarian is still working on a non-prequel prequel to Alien. Then the producers issued a press release, and the co-head of Alcon followed up by saying, “We [are] very fortunate that Ridley Scott has decided to come back to one of his seminal movies,” adding that simply having the director on board ostensibly makes it, “fresh and original.”

Obviously, I have my doubts about that assertion. As much as I love Ridley Scott, he did turn what should have been a very “original” and “fresh” Nottingham into the fairly standard Robin Hood. He is also a particularly up-and-down filmmaker, so while I am hopeful about Prometheus, that would theoretically put this Blade Runner thing on the downside of that scale. I guess there’s always the hope that this ends up as yet another ill-fated Hollywood cash-in that never passes the idea stage. My cynical nature says we have a 50/50 shot. That isn’t exactly comforting, is it?

All I know for sure is, Blade Runner is not a fucking franchise.

Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show We’re Not Fanboys, and is just another replicant on the Twitter @RobOfWar.

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