Blade Runner 2049’s New Making-Of Featurette Gives You a Sneak Peek Inside the Long-Awaited Sequel

All of us who excit­ed­ly write about Blade Run­ner 2049, the upcom­ing sequel to Blade Run­ner, have at some point described the film as “long-await­ed.” Since the orig­i­nal came out in 1982, that makes a cer­tain lit­er­al sense, but the wait has­n’t stretched to 35 years with­out cause. As Blade Run­ner rose high­er and high­er in stature, fol­low­ing it up prop­er­ly grew into a more and more daunt­ing chal­lenge. But now, as Blade Run­ner 2049 approach­es its Octo­ber release, the prospect that this most respect­ed of all sci­ence-fic­tion movies will have its con­tin­u­a­tion feels more real than ever — and it will feel even more real than that after you watch the short mak­ing-of fea­turette above.

Philip K. Dick, the pro­lif­ic author of Blade Run­ner’s source mate­r­i­al, a nov­el called Do Androids Dream of Elec­tric Sheep?, rec­og­nized imme­di­ate­ly how impor­tant the film would become. But its direc­tor Rid­ley Scott admits that he “could nev­er have imag­ined how icon­ic it would still be” today.

Though he did­n’t return to direct Blade Run­ner 2049, ced­ing the chair to Sicario and Arrival direc­tor Denis Vil­leneuve and tak­ing on the role of pro­duc­er instead, he does make quite a few appear­ances in this fea­turette as a kind of pre­sid­ing spir­it. “Blade Run­ner rev­o­lu­tion­ized the way we view sci­ence fic­tion,” says Vil­leneuve. “I’ve nev­er felt that much pres­sure on my shoul­ders — think­ing that Rid­ley Scott will see this movie.”

But more than any­thing the cast and film­mak­ers have to say, Blade Run­ner fans will savor the video’s glimpses of the new pic­ture’s aes­thet­ic, clear­ly both mod­eled after and delib­er­ate­ly made dif­fer­ent from that of the orig­i­nal. As the title makes obvi­ous, the sto­ry takes place thir­ty years after Blade Run­ner’s 2019, and just as things have changed in our world, so they’ve changed in its world — not least in the form of a Kore­an influ­ence that has its found its way in with the Japan­ese and Chi­nese ones that so char­ac­ter­ized Blade Run­ner’s future Los Ange­les. “Defin­ing this was like walk­ing on a knife’s edge,” says pro­duc­tion design­er Den­nis Gassner, “rid­ing the line between the orig­i­nal film and what we’re doing now.”

If you’d like to com­pare the build-up to Blade Run­ner 2049 with the build-up to Blade Run­ner, have a look at its own thir­teen-minute pro­mo­tion­al fea­turette above. Made well before the time of the mod­ern inter­net, let alone mod­ern inter­net videos, this 16-mil­lime­ter film pro­duc­tion, which fea­tured Scott, “visu­al futur­ist” Syd Mead, and spe­cial effects artist Dou­glas Trum­bull, cir­cu­lat­ed by mak­ing the screen­ing rounds sci-fi, fan­ta­sy, and even hor­ror con­ven­tions all across Amer­i­ca. Few movies, let alone sequels, have built up as much antic­i­pa­tion as Blade Run­ner 2049 has, and even few­er have such a lega­cy to live up to. At least the film­mak­ers can rest assured that, if the crit­ics don’t hap­pen to like it, well, they did­n’t like the first one either.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Offi­cial Trail­er for Rid­ley Scott’s Long-Await­ed Blade Run­ner Sequel Is Final­ly Out

Philip K. Dick Pre­views Blade Run­ner: “The Impact of the Film is Going to be Over­whelm­ing” (1981)

The Blade Run­ner Pro­mo­tion­al Film

Blade Run­ner is a Waste of Time: Siskel & Ebert in 1982

The Art of Mak­ing Blade Run­ner: See the Orig­i­nal Sketch­book, Sto­ry­boards, On-Set Polaroids & More

How Rid­ley Scott’s Blade Run­ner Illu­mi­nates the Cen­tral Prob­lem of Moder­ni­ty

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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