Blade Runner 2049 ended on a cliffhanger with Decker being reunited with his daughter along with introducing the Replicant Freedom Movement having growing numbers on Earth.
However, if Denis Villeneuve returns for a third Blade Runner movie he revealed to Empire that he wants to make a noir detective story that is unconnected to the previous two movies.
Villeneuve looked back at his experience working on the film – and hinted that he might not be done with that universe yet. “It’s such an inspiring place, the Blade Runner world,” he says – adding that he would be interested in another movie if it was ‘unconnected’ from the first two.
VILLENEUVE: “The problem is 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.”
The universe is certainly much bigger than Decker and Los Angeles, so I don’t blame Denis wanting to take an original direction with his hypothetical Blade Runner 3.
While we don’t know for certain what Villeneuve has in mind, we have some suggestions.
NINE OFF-WORLD COLONIES
If I’m Denis and I wanted to make a Blade Runner story that isn’t connected to the first two movies, I’d start thinking about moving outside the city of Los Angeles, the drab futuristic dystopian main location of the franchise.
This could allow him to introduce and explore brand new characters without having to link to the previous lead characters.
It seems odd that as humans now can travel to multiple other planets why we’ve only seen L.A. in this universe.
In the original 1982 film, the Shimata-Dominguez Corporation (possibly made to echo Weyland) is behind an advertisement for Off-World Colonies and might be the company that spearheads recruitment to find people willing to move off-world.
“A new life awaits you in the Off-World Colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.”
Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace reveals that by 2049 humans have colonized nine different planets and Decker was being carted off-world before K rescues him.
I’d personally love to see Denis branch-out by tackling a noir detective story within one of these colonies considering we’ve never seen any of these places explored.
The original Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? establishes that Mars is one of those colonies.
There is a fantastic Sean Connery movie from 1981 titled Outland that could be an inspiration for a colony setting.
Thriller about an honest marshal in a corrupt mining colony on Io, Jupiter’s sunless third moon, who is determined to confront a violent drug ring even though it may cost him his life. After his wife angrily deserts him, he waits alone for the arrival of killers hired by the company to eliminate him.
Taking beats from Outland likely wouldn’t be an issue since it was released by Warner Bros. back in the day and their remake hasn’t any movement over the last ten years.
Things might not be as perfect as imagined in the colonies and replicants might be only ones being exploited by corporations.
Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall which certainly deviated from the original Philip K. Dick story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, had some interesting colony dynamics as the film’s villain Vilos Cohaagen (played by Ronny Cox) controlled the population on Mars because he had complete oversight of the oxygen supply and life-giving resources (water, food, oxygen, energy) would be essential to the quality of life for those living off-world.
Resources being a huge issue in a new story wouldn’t be hard to imagine.
Roy Batty’s final speech at the end of Blade Runner teased a vast world beyond the stars, something that Decker would likely never experience and sort of encapsulates their short life span as replicants, a futuristic age of wonder and there is still pain/suffering in the name of progress (keeping replicants subservient to humans).
It remains to be the best scene in that original film.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
With the mention of attack ships, this gives the impression Batty and others have seen their share of bloodshed and war, another large element teased in Blade Runner 2049 and Blackout is a war on Calantha.
We see that not only are replicants forced to fight wars for humans they are even programmed to fight fellow replicants when they upraise. Seeing a gritty R-rated science fiction war film would be something fresh and different, but it does seem like Denis wants his noir detective story.
One way could be to show battles in flashbacks potentially one of the main characters is a veteran of the colony wars.
While we know that the Replicant Freedom Movement is on Earth thanks to Blade Runner 2049, what exactly does that look like off-world are they undergoing military operations?
If Villeneuve wants to go completely original that might not be a bad idea either.
I’m totally open to travelling to different places on Earth as well, just as long as we’re expanding upon this universe and not focused on the nostalgia of the original.
Then again, I feel like the liberating way to go would be tackling an original colony that Denis Villeneuve and his production design team can create from scratch as it’s not directly taking from Ridley Scott’s movie as this would be an entirely new location.
Denis has proven himself one of the better studio directors tackling science fiction and I think he could genuinely develop original ideas for the universe and how to expand things beyond what we already know.
The only problem is that we’ll have to wait a very long time for this to happen.
Denis is currently working on the post-production of Legendary’s Dune which is due out on December 18th and is set to produce/direct the spinoff HBO Max series Dune: The Sisterhood, there is also development on Dune 2’s script with Jon Spahits (Dune, Prometheus) tasked to pen it and an assumption that Denis would return to direct it.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that WarnerMedia and Alcon will come together to make this happen.