So, to get the news out of the way, Ridley Scott has finally confirmed that he'll be directing a Blade Runner sequel. For the longest time, we've known that he's been attached to the upcoming film, but no one's quite been sure if he'd direct, or produce, or if it'd be a prequel or sequel or sidequel, or what. Details are starting to gradually roll out, although it's still a film deep in the conception stages. All we really know for now, thanks to the Wall Street Journal, is that Scott will actually be behind the camera on this project and it will be a sequel, but it won't feature Deckard or any of the original cast. (Whether any of the original characters come back is another matter.) Oh, and if Scott's opinions on 3D from Comic-Con are any indication, it'll likely be in three glorious dimensions.
Regarding the script, Scott says that he's still in the search mode for a screenwriter, but he apparently has a few good candidates in mind: “I think I’m close to finding a writer that might be able to help me deliver. We’re quite a long way in, actually.” Which immediately spurred me to thinking: what writers working now would be an ideal fit to the subject matter of the Blade Runner franchise? It's a delicate world that's been built, requiring some ideas about the nature of humanity and artificiality and life in a world that's arguably evolved beyond the need for human beings. Here are some ideas:
- Andrew Niccol: Although In Time didn't do his reputation any favors, Niccol has still proven that he can work comfortably with big ideas in genre worlds and still make films that are, if not always immensely popular, than at least commercially feasible. His films always come across as works of passionate engagement with ideas, which might not translate well to the more clinical world of Blade Runner, but at least you'd guarantee that you'd walk out of the theater with something to discuss.
- Terrence Malick: Alright, stop laughing. This is as far-fetched as I can possibly imagine in terms of feasibility: Malick doesn't really write scripts that he doesn't intend to direct, but I think the possibilities might be interesting nonetheless. Malick is deeply concerned with the interconnected nature of living beings, which might be an interesting angle to take on a new Blade Runner film, and it'd be fascinating to see what another director might create out of one of his screenplays. And can you imagine what kind of crazy unicorn dream that he and Scott could cook up if Malick was invited to go out to a forest for a bit and shoot a dream sequence?
- Ronald D. Moore: Is this the guy we're all supposed to hate from Star Trek? I can never remember if it's him or Brannon Braga. Either way, Moore's work on Battlestar Galactica would seem to make him a natural fit for the peculiar world of spiritual replicants that Blade Runner laid out. Scott would have to keep him in check with regards to the pained religious analogies, but it'd still be an interesting melding of mental ideas, and would certainly wind up being the most commercial option of any of the people on this list. (Don't forget that Blade Runner wound up significantly underperforming in its original box office run.)
- David Lynch: If anyone could come up with a fascinating angle on the notion of a replicant who doesn't know he or she is a replicant, it'd be Lynch, who's played with identity in many of his films, most noticeably Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway. It would also be magnificently, grandly weird.
- Duncan Jones: Again, this is a more commercial choice, and DJ here isn't necessarily known for his screenwriting. He received a story credit for Moon, though, and did a fair amount of polish work on Source Code after he came attached to direct that script. Both of the films he's worked on thus far, though, have dealt with identity and replication of humans, or at least their minds: he seems to be comfortable in the milieu, at any rate, and it'd be interesting to see where he'd take a theoretical Blade Runner work.
Those are a few names to throw against the wall; I have a feeling that, in the end, the selection will be someone from the more commercial side of the block, and I doubt any of these gentlemen (who are all better known as directors than screenwriters) would actually tackle the job even if they were offered it.