This week has seen some exciting, some good, and some very sad news in SF.
Firstly, the exciting. The BLADE RUNNER sequel has been officially a go for some time, but news on the movie’s progress is gradually filtering through. This week, Harrison Ford confirmed that he will be returning to play the android-hunting Rick Deckard.
BLADE RUNNER has to be one of my top 5 SF films of all time. It’s vision has been emulated many times, but achieved very few: it literally spawned the “cyberpunk” look that we have come to associate with the urban future of life on Earth.
This is going to be a tough gig to pull off, though. Ridley Scott – whose leadership literally made BLADE RUNNER what it is – will not be returning to director, although he will be producer. Denis Villeneuve (of PRISONERS and ENEMY) will be taking over the role of director – although his official status is “in negotiation”, the decision by the studio to publicly reveal his name probably suggests these negotiations are moving in the right direction. I’m not sure what to make of this. Maybe some new blood will be a good decision? But it’s hard for me to accept that someone else will achieve the heights that Ridley Scott did with the original…
What is undeniably great news is that Hampton Fancher is back on script duties. Ford is reported to have said that “it’s the best thing [I’ve] ever read”. This movie, if it is going to work, has to be about a great script. There are lots of biographical reports on how the original BLADE RUNNER script took an age to get right – it reportedly went through numerous aborted early versions (including an almost farcical version), then just as many revisions with a darker tone – and it’s worth remembering that the film was based on Philip K Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP. (If you haven’t already read that, please: go and do so immediately!) I have high hopes for this project, and it will be interesting to see how the film addresses the huge leaps in technology that we have made since 1982…
Second, the good news: ALIEN 5 chatter is now coming thick and fast. Both Sigourney Weaver and Neill Blomkamp have been discussing the progress of the film, with Blomkamp describing his movie as the “genetic sibling” of ALIEN and ALIENS.
This is interesting; very recently I wrote about the possible “retconning” of ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION. Immediately after Blomkamp’s comments, the internet was pretty much abuzz with the possibility that he may re-write the ALIEN universe’s history – effectively ignoring or editing out ALIEN 3 and RESURRECTION.
Even more interesting was the fan reaction to such an idea! For many years, this has discussed as a possible way out of the deadend created by ALIEN 3 – and yet, as soon as it is floated as an “official” possibility, the fan backlash seemed to commence with fury… The internet literally broke!
Blomkamp then subsequently reneged on the comment (if he ever meant it that way at all), and reports now suggest that ALIEN 5 will not “ignore” ALIEN 3 and RESURRECTION.
Again, I’ll be very interested to see just how Blomkamp handles this. The ALIEN saga has a core of diehard fans, many of whom feel very betrayed by the death of Newt and Hicks in ALIEN 3, and just as many who feel that ALIEN RESURRECTION should not have been made. Blomkamp’s Instagram imagery – discussed in this post – certainly suggests a direct sequel to ALIENS… My view is that whatever Blomkamp decides to do, he has to make his own film: his style and approach to filmmaking makes him the ideal candidate for the project. Whatever happens so far as official canon goes, ALIEN RESURRECTION and ALIEN 3 are still there to be enjoyed as films.
Finally, the sad news: Leonard Nimoy – best known for his role in STAR TREK – has died aged 83.
There was, of course, much more to the real Nimoy than just Dr Spock – an issue with which the actor wrestled for many years. He made an enormous contribution to perhaps the most well-loved space opera series, and will be fondly remembered.