WIRED’s October cover story goes behind-the-scenes of the new Blade Runner sequel and features interviews with the film’s stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, as well as director Denis Villeneuve, executive producer Ridley Scott, and many others. WIRED’s Brian Raftery visits the crew on set in Budapest for an exclusive look at the making of Blade Runner 2049, and to discuss the ongoing influence of the original film, and why the sequel will resonate with today’s audience.
Blade Runner 2049 lands in theaters next month, at the end of one of the most restless, fear-feeding years in recent memory. And it arrives just as many of the technologies at the center of both the original and sequel—advanced artificial intelligence, genetic engineering—are no longer pure fiction. The once far-off dystopia seems to inch closer every day, which means 2049 isn’t just another adventure in the Blade Runner world; it’s a darker iteration of what our own future could be.
“We’re so close,” Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher says of the future world that he, Ridely Scott, and Philip K. Dick conjured so many years ago.
It is this very closeness that could help 2049 succeed where Blade Runner first failed. The strongest sci-fi has always used the landscape of the future to help us process our worries about the present, and the nightmarish outcomes that audiences wanted nothing to do with back in 1982 are now talked about, debated, and noodled over by ever-growing numbers of people. Americans today feel the existential anxieties at the core of the Blade Runner universe more deeply and fully than almost anyone in 1982 could’ve imagined, and so a sequel that doubles down on dystopia could resonate in ways the original never could.
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