EDITORIALS

Writer Travis Wright Responds to Blade Runner 2 Backlash

by
October 7, 2008
Source: SlashFilm

Blade Runner

Early last week we ran a rather interesting story about a rumor that had circulated from a Q&A after a screening of Eagle Eye stating that Blade Runner 2 was being written. Even I wasn't so happy to hear this news and wrote that I "can't even fathom a sequel or anything even set in the same universe." However, I'm up for some persuasion if someone can truly convince me that Blade Runner 2 may be a worthwhile sequel. Travis Wright, who was one of the screenwriters working on this and was the one who mentioned it during the Q&A, got in touch with SlashFilm in order to clarify all the details, from his own history to misconceptions to thoughts on sci-fi and why exactly he wanted to write this.

Here's the thing - Wright will immediately be starting at the very bottom and he'll have to fight his way up. There's no way around it and he's got to prove to millions of hardcore sci-fi fans that his story for the sequel ain't so bad after all. But before he can even get to that, he's got to prove that he's someone fans can trust. "I am a geek. I am a total fan boy. I have toys all over my office that [writing partner John Glenn] has always made fun of (we've been friends since third grade)," Wright explains. So he confirms that he's a geek that is potentially worthy of taking on a monumental task like this while at the same time respecting everything about the original Blade Runner. So what's next after gaining our trust?

"John Glenn and I were paid to explore a potential secret sequel from [2003 to 2005] and wrote several [Blade Runner] sequel approaches working with Bud Yorkin. We never went to script - a fact I mentioned at the Q&A - and it wasn't meant to be some big announcement." Refering back to my recent Sunday Discussion on Hollywood reboots, it's no surprise to see that at one point Warner Brothers was interested in really making a sequel - right before they re-released the film on Blu-Ray last year. "My only intention as a writer, in pursuing this project, is to help explore some of the questions Blade Runner raises that were the fodder for endless debate among my friends for two decades now," he explains.

So what are the questions that he is hoping to answer in a sequel?

"What does it mean to be human? That's the central question in life and the paramount question in Science Fiction. More pointedly: Is or isn't Deckard a replicant? What happens to Rachel? What are the off world colonies like? What happens to replicants once Tyrell is killed by one of his creations? These are some of the questions we explored with Bud Yorkin for a few years and I believe are a great basis for a story many fans like me are dying to see. Working on them has been a dream."

I'm going to give Wright the benefit of the doubt on this one and claim that he actually makes a good point regarding those questions. Although I'm sure someone out there will argue that the fact that they aren't answered is what makes it such a great movie. He has a lot more to say if you're curious in reading his full e-mail - head right over to SlashFilm to do so. For the sake of argument, let's say Blade Runner wasn't one of the defining sci-fi cinema classics - with this kind of introduction, would you be convinced that Wright could handle the job of putting together story ideas and a script for a sequel? I'd say yes. He hits every right note, from being a fanboy to looking for answers to those big questions.

We'll undoubtedly be looking for any and every development related to this news. With early interest like this, Warner Brothers may suddenly be interested in actually pursuing a sequel for real. And we'll be one of the first to bring you any news we hear from the field. For now, it's time to decide whether you think Travis Wright (and his writing partner) could tackle something as monumental as Blade Runner 2.

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  • Vole
    Three sequels to Blade Runner were written years ago by KW Jeter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KW_Jeter#Blade_Runner_sequels
  • Matt Suhu
    great article, but i think what you forgot to mention was to address if Ridley Scott would be interested in directing...especially if he's going to take on Brave New World. I'd love to see a Blade Runner 2, but as everyone knows...it must be done correctly and I think Ridley Scott's involvement is a must because his film deviated much from the novel and therefore he his basically the source material.
  • REAL6
    "I am a geek. I am a total fan boy." Just because of that line. HE FUCKING FAILS!!! ANd this movie also!!!
  • @ #2 Agreed. That line made me roll my eyes immediately and sigh.
  • If Ridley Scott directed it, I'd be at least open to the idea. The problem with a sequel is that, as great as Blade Runner is, it's already dated, as far as being a likely futuristic view of Los Angeles. Would viewers need to know why suddenly Japan has taken over our culture, Atari is the biggest video game company, and flying cars are commonplace? I honestly don't know if it's important or not. Blade Runner is set in 2019, which is only 9 years from now! Perhaps something needs to be established in a sequel where we know this is either an alternate Earth or something radical occurs to Earth within the next 9 years, explaining all of this. Or, perhaps leave the movie alone. It is a classic, perfect as a stand-alone science fiction film, without the need to look past all of it's failed predictions.
  • Luis M
    You know what you get when a total fan boy directs a movie? "Dungeons and Dragons", that's what you get. "What are the off world colonies like? What happens to replicants once Tyrell is killed by one of his creations?" These two are movie-worthy questions. Leave Deckard and Rachel alone, their story is best left to each viewer's imagination.
  • I agree, I think the Deckard and Rachel story doesn't need a next chapter. And if they do a sequel, I hope it's visually identical to the original. I want to see that 1980's futuristic motif, the big Atari neon signs, punk haircuts and plastic bag fashions. Oh, and the story had better be great.
  • vegeta
    Leave this story ALONE!!!!! Why would you put a classic like Blade Runner on the line just to satisfy fanboy curiosity?!
  • cyn
    Hey you know what? Im a "fanboy" (fangirl) too, and I say, let's not touch Blade Runner. You can have your heart in the right place with the best intentions, but it does not always equal success. Just stop the revisits, remakes and reboots!!! Stop the madness! Move on!
  • about the only way i could not worry about this would be if James Cameron was directing
  • Stiles
    His "only intentions as a writer" on the sequel are to answer the questions that kept him and his friends discussing the movie since its initial release?! That very sentence alone makes me sick to think he's working on the forthcoming script. Has it occurred to him that perhaps he loved the original so much BECAUSE it left those questions in his mind; because it kept him thinking about the time and place in which the story occurs, and because it got him pondering and debating the issues raised by it? That's something that's strongly lacking in most modern films; scripts that wrap things up just enough to be satisfying and enjoyable, but with enough ambiguity and mystique to leave you thinking about the story and wanting more. Hell, even the Blade Runner computer game that came out in the nineties had the sense to stay away from answering the main questions raised by the movie, and just run with a completely independent side story not involving Deckard or Rachel. The only way I'll be even cautiously optimistic about the idea of this is if it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with (to the point of not mentioning, making sly reference to, or in any other way even acknowledging) anything happening to Deckard or Rachel after the events of the original. Their story is beautifully complete just the way it is, and to add to it honestly does degrade the quality of the original, because it takes away the mystique and romance of the way the movie ended. If a sequel answers the most interesting questions raised by the first, they're no longer mysterious, they're no longer debatable, they're just canon.
  • L Power
    If feelings are running so high with regard to a new screenplay, what about the two sequal novels penned by K.W. Jeter? Blade Runner 2: Edge of Human Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night
  • Why are they wasting time with this when there are so many other sequels waiting to be made? Personally, I'm waiting for "Citizen Kane 2: Rosebud's Revenge" and "The Return of The Elephant Man".
  • Alex But seriously. How many toys must one have on the office floor to justify remaking Jaws or A Clockwork Orange or to write a sequel to Pulp Fiction in 2015? I can't believe you're so easily persuaded by this silly email. You compared yourself to a journalist on Twitter---actually, you said you were an "evolved journalist"---but based on your reasoning here, you would be okay with a president's prepping an unneeded world war based on his display of combat regalia, boot camp stories and so forth. There is still plenty of Philip K. Dick material out there to adapt (and botch). I'm not sure why Travis Wright---no disrespect---wishes to subject himself to the wrath that any and all developments involving this idea will bring (sans kiboshing). As you said, the purposeful ambiguity with many of the philosophical and existential themes that Wright brings up is key to Blade Runner's timelessness and essence. Do we need Blade Runner 2: Pot + Overlong College Kid Discussion? No (not even if Ridley Scott returned). Like Wright, you may need to revisit it (every version) and the source material, and then revisit this post. "Geek Off" - Hunter Stephenson Slashfilm.com
  • Mr. Wizard
    This is a bad idea and a disgrace to Philip K. Dick. The first movie already missed the point of the book. I really don't think that needs to happen again. Oh, also, are they planning on having Harrison Ford in the sequel because, not to be an asshole, but I think that role slipped out of his age range a while ago.
  • Andrei
    @14 well it can be placed in a later future , like the new Indy 😛 I think some things are better left as they are . I'm not much of a movie guy ( excuse my english ) but i think Blade Runner is in a league of it's own . It was done that way , and with today's technics and studio interests , i don't think a BR2 will come out even close to that league .
  • Okay Hunter, you make a good point... But you guys have got to give Travis a bit more credit than he's currently getting! He's at least *trying* to prove that what he's doing isn't exactly a crime against cinema! In regards to journalism - I was simply trying to provide the facts and let everyone else make a judgment based on the details. But Wright doesn't sound like a criminal, he just sounds like a fan of Blade Runner who is doing everything in his heart to make a sequel that is worthy of the original. Am I wrong? Plus - you don't know what the plot is and you cannot justify any claims about how ridiculous it could be without any knowledge of what it will be about. I guess I'm just saying don't be so quick to jump on him and tear him and his script apart when you haven't even READ it!
  • ScottyR
    Blade Runner 2 = 2010:The Year We Make Contact. THANK GOD they answered those questions!
  • Shane
    It doesn't matter why he is trying to do the sequel, it isn't a film that needs to be made. I am sure he is geek enough and all that, so why not make something original that the genre community will love? Making a sequel to a movie that doesn't lend itself easily to a sequel makes no sense. The ones he would be writing the film for are the ones saying that he shouldn't do it. This is a massive FAIL before the first scene is shot.
  • werdnafaz
    So sequel aside who here thinks he is a replicant i know i do because he gets an origami aswell.
  • Fox
    Sure it's unfair to jump over someone [regarding Travis Wright] without letting try to prove that a sequel to BR is possible - at least, for him. Even so, if a word of a geek means something (my 5 cents), BR was much more than a good script. So let's see, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" wasn't even the most obvious choice for a PKD's book, being the movie BR is a creature of its own, that lives and breaths the spirit of the late 70's, 80's: punk culture, anarchy, metal hurlant/heavy metal magazine, micro computers and video games, neon lights and mega cities, etc. Having an intelligent, brilliant script it not all, since BR is most of all a VISUAL movie. Does Travis (or anyone, for that matter) have an original VISION for BR2, in the 2010's, still worthy of BR's legacy ? As long as I love BR, BR2 would be, at best (imo), just more of the same, and out of the context that make BR a cult classic - the 80's. Johnny Mnemonic tried that once, and failed. Badly. PS - as someone suggested somewhere else, an Animatrix kind of movie, with short stories in the BR universe would be great, really! But more of the same, meh, i'll pass. (I wonder why i'm all go go go for Tron 2, and hate the mere though of a Blade Runner sequel...)
  • Conrad
    Philip K. Dick wrote a short story called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - terrible title, but that was the basis for "Blade Runner" - let it remain a stand alone classic and DO NOT MAKE A SEQUEL!! No one, including Ridley Scott has any business making a sequel to a movie which does not need one. Yes there are questions that could be answered, but I think the best thing to do would be to write a novella (like they did with Star Wars) and continue the story from there if they like. Nothing official, just some literature to get their story out there. This is terrible idea and I hope this idiot Travis Wright buckles on this project.
  • ElectrocaineXxX
    1. Can any of you tell me where it says in the article that all of this is actually happening? Cry, cry, cry and it's all hypothetical. It's a bunch of what ifs and maybes. 2. Nobody liked Blade Runner when it came out! It flopped. It was only looking back that people started to realize what had been put in front of them. All of you would have been sitting here on your little message board talking sh*t about it if you had the chance at the time. Later you would recant and jump on the bandwagon claiming you knew what everyone else didn't all along. If they do make a follow up and it's a masterpiece you will all be the first in line buying the DVD saying how you heard all about it when the idea was still being tossed around. Plus you downloaded your bootleg copy months before the DVD hit stores. None of you could write your way out of the little box a message board puts you in. But please, keep throwing stones.
  • ElectrocaineXxX the directors cut also helped, a friend of mine oft compares Unbreakable as the Blade Runner of the 90s, i slap him when he does but i've been hitting him with slightly less verve of late
  • "What does it mean to be human? That's the central question in life and the paramount question in Science Fiction. More pointedly: Is or isn't Deckard a replicant? What happens to Rachel? What are the off world colonies like? What happens to replicants once Tyrell is killed by one of his creations? These are some of the questions we explored with Bud Yorkin for a few years and I believe are a great basis for a story many fans like me are dying to see. Working on them has been a dream." Its because these questions are left unanswered that people like this 'fan boy geek' will keep on talking about them for decades afterwards. I don't need to have my sci fi served as easily digestable pap. I can chew my own food for thought! If this film goes ahead, it will only serve to demonstrate how pointless great art has become in our time.
  • name required
    @23: I liked Blade Runner from the very start. I escaped from reality into it when my dad had left the family and mom was finished. This may sound pathetic, but it's how I explain to myself why there is no movie I watched as many times as Blade Runner :) Hollywood hysterically squeezes everything out of everything. The last "Blade Runner Final Cut Super Duper Special Agent Case Including T-Shirt" versions of this movie rot in the shelves and at e-bay now. I wouldn't be surprised if Harrison Ford would join the ridiculous "I'm not dead yet"-campaign that Sylvester Stallone currently runs. How about Deckard (Harrison Ford) being old and not a replicant, living together with a CGI-based forever young Rachael in a nice farmhouse outside L.A., trying to get rare spare-parts, haha :) I will keep firstshowing.net on my daily pages bookmarks folder for a while - if however it keeps focussing on disappointing buzz about sequels so much, I think I'll pass...

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