Even though Blade Runner is now a cult classic, the 1982 film was a box office bomb. $28 million was spent on Ridley Scott’s version of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By the end of the domestic run, the film had pulled in a paltry $27.5 million. Harrison Ford, as the reluctant replicant hunter, Rick Deckard, hated making the movie as well as the end result. Plus, he and Scott frequently butted heads. So, the notion that he is now being courted, by Scott, to reprise the role for Blade Runner 2, could be seen by some as rather laughable.
One of the stranger aspects of this notion, is that instead of doing the usual “invite a huge star to be in your film via private avenues,” the production company, Alcon Entertainment, put out a very public press release asking Ford to join their project. If they think they can shame or guilt Indiana Jones into it, they may be in for a big surprise. The man is turning 72 this year, has made more money than he could ever spend and truly does not need the role.
Despite that, it could be that he will accept the invitation. He may see the worth in re-visiting what is now a valuable franchise. Most fans would be hard-pressed to imagine anyone else portraying the dour, yet sexy, Deckard. To them, Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard.
Ford has said publicly that he likes to choose roles that he feels his fans will want to see him portray. He understands the value of his name being synonymous with action-adventure films. However, lately, Ford has been exploring roles that express his abilities as a character actor. Anchorman 2 and Ender’s Game both gave him the chance to show his other acting skills. Perhaps he sees the growth in himself as well as his audience and does not need to be the action hero any longer.
There is also another consideration for Ford; the necessity of making a Blade Runner 2. Dick did not write a sequel to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? So, the material for a sequel movie would have to come from another source. Though die-hard fans of Dick’s work will likely take issue with a follow-up film based on the work of someone else, there are three Blade Runner authorized and official sequels. These were written by a friend of Dick’s. 1995’s Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, could be the source material for the new film. Written by K.W. Jeter, this novel and two others are a continuation of the Rick Deckard storyline. Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night and Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon (1996 and 2000) could also provide the backdrop story for Blade Runner 2. In these stories, Jeter endeavors to fill in the gaps that were left wide open between what occurs in the original novel and the subsequent film.
Often classified as a Steampunk and/or a Cyberpunk author, Jeter became friends with Dick when they were both in college. There is a good chance that Philip K. Dick readers are also K.W. Jeter fans. Maybe Ridley Scott is on to something. However, the source material for the new movie is not yet publicly known.
Getting Harrison Ford to play Rick Deckard again may be the key to making a successful sequel. Unless they have quality source material for the new film, without Ford, Scott may have another bomb on his hands; until Blade Runner 2 becomes another surprise cult classic.
Opinion by Stacy Lamy