Harrison Ford in ‘Blade Runner 2’

FordHarrison Ford starred as a Detective Rick Deckard in the film adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep back in the 80s. Now the media is a-buzz with news that he has been asked to return for the sequel. Will Harrison Ford come back as the dour noir detective and if so, will that guarantee that Blade Runner 2 will be any good?

So far, the film project has all the right pieces. Ridley Scott is back as a director. Hamtpon Fancher is back as a co-writer of the script. Seems like things are lining up in the right direction for something awesome, but the same could have been said for the last Indiana Jones film. By comparison, that should have been a slam dunk. Harrison Ford returned as the indomitable Indy, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came back to bark orders, and Shia LeBouf was introduced as Indy’s son, which added some much-needed youth to the movie. Sadly, something about the script was lacking, and Indy acted a bit too bitter for many. The rakish charm and wit of the previous movies stopped at the Last Crusade. Some critics blamed the Legend of the Crystal Skull‘s writer, David Koepp, who did not appear to offer the same mastery of “arrogant banter” as Lawrence Kasdan or Jeffrey Boam, the men who handled the scripts for the Lost Ark and the Last Crusade. Combine an older Harrison Ford with a script that was off the mark and the result was a poor rendition of great cinema, a relevant comparison when considering the fate of Blade Runner 2.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a piece of brilliant science fiction literature. Blade Runner was based on that book, though it left out some scenes and had arguably different intentions than Dick’s work. For instance, many viewers believe Ridley Scott intended Rick Deckard to be a replicant, like the engineered slaves he is hunting. The book was less clear, the supposition being that the reader should be left to wonder about the difference between replicants and humans, or the lack thereof. Dick did not write the sequels for the books, so the plot of this second movie may or may not come from the follow-ups written by K.W. Jeter. The three Blade Runner books (not titled as Androids sequels) did not receive the accolades of Dick’s work. Hopefully, the second movie will replicate the second book’s inauthenticity.

The fan response to the possibility of Ford reprising his role has not been as favorable as expected. Many fear he is too old to do Deckard justice. Blade Runner 2, or whatever the new project will be called, will be set several decades after the first film. If Deckard is supposed to be a replicant as Ridley Scott asserted, fans have to wonder how the new film will handle the marked difference between the Harrison Ford of thirty years ago and the senior citizen of today. If, on the other hand, the Deckard, who disappeared with the lovely replicant Rachel at the end of the film is supposed to be human, then placing a younger actor in the role would be unnecessary. Ford is still handsome and certainly still witty. Is Hollywood’s obsession with youth a reflection of society’s own feeling, or does life imitate art? In either case it may not be the actors that make or break this film.

Stars allow the ruin of sequels that should never have been made. An A-lister does not always determine the success of sequels. If Harrison Ford makes the decision to join the cast of Blade Runner 2 and if he understands the magic of the first movie, he should interject on behalf of better cinema, not just growl his lines and look sour. With any luck, his fans will have another great Blade Runner on their hands.

Opinion By Aliya Tyus-Barnwell

Daily Script
The New Yorker
Western Illinois University
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