Blade Runner 2049: R rating official, no narrator (yes!), and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Blade Runner 2049 release date: October 6, 2017
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, David Bautista, Lennie James, Ana de Arma
  • Writers: Ridley Scott, Hampton Fancher, Michael Green

Update: August 10, 2017 - Blade Runner 2049 is officially R rated

It's official! Blade Runner 2049 has been rated R for "violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language". Even though Ridley Scott's original Blade Runner was R rated, fans were concerned that the sequel wouldn't follow suit in an attempt to bring a wider audience into the cinema. Thankfully, that's not the case and the success of other R rated movies such as Deadpool have no doubt contributed to the studio allowing director Denis Villeneuve to make the movie he wants. 

Update: August 3, 2017 - no narration (hooray!) and Hans Zimmer contributing to score

Hate the narration from the original Blade Runner? So did most of the audience, and it's only grown more grating over the years. Props to Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, then, for stating that there'll be no introspective monologues layered over scenes in this long-awaited sequel. "It's not part of the project; it was never intended to have a voiceover," he told Collider

In additional news related to the film's sonics, Hans Zimmer has been added to the list of contributors to its score. Once more on top form with his compositions for Dunkirk, the man who so beautifully soundtracked Gladiator and Inception will complement the work already in place from Johann Johansson.

Update: March 15, 2017 - Deckard not the only returning character

Whether or not Harrison Ford's Deckard is a replicant was a delicious mystery at the end of the original Blade Runner, and not just for the audience. The robot-hunting detective himself was doubting his humanity. Another character actually planted that seed of doubt in Deckard's mind: Gaff, the LAPD detective played by Edward James Olmos. And it looks like he will return in Blade Runner 2049. 

"This is the first time that I’m telling the whole world, that yes, I am going to be Gaff in Blade Runner 2049," Olmos told The Trend Talk Show in a recent interview. "Well, it’s not about Gaff, but it’s about someone who is going to try to find out certain things about us back then. My role is like it was in the original – that time I only had four scenes, in this I only have one. But again, it’s a poignant little scene."

Yes, but will he hand anyone rad little origami unicorns this time? 

Blade Runner 2049 sees the return of Rick Deckard

Blade Runner bombed hard when it released in 1982. Ridley Scott had raked in the big bucks with Alien, but people didn’t flock to his sci-fi vision when it was dystopian noir the way they did for an extraterrestrial slasher. Warner Bros’ incessant meddling – they insisted on myriad re-edits and ultimately demanded narration be added to the movie – didn’t help. Even in its original state, though, Blade Runner eventually found its audience in the growing cult of cyberpunk nerds in the ‘80s and ‘90s. After three decades, its original star and director have teamed up with younger performers and creators to continue Deckard’s story. And this time around, director Denis Villeneuve has confirmed that there will categorically not be any narration. Phew. 

Blade Runner 2049 release date is actually earlier than expected

When the Blade Runner sequel was first announced back in 2016 we had a far away release date of the beginning of 2018, but that has since be moved forward (a lot) and we’re now going to see hot replicant action on October 6, 2017 in both the US and the UK. It’s always nice to have something sooner than expected, and we're now just two months away…

Blade Runner 2049 trailer shows a future LA, and all the major players 

Villeneuve and pals kept us waiting for a proper trailer until July 2017, but when it arrived it was worth the wait; let's hope those words can also be uttered regarding the film proper. It confirms that the soundtrack closely matches Vangelis' stark-yet-unmistakably-'80s synth-focussed original, and gives us a look at all the major characters: Officer K (Ryan Gosling), Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), bad guy Neander Wallace (Jared Leto), and Robin Wright's unnamed-as-yet official. Also, wrestling fans will go loopy for a badass sighting of Dave 'Batista' Bautista. Watch the whole thing above, or revisit the original teaser below. That one gives little away, but confirms that Ford is going all-out to rekindle Deckard's original brilliance. 

Blade Runner 2049 cast includes a Joker who won't be laughing

The old blade runner and the new aren’t the only cast members we know about. Joining Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, who are playing Deckard and Officer K respectively, is a wider cast of popular (and in one case infamous) performers. 

Most noteworthy, mainly due to his divisive turn as the Joker in 2016’s reviled Suicide Squad, is Jared Leto, who joined the cast shortly after that movie's release. Leto plays main baddie, and replicant maker, Neander Wallace, with the sinister unease of Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty taken up yet another notch if the trailer above is anything to go by.

There’s also Robin Wright, of House of Cards and The Princess Bride fame, adding an air of stately poise to the movie. 

Joining Wright – and again visible in the trailer, looking murderous – is David Bautista, fresh off his hilarious performance as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. Lennie James, AKA the man behind Walking Dead’s haunted Morgan, and Ana de Arma (War Dogs) are also in, the latter as a character named Joi. 

In perhaps the coolest nod to the original, Edward James Olmos will return to play the enigmatic, jaunty hat-wearing, unicorn-origami-making LAPD detective Gaff.

Blade Runner 2049 plot is about the "future of the species" – but which?

A critical line within the most recent trailer is its final one: "the future of the species has been unearthed".

It's likely to form a central point of the plot, but here's the thing: at this point, we don't know if the species being referred to is 'human' or 'replicant'. Tantalising.

What is certain is that Deckard has survived for 30 years, meaning he either wasn’t a replicant or was an entirely different kind of replicant than the ones played by Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah in the original. Officer K is trying to find him – a journey which takes him to a futuristic, broken Las Vegas, as evidenced by the image below.

We know Neander Wallace is a replicant manufacturer which a thirst for power, which unquestionably puts him to the opposite team to the names mentioned above.

Somewhat relatedly, the official Blade Runner account recently teased that, 'In 2020, the Tyrell Corporation rushes a new line of Nexus 8 Replicants for use Off-world.' Is the Tyrell Corporation directly linked to Wallace? Three decades on, has he acquired their technology for evil gain?

Also known, thanks to Ridley Scott, is precisely what happens in the opening scenes of the movie. 

"It’s a bit like Grapes of Wrath, there’s dust, and the tree is still standing,” Scott told a crowd at the American Film Institute film festival back in 2015. “By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilizing this ground.” 

“You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage,” Scott went on, describing how the sort of mammoth, intimidating technology of Blade Runner’s cities work in an agricultural environment. “And now a spinner [a flying car] comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks, the doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in the cottage, opens the door, sits down, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder – a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison’s side. The cottage actually [creaks]; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else. You’ll have to go see the movie.”

Blade Runner 2049 posters show two different worlds

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Two character posters (above) have been released for Blade Runner 2049 and they show Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in two very different worlds. The first sees Gosling's Officer K with his rather snazzy work car, and incorporates the futuristic feel of the movie. The second sees Ford return as an older Deckard, featured in a more ancient-looking environment. It doesn't take a genius to see what the marketing team is trying to tell us here...

Keep clicking to see all the Blade Runner 2049 posters released so far.

Blade Runner 2049 set photos maintain the look of the original movie

Famed futurist and Blade Runner concept artist Syd Mead and art director David Snyder did not return to work on the sequel, but the spirit and style of their work is readily apparent in Blade Runner 2049 set photos. Images from a December 2016 issue of Entertainment Weekly show Officer K in an alley similar to where Deckard snacked on noodles in the first movie, parked in a modernized spinner, and rocking a sweet heavy coat that’s part Deckard and part Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 4. Deckard seemingly lost his old coat sometime in the last thirty years based on these shots.

The production team also released an excellent, but uninformative shot of Ford, Gosling, Ridley Scott, and new director Denis Villeneuve on set together having a good time:

Blade Runner 2049 concept art is appropriately bleak

Two pieces of Blade Runner 2049 concept art hit the public arena in late 2016, and while they don’t look precisely like the work of original concept artist Syd Mead, they certainly look like this movie knows where it comes from. Rain-soaked streets littered with oversized hovering vehicles, towering neon billboards, and crushing architecture are everywhere. 30 years may have passed but this is still Blade Runner.

The Blade Runner 2049 director has a proven sci-fi track record

At first, Blade Runner 2049 was going to be directed by Ridley Scott himself. This was all the way back in 2011 when it was unclear whether the new movie would be a prequel or a sequel. Prometheus, Scott’s big return to his famous sci-fi series, was still a year from release. By 2014, though, Scott confirmed that though he was still working on the movie with writer Hampton Fancher and that he would no longer be directing. Finally in 2015, Denis Villeneuve came on as director.

Villeneuve has demonstrated a knack for both the taut drama and the cerebral sci-fi so characteristic of the original Blade Runner. Sicario, his movie about an FBI agent embroiled in the Mexican drug trade, had the same sort of tense action we experienced in the original Blade Runner. Last year’s surprise hit and thoughtful alien contact movie, Arrival, even tackles some of the same themes as Blade Runner; what does it mean to be human, what do our memories make us, and why do we have to resort to violence to resolve conflicts? He’s certainly suited to the world.

He also has a healthy respect for the original and a fear of shoddy reboots. Shortly after he was announced as director, Villeneuve expressed a great deal of anxiety about tackling a revered movie. “It’s more than nervous, it’s a deep fear,” he told Collider. “I mean when I heard that Ridley Scott wanted to do another movie in the Blade Runner universe, at first my reaction was that it’s a fantastic idea, but it may be a very bad idea. I’m among the hardcore fans of Blade Runner. Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies of all time. For me it’s like a monument.”

Even after a year of working on the movie, Villeneuve’s nerves weren’t settled. Still, he realized that the best path to making a good movie is by not trying to equal its predecessor. "First of all, it’s not possible to live up to the original," said Villeneuve in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s Ridley Scott. It’s a masterpiece. It’s one of the best sci-fi films, one of the best films in the past 50 years. For me, what terrorizes me right now is what I’m doing is taking Blade Runner and making it my own, and that is horrific."

The biggest moments and teases from the new Blade Runner 2049 trailer

The first trailer for Blade Runner 2049 re-introduces Deckard, 30 years later 

Blade Runner 2 has a release date but we'll have to be patient 

7 new Blade Runner 2049 pics show Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford looking right at home

 Blade Runner 2049 first set photo blast(er)s off with a cool nod to the original 

Blade Runner sequel director says "it's not possible to live up to the original" 

Blade Runner 2 concept art shows a beautifully bleak future Los Angeles