'Blade Runner 2049' Director Feared He'd "Feel Like a Vandal Going in a Church"

Denis Villeneuve explains how he managed to make a world created by Ridley Scott his own.

There are few tasks more challenging in Hollywood than following up a classic, and few films as well-regarded in the sci-fi genre as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

Though director Denis Villeneuve was hot off of the acclaimed film Arrival, he felt more than his share of pressure to deliver with Blade Runner 2049, the followup to Scott's 1982 original.

"I have to find a way to make that universe mine. I have to find a way to not feel like a vandal going in a church, making graffiti on the walls," director Denis Villeneuve told Heat Vision during a Blade Runner event at San Diego Comic-Con.

Villeneuve felt the need to get the blessing from Scott and screenwriter Hampton Fancher, who both are working on the sequel.

"It's by far the biggest artistic challenge I have ever done. To take someone else's universe and to try to digest and make it my own is a strange process. I did that once, I would not do it again," said Villeneuve, whose next project will be a take on another classic: Dune. (This time, it will be a remake, not a sequel.)

For Francher, going back to the world he helped create for the 1982 film was like "digging into some former garden to find some seeds to grow new plants."

"And fertile seeds were found," he said.

Both Francher and co-screenwriter Michael Green consider 2049 an expansion of a universe, rather than strictly a continuation.

"One of the things you have to do when you want to honor something is incorporate and go larger. You don't want to just do the high school play. You don't want to do a remake," Green said. "When it first came out we were doing this, a lot of people just thought we were going to re-do it again. That feels like it would be dishonoring something that is wonderful. It was looking for ways to explore the world further and make it bigger."

At Comic-Con, Warner Bros. revealed more details about 2049's timeline and what's happened in the decades between the original, which starred Harrison Ford. Among those details: Replicant prohibition happened in 2023, the Wallace Corporation (led in the movie by Jared Leto's Neander Wallace) helped repeal prohibition in 2030, and by 2049, most humans who can afford it have fled to offworld colonies.

In addition to a very entertaining panel (which featured Ford giving co-star Ryan Gosling a hard time), Blade Runner 2049 also had an interactive experience at Comic-Con, complete with props from the set and actors in character.

Warner Bros. is releasing Blade Runner 2049 on Oct. 6 in the U.S. Sony is Alcon Entertainment's worldwide partner on the film and is distributing it internationally.

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