A lot of the people who saw Blade Runner 2049 this week, whether or not they liked it, agreed that the film left quite a bit to the imagination. Obviously, if you’ve not yet seen the movie you should probably stop reading here. The film doesn’t offer a very definitive ending outside of reuniting Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) with his daughter while Officer K (Ryan Gosling) realizes his true humanity as his life comes to an end. It was pretty much a perfect ending and one that doesn’t require a continuation despite the many unresolved subplots that come and go through the movie.
I think a big part of this is just people being trained to expect closure in their movies, and that if a movie hints at there being more to explore, it’s a guarantee that there are plans for a sequel. But in the case of Blade Runner 2049, it’s all in the service of world-building. The movie had an epic, 165-minute runtime that was definitely padded with a lot of tangential ideas, characters, and motivations that never came to a “satisfying,” or rather manufactured, conclusion. Much like life, some stuff ended, other stuff didn’t. It is what it is, and that’s okay. Writer Michael Green seems to agree, saying that sequels are pretty much out of the question.
“At no point in the creation of this story or script did anyone talk about spin-offs or how might things continue. It was always: ‘What’s our story?’ And make sure you have a story that is worth the title,” Green said.
You don’t wait 35 years for a sequel, only to get another one two years after that. It’d feel forced and completely unearned, especially consider how sprawling 2049 is. It’s enough to keep any movie buff busy for the next few months (or years) with rewatches, analysis, and discussions with friends. Besides, the only vaguely interesting spin-off idea would revolve around Jared Leto‘s Niander Wallace, and nobody wants to watch that movie. He was only in three scenes of this one for a reason.
Green went on to admit that cinematic universes can be an attractive idea, especially when they’re done right:
So many studios and property rights holders have seen the success of Marvel, which we all adore and wonder how to replicate it. For me, the lesson of Marvel is: you don’t begin by building a universe. You begin by telling a story worth telling. And if it is a great story directed well and performed brilliantly and stays with people, it will become the black hole around which a galaxy can form. If you begin by trying to build the universe before creating a film worth watching, well, there be dragons.
Lastly, there’s the issue of box office. In the case of Blade Runner 2049, it’s that it didn’t make a very good impression in that department, grossing a little more than $31 million dollars in its opening weekend. But, again, is anyone surprised by this? This existential mammoth of a movie is not for general audiences and is even less accessible to people who haven’t already seen the first film. Basically, we’re lucky to have gotten two movies in this unique universe, and we should be happy with that!
Blade Runner 2049 is in theaters now!
Images: Warner Bros., Sony