By Peter White, Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: The replicants are heading to the small-screen as Amazon Studios has put a live-action series set in the Blade Runner universe into development.
Ridley Scott, who directed the original 1982 Blade Runner movie, is executive producing the series, Blade Runner 2099, a follow-up to the feature film sequel Blade Runner 2049, which was released in 2017 and directed by Denis Villeneuve.
Silka Luisa, showrunner of Apple TV+’s upcoming Elisabeth Moss-fronted drama series Shining Girls, is writing and exec producing Blade Runner 2099, which comes from Alcon Entertainment in association with Scott Free Productions and Amazon Studios.
The project, which would mark the first Blade Runner live-action series, is in priority development at Amazon Studios, which is fast tracking scripts and eyeing potential production dates. Staffing is currently underway for writers to join a room. Scott may direct if the series moves forward, sources said.
1982’s Blade Runner, which is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, is set in a dystopian LA in 2019, in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on space colonies. When a fugitive group of advanced replicants escape back to Earth, a cop reluctantly agrees to hunt them down. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos starred.
The 2017 sequel, which is set in 2049, starred Ryan Gosling as a replicant blade runner, who uncovers a secret that threatens to destabilize society. Ford and Olmos reprised their roles from the original and it also featured Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.
As indicated by Blade Runner 2099‘s title, the latest installment of the neo-noir sci-fi franchise will be set 50 years after the film sequel.
Elsewhere in the franchise, Blade Runner: Black Lotus is an anime series that debuted late last year on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll. It is set in 2032 and centers around a female replicant, voiced by Jessica Henwick.
Blade Runner 2099 is the latest extension in the Blade Runner franchise since Alcon Entertainment in 2011 acquired the film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the 1982 sci-fi classic.
The company, which is behind Prime Video series The Expanse, has been ramping up activities across the Blade Runner franchise in the last few years. Last year it struck a licensing deal with Striker Entertainment to create a range of Blade Runner consumer products and, in September, Alcon Entertainment co-founder and co-CEO Andrew Kosove revealed that the company has two people whose job it is to keep the franchise’s timeline and continuity intact.
Kosove and his Alcon co-founder Broderick Johnson are exec producing the series along with Michael Green, who wrote Blade Runner 2049, Ben Roberts and Cynthia Yorkin as well as Scott Free Productions’ David W. Zucker and Clayton Krueger.
Blade Runner 2099 was taken to the streaming market last fall. When Scott in November teased the project, telling the BBC that a pilot and a bible had been written without sharing further details, talks with Amazon Studios had already been underway. The Blade Runner series is the second high-profile feature film directed by Scott that is being adapted for television; Noah Hawley is behind a reinvention of Alien for FX that is in prep for a 2023 production.
Scott Free Productions is currently behind HBO Max sci-fi series Raised By Wolves, which launched its second season earlier this month, heist series Jigsaw for Netflix, The Good Fight, which is heading in to its sixth season for Paramount+ and Steven Knight’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations for FX and the BBC.
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