Earlier this year Warner Bros' Alcon entertainment made entertainment news headlines by acquiring the "film, television and ancillary" rights to Blade Runner sequels, firing up the rumor mill with possibilities of new Blade Runner content -- though not a remake/re-boot as "Alcon's franchise rights would be all-inclusive, but exclude rights to remake the original." Fans much lamented the possibility of a Scott-free 'Runner future. Weep no more, though: Today Alcon announced that Ridley Scott will helm the next Blade Runner.
Despite much speculation, no one seems to be clear on whether the new film will be a sequel or a prequel, and as Deadline Hollywood points out, "This is just the first step and the project will have to be written and the project will likely evolve during that process. That's what happened on Alien, which began as a prequel to [Scott's] 1979 classic. That changed when Lost's Damon Lindlof came in with a different take on the subject matter that imprinted on Scott and fox executives." That "imprint" resulted in Prometheus, an "original" film that's only tangentially related to the Alien franchise.
One thought: Blade Runner was set in 2019, just eight years from now -- and even less when you consider that the new film is likely a couple of years away from release -- so a prequel would take place pretty much in the present day. And present-day-set prequels describing (and often humanizing) the lead-up to events of complex moral basis make for good film.
Either way, this is exciting news for Runner fans.