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Blade Runner 2049 teaser pits Harrison Ford vs. Ryan Gosling

A first glimpse of Blade Runner 2049, the anticipated sci-fi sequel directed by Montreal's Denis Villeneuve, shows Ryan Gosling going up against the original's star, Harrison Ford.

Upcoming sequel directed by Montrealer Denis Villeneuve

Ryan Gosling appears in a scene from the teaser trailer for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve. (Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube)

Okay Villeneuve: you got me. Ryan Gosling. Harrison Ford. Another dust-covered, dystopian future with strains of Vangelis echoing in the background?

Yes, please.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the challenge before Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian filmmaker behind Arrival, Prisoners and Incendies. Ridley Scott's Blade Runner isn't just a fan favourite, it's a film that defined a movie genre. Like Metropolis or Stanley Kubrick's 2001, what Scott presented back in 1982 changed how we envision the future. 

When a sequel to Blade Runner was first announced, I was horrified. What's next: a sequel to Spartacus? Don't some films deserve to stand on their own?

But the first glimpse of Blade Runner 2049 indicates Villeneuve is paying tribute while also offering a distinctive vision of his own.

In the teaser trailer, Rick Deckard, the original Blade Runner officer now missing for the past 30 years, emerges from orange gloom. Ford looks as grizzled as ever.

"I had your job once. I was good at it," he croaks.​

"Things were simpler then," is the response from Gosling, playing the man sent to find him.

But Blade Runner was never about simplicity: the enigmatic nature of the story is part of what inspired volumes about just who — or what — Deckard was.

If anyone can handle that heady debate (replicants or real people?), it's Villeneuve. Just look at his sci-fi film now in theatres: Arrival is a tale of first contact that pulses with humanity, as well as a movie that looks like nothing else out today. 

In fact, speaking with press, Villeneuve has said his greatest challenge was "avoiding the trap of falling into the comfort of things we've seen before."

The Montrealer is not someone who does things simply or comfortably. Bring on Blade Runner 2049.

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