Shortly after “Blade Runner 2049” opened this fall, editor Joe Walker discussed the wealth of material that didn’t make the nearly three-hour movie we all saw in cinemas. The one tidbit that captured many people’s attention was his revelation that “the first assembly of the film was nearly four hours and for convenience sake and – to be honest – my bladder’s sake, we broke it into two for viewings.” Most assumed this meant there’s some kind super, extended cut of “Blade Runner 2049” kicking around, but according to Denis Villeneuve, it was an idea that really didn’t get very far.
“[Laughs] No, the film was not intended to be released in two parts. The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs],” he explained to ScreenCrush. “No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
“….you have to kill your darlings and I think four hours was too self-indulgent,” Villeneuve continued. “And it’s a strange conversation because we’re talking about ‘Blade Runner,’ so people want to know if there are other kinds of cuts. It’s [that way] in all movies; there’s always a long cut at the beginning. The first cut is always long and it’s a process and a lot of editing.
So, what didn’t make the movie? Walker previously stated that among the excised sequences were “a lot of connective tissue and bridges” and “a really magnificent aerial sequence when K and Joi fly to Las Vegas,” but “for the vast bulk of the tightenings, we pared the dialogue down to the minimum amount you could get away with, allowing us to play the beats that remained very intensely.”
However, don’t ever expect to see those abandoned scenes on any future home video editions of the movie. Villeneuve doesn’t believe in director’s cuts, and as he’s said before, the one that played in theaters is the picture he intended people to see.
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. I must say, apart from ‘Touch of Evil‘ and ‘Blade Runner,’ I have never seen a director’s cut that was better than the original,” he said. “I mean, I’m not a fan at all of ‘Apocalypse Now Redux.’ I thought it was a massive mistake to do ‘Apocalypse Now Redux.’ It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual.”
” I will not show it to anyone, the four hours, it doesn’t work. The movie you see right now is the one,” Villeneuve added.
So, there you have it — what you see is what you get with “Blade Runner 2049.” The movie is now available on digital and hits physical formats on January 16, 2018.