When it was announced that Denis Villeneuve would direct “Blade Runner 2049,” the sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi landmark, it was pretty exciting. In part, of course, because Villeneuve’s long since proven himself to be a hugely talented filmmaker with films like “Prisoners,” “Enemy,” “Sicario” and “Arrival.” But part of the appeal was the idea that Villeneuve would be bringing along some of his key collaborators to help realize his take on the cyberpunk world of the original.
Clearly, Roger Deakins’ involvement as cinematographer was going to be a big selling-point, and that’s been held up with the stunning visuals we’ve seen in footage so far. But we were equally excited that Jóhann Jóhannsson, the Oscar-nominated composer who worked with Villeneuve to stunning effect on “Prisoners,” “Sicario” and “Arrival,” was stepping in to Vangelis’ shoes to score “Blade Runner 2049.”
But then word came out a couple of months back that Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch had come on board to help with the music for the project. And then, when the poster was released recently with only their names credited, we started to get concerned. And indeed, Iceland Review have now confirmed with the composer’s agent that Jóhannsson is now off the project entirely, with the slightly ominous addition that “he is prohibited from saying anything at this point due to his contract.”
On the one hand, Wallfisch and Zimmer are both, obviously, hugely talented composers, and we’re excited to see what they come up with. But we’re sort of familiar with the idea of a Zimmer Factory score for a movie like this, while we imagine that Jóhannsson’s score might have been a bit more… singular.
Still, this sort of creative shake-up is hardly unheard for a movie of this size (“Rogue One” is just one film that replaced its composer late on, and Michael Giacchino’s score was still terrific) — we just hope that it hasn’t harmed the relationship between Villeneuve and Jóhannsson going forward. We’ll find out how the movie turns out when “Blade Runner 2049” opens on October 6th.