With Ridley Scott starting to do real press for Prometheus, word has been bubbling up this week about Scott’s other return to sci-fi: a new Blade Runner film. We gave you a slight update earlier today, but now a press release has gone out that clarifies a couple specific details.

First up, while Scott waffled for some time about when this new film would take place with respect to the original Blade Runner, he eventually got around to saying it was most likely to be a sequel. Indeed, the official line is now that the new movie will be a sequel.

Additionally, the involvement of original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher is confirmed. (He’s also the man who was instrumental in the optioning of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which led to Blade Runner in the first place.)  But don’t take it as a given that he’s writing the new movie; the press release carefully says that he’s on board to “develop the idea for the original screenplay” for the new movie. Someone else could end up writing.

What will the new film be about? That we don’t know, but another comment from Scott suggests that a woman will be the central character.

It’s in an interview with The Daily Beast that Scott floats the idea of a female protagonist:

I started my first meetings on the Blade Runner sequel last week. We have a very good take on it. And we’ll definitely be featuring a female protagonist.

Now we’ve got some of the fruit of those meetings. The new Blade Runner is a sequel set “some years” after the events of the first film. How related will the two movies be? No idea at this point. Will Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard be involved? It is possible, but don’t bet on it.

Here’s today’s press release:

LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 17, 2012—Hampton Fancher is in talks to reunite with his “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott to develop the idea for the original screenplay for the Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free, and Bud Yorkin produced follow up to the ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.

The filmmakers are also revealing for the first time that the much-anticipated project is intended to be a sequel to the renowned original. The filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded.

The three-time Oscar-nominated Scott and his “Blade Runner” collaborator Fancher originally conceived of their 1982 classic as the first in a series of films incorporating the themes and characters featured in Philip K. Dick’s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, from which “Blade Runner” was adapted. Circumstances, however, took Scott into other directions and the project never advanced.

Fancher, although a writer of fiction, was known primarily as an actor at the time Scott enlisted him to adapt the Dick novel for the screen. Fancher followed his “Blade Runner” success with the screenplays, “The Mighty Quinn” (1989) and “The Minus Man” (1999). He has continued to write fiction throughout his career.

Scott also will produce with Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove as well as Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.

The original film, which has been singled out as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.

State Kosove and Johnson: “It is a perfect opportunity to reunite Ridley with Hampton on this new project, one in fact inspired by their own personal collaboration, a classic of cinema if there ever was one.”

Released by Warner Bros. almost 30 years ago, “Blade Runner” was adapted by Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and directed by Scott following his landmark “Alien.” The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction). Following the filming of “Blade Runner,” the first of Philip K. Dick’s works to be adapted into a film, many other of Dick’s works were likewise adapted, including “Total Recall,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Minority Report,” “Paycheck,” and the recent “The Adjustment Bureau,” among others.

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