Why Christopher Nolan Didn't Want To Direct 'Blade Runner 2049'

Read any Christopher Nolan interview and he'll probably go on at length about how big an influence Blade Runner plays on his films. Shades of Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi classic can be found in everything from his superhero starter film Batman Begins to his ambitious and cerebral Interstellar.

Nolan's love for the 1982 film (he's watched it over 100 times!) fed into the rumor that he was up to direct the Blade Runner sequel when it was first announced in 2012. But those rumors soon fell by the wayside when director Denis Villeneuve stepped up to the plate, delivering 2017's stunning and audacious Blade Runner 2049. Nolan released Dunkirk last year instead. But don't go thinking about "what might have been." Apparently, Nolan would never want to direct a Blade Runner movie if he could help it.

As with many a Nolan interview, the recent Los Angeles Times interview with the director as he embarks on his awards-season press tour for Dunkirk brought up his ardor for Blade Runner. But this time, the question had a bit more weight to it thanks to the critical acclaim of Blade Runner 2049 and its subsequent box office disappointment. If Nolan had done things differently, could we have seen him in the director's chair for a Blade Runner sequel? No, Nolan answered resoundly:

"There are a lot of movies that are on such a pedestal that to try and either remake them or follow them up would be too tricky. I have to find a way around things. So, like, 'Interstellar' is very much, as people would say, in dialogue with '2001 [A Space Odyssey].' You have to find your own way around."

As much as he adores Blade Runner, it casts such a large shadow that Nolan could never direct a sequel to it in the way that he would want, he says. This makes sense — other than the Batman movies, Nolan has made an emphatic choice to direct only original films. It's what makes him one of Warner Bros.' most successful directors today, and a refreshing change of pace in a movie industry increasingly bogged down by franchises and sequels.

But that doesn't mean that Nolan had any ill will towards Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049. Quite the opposite in fact:

"[Blade Runner 2049] was a real pleasure. I love [director] Denis [Villeneuve]. He bravely took on what he referred to as a suicide mission, following such a huge film that I was such a fan of. I thought he did a great job. Those guys really went for it. You have to admire that."

So basically, don't expect a Nolan Blade Runner sequel any time soon. You'll just have to make do with the director raving about how often he watches the movie (did I mention it was over 100 times?).