In recent years, Harrison Ford has been returning some of his most beloved characters over his impressive career. Ford returned to play Han Solo in both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and his fifth outing in the Indiana Jones franchise is set for release in 2022. But maybe his most critically-acclaimed return was in Denis Villeneuve’s 2017 film Blade Runner 2049, where Ford reprised his role of Rick Deckard for the first time in 35 years. Currently, Blade Runner 2049 is the #2 most-watched film on HBO Max.
Instead of starring Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard, Blade Runner 2049 centers on K (Ryan Gosling), a bioengineered human known as a replicant, who hunts down rogue replicants. These types of replicants are known as “blade runners.” While on a mission, K discovers evidence that replicants can reproduce, new that K’s superior believes could cause a war between replicants and humans. His search for more information on replicant reproduction leads him to hunt down former blade runner Rick Deckard.
While the original Blade Runner is seen as a science fiction classic, Blade Runner 2049 was one of the few sequels that many thought lived up to its predecessor. Currently, Blade Runner 2049 holds an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, and an 81% audience score. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said that “Harrison Ford, for his part, is nothing less than a revelation,” while Larushka Ivan-Zadeh of Metro (UK) said, “This is a rare sequel that enhances, arguably even surpasses the mastery of its original.”
Blade Runner 2049 also received quite a few awards, earning five Academy Award nominations. Blade Runner 2049 would win for Best Visual Effects, and after thirteen previous nominations, Roger Deakins would finally win an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Deakins’ neon-drenched landscapes and gorgeous lightning gave Blade Runner 2049 a look that separated it from the noir-inspired darkness of the first film, while still maintaining a feel that distinctly felt like Ridley Scott’s original film. While Harrison Ford didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for his performance, many theorized he may receive a nomination, saying it was one of his best roles in years.
Blade Runner 2049 had a $150 million budget, and ended up making $259 million worldwide, with only $92 million of that coming from domestic markets. The film opened at #1, but lost over half of its weekend gross the following weekend. Blade Runner 2049 was said to have lost producer Alcon $80 million. But even though Blade Runner 2049 wasn’t the box-office success many had hoped, director Denis Villeneuve said last year that he would be interested in revisiting the Blade Runner world, but maybe with a story that was disconnected from the first two films. Harrison Ford even said that he would be interested in returning for a third film if he liked the script.
While Harrison Ford has continued to work on many film projects over the last decade, understandably, his most popular roles have been the films where he returns to one of his iconic characters. His return as Han Solo was seen as one of the highlights in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while his cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was a welcome surprise. While Ford hasn’t played Indiana Jones since 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it will be interesting to see if audiences still have an interest in seeing Ford in a more action-oriented role.
Harrison Ford’s most recent film was 2020’s The Call of the Wild, and while again critics praised Ford’s performance, the film is estimated to have lost the studio between $50-100 million. The last original project not already based on an existing property was 2015’s The Age of Adeline, which was a moderate success. For a while, Ford was making cameos in films like The Expendables 3 and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. It also seems like Ford was involved in quite a few franchises that never got off the ground, like 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens, and 2013’s Ender’s Game.
But maybe Harrison Ford’s best performance in the last decade came in Blade Runner 2049, and despite being a supporting character to Ryan Gosling’s K, Ford proved that he could still steal the spotlight and be a captivating star after all these years. For those looking for a great modern sci-fi film, oozing with style and a great performance by Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049 is currently streaming on HBO Max.