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Director Confirms Four-Hour Blade Runner 2049 Cut Will Never Be Seen

Now that we're a few months out from the release of Blade Runner 2049, the meta-story of the long-awaited sequel has finally come into focus. 

Just like the original, Blade Runner 2049 sank at the box office, beloved by some and ignored by many. Just like the original, there are devotees who see the movie as a masterpiece while others watch it with indifference, finding it too long. And just like the original, there is chatter all around about potential alternate versions of the movie, with radically different approaches to the material that could conceivably make a near-masterpiece perfect. 

Unlike the original, though, no alternate versions of 2049 will ever be released—and that's a promise from director Denis Villeneuve himself.

"When I cut something, it's dead," the director said in an interview with ScreenCrush. He added that he "strongly think[s] that when it's cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again."

Villeneuve is referring in these comments to a four-hour, two-part cut of the movie that he previously discussed existing during the film's development. 

It's common practice for filmmakers to take the mass of unedited footage they've acquired at the end of a movie shoot and assemble all of that footage in sequence, resulting in a four or five hour-long facsimile of a movie called a "workprint" that would never be shown to the public, simply because it's unfinished and in no condition to be seen. 

But Villeneuve's comments on his four-hour cut have made it sound as though he had a lot more going on with this earlier version than a simple workprint, with the film's editor Joe Walker saying that the two-part version of the movie was compelling and "revealed something about the story"—so much so that the creative team briefly considered officially cutting the movie in half.  

"We toyed with giving titles to each half but quickly dropped that," Walker said at the time.

The original Blade Runner famously saw a number of different releases over the decades, with a theatrical cut giving way to a director's cut and finally a version known as "The Final Cut", with yet more versions of the movie also existing in the margins. It seems Villeneuve's philosophy as a filmmaker will preclude any shenanigans like that taking place with his film and its legacy.

"I don't like extended cuts," the director said. "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."

As though to make himself completely, 100% clear, Villeneuve continued to elaborate, saying, "Honestly, that's the movie I made. I will not show it to anyone, the four hours, it doesn't work. The movie you see right now is the one."

It sounds like he means it, and will probably keep this stance forever, barring some dramatic turnaround later in life. As for fans who think it might be cool to see, he doesn't care how much you want it.

Blade Runner 2049 is set for home release on January 6, 2018. If you just really, truly, cannot let this go, why not put those frustrated energies to good use, and go team up with the folks trying to corral a Zack Snyder cut of Justice League?