Ridley Scott thought Blade Runner 2049 was "too fucking long", which is sort of ironic coming from the King of the Director's Cut (whose need for control once saw Kingdom of Heaven rightfully restored to it's glorious 194-minute length). While 2049 director Denis Villeneuve doesn't necessarily agree with him, he is thankful they trimmed the movie down from its original four-hour work print.
Speaking with ScreenCrush's E. Oliver Whitney, Villeneuve commented on the rumors of a massive "Extended Edition" of the film, which began circulating after editor Joe Walker revealed the original length of 2049's assembly cut:
“[Laughs] No, the film was not intended to be released in two parts. The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs]."
It's nice that Villeneuve has a sense of humor about all this, and continues:
"No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
However, making the choice between what stayed in and what was excised sounds (understandably) excruciating:
“….you have to kill your darlings and I think four hours was too self-indulgent. And it’s a strange conversation because we’re talking about Blade Runner, so people want to know if there are other kinds of cuts. It’s [that way] in all movies; there’s always a long cut at the beginning. The first cut is always long and it’s a process and a lot of editing."
So what was cut? Nothing that we'll ever see in a finalized "Director's Edition", apparently, as Villeneuve doesn't believe in them:
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. 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. I mean, I’m not a fan at all of Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought it was a massive mistake to do Apocalypse Now Redux. It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual. I will not show it to anyone, the four hours, it doesn’t work. The movie you see right now is the one."
Here's hoping we at least get a glimpse at some of the chopped footage when the movie hits 4K/Blu/DVD/VOD on January 16, 2018.