By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI education correspondent
The filming of the major TV series Blade Runner 2099 in Belfast has been delayed.
BBC News NI understands a strike by Hollywood TV and film writers is one of the factors behind the postponement, with filming unlikely to resume before spring 2024.
The series, based on the iconic Blade Runner films, is due to be shot at Belfast Harbour Studios.
Northern Ireland Screen said it was “extremely disappointed”.
Richard Williams, chief executive, of the industry body had announced details of the series in October 2022 when launching the organisation’s four-year strategy until 2026.
On Friday he said the project had been prepping on the ground in Belfast for many months.
“The WGA strike has been halting production all over the world and we hope a fair deal is reached soon so crew can get back to work,” he added.
He said Northern Ireland Screen would do everything it could to plug that gap in Norther Ireland’s production schedule as quickly as possible, “mindful that many freelance crew and supply chain companies were relying on this project for work in the months ahead.”
A previous sequel to the original film, Blade Runner 2049, starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling was released in 2017.
More than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are taking action over pay and a greater share of the profits from streaming services.
A number of high-profile TV shows in the USA have been off-air since early May as a result.
But as the strike continues other series are likely to be pushed back and delayed.
It is not known how many crew and staff in Northern Ireland will be affected by the delay of Blade Runner 2099.
Another major film, a live-action version of the animated hit How To Train Your Dragon, is currently in production in Northern Ireland.
Changes to the timescales of major productions are not uncommon in the film and TV industry.
A major expansion to Belfast Harbour Studios is currently being built, including a new virtual production facility called Screen Ulster.
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