Right then folks, just to get this out of the way; if you haven’t watched the original Blade Runner, well first off, what are you doing with your life? Go watch Blade Runner. Secondly, there will be a few fairly major spoilers and some speculatory ramblings from this point on. Fair warning, read on at your own spoilery peril.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ryan Gosling of ‘Only God Forgives’ and ‘Drive’ fame will be starring alongside Harrison Ford in the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic, Blade Runner. ‘Hey, that’s great news’ I hear you cry. Well, intrepid reader, maybe it is, maybe it is. There’s no doubt that the original Blade Runner is an absolute classic of the Sci-Fi/Thriller genre, and arguably one of the best films ever made. Surely, a sequel could only be a good thing.
Ryan Gosling – check. Harrison Ford – check. We have the makings of a fantastic cast here. The problem is, if Ford is to reprise his role as the slightly morally dubious anti-hero Rick Deckard, then where does that leave the plot of the original film? Fans of Blade Runner will remember that part of the infectious appeal of the movie was the ambiguous nature of each of its characters. The question of whether or not Deckard was human, or in fact an android/‘replicant’ akin to those he was tasked with hunting is a question that still remains engrained in the minds of many a fan.
This question remained floating until the release of the Blade Runner Director’s Cut in which Scott strongly hinted that Deckard was indeed intended to be a replicant. Although only a hint, this confirmed the suspicions of many fans and answered one of the most enduring questions of modern Science Fiction. Now folks, this is where we go real deep; hold onto your butts.
The thing about replicants is that they were designed to work manual labour across Earth’s space colonies. Due to this, they were designed to be disposable, and given a short four year lifespan. If the rumours are to be believed and this sequel takes place decades in the future of the original’s 2019 setting, then Deckard would surely no longer be alive; or whatever synonym for alive is appropriate to androids. That’s some serious moral philosophy right there, folks. Probably shouldn’t have mentioned it.
There are a few possibilities that spring to mind in regards to this problem. The first is that Deckard actually wasn’t intended to be a replicant and good ol’ Ridley is just a massive troll laughing his way to the bank. The second is that Deckard could be a different, improved model of replicant, removed from the restrictions placed upon the Nexus-6 series replicants we see throughout the film. Finally, the third comes from the fact that the rumours thus far have not linked Scott in any way to the sequel. This could mean that existing screenplays strayed too far from Scott’s original vision for Blade Runner for the director to be comfortable taking the helm of its sequel. Possibly hinting at disparities between both films’ continuity.
Of course, this is all just rampant speculation and should be taken as such. At the moment, the mysterious sequel is just that, an enigma wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a box with big shiny paper with a lovely little bow on top. No doubt we’ll be able to unwrap that box soon, whatever’s inside. Until then, grab your scepticism hats ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to be cynical.