'Blade Runner 2' and the Future of the Replicant
'Blade Runner 2' has the potential to expand on the original sci-fi masterpiece and reveal what the future holds for replicants.
I've... seen things... you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate... All those... moments... will be lost, in time, like... tears... in... rain. Time... to die.
A Larger UniverseWhat are those attack ships off the shoulder of Orion? Is Orion a planet? Is it a space station? Is it a spaceship? What about the Tannhäuser Gate? These are all beautiful details that hint at much broader universe. Blade Runner changes a great deal from it’s original source novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? What if Blade Runner 2 took more direct inspiration from its original source material? It doesn’t have to be direct continuation of Rick Deckard’s story. To say that a sequel is unnecessary is like saying no to the very notion of creativity. Think of Blade Runner 2 less like a direct answer to the question of whether or not Deckard is an android, but rather a continued exploration of the fascinating universe and a larger examination of the core themes running through the original work. What if Deckard is a replicant? How interesting could that be to see an elderly Harrison Ford hunted down by another Blade Runner. It could even be used as an in-universe justification for Harrison Ford’s age.
Future of Replicants
Maybe there’s something that makes him different from other replicants. Just because you don’t have the imagination to think of the possibilities doesn’t mean there isn’t some screenwriter out there who has a new take on Blade Runner that could blow you away. In some ways the cynicism might be warranted given the fact that Ridley Scott’s latest films haven't been that great. Even more reason for caution is recent return to the Alien universe in Prometheus, which was not well received. One could argue that the filmmaker's best days are long behind him. But despite being seventy-seven years old, Ridley Scott refuses to slow down. Perhaps he knows, like Woody Allen, that work is the secret fountain of youth. Woody Allen is nearly eighty years old, but he still finds time to write and direct one movie a year. Perhaps Scott knows that the best way to fight of senility is to keep making movies. Who better to make a movie that directly examines the definition of human mortality then a man staving off death via an unrelenting dedication to his craft?
Creativity is the Fountain of Youth
Just look at the his latest film with Matt Damon, The Martian. Does that look like the film of a man pushing eighty? The Martian was a huge hit, Scott’s enthusiasm for sci-fi has been renewed. Who are we to be negative Nancys and complain about a film maker fighting off the specters of his own mortality through his work? He’s got at least a few more good films in him. Quentin Tarantino once said he’d retire after making his tenth film, worried that working into his later years would dilute his impressive filmography. He has since recanted this statement. Maybe perhaps in his heart of hearts he knows as an artist and as a filmmaker to quit creating is to stagnate and die.
Continuing to create is perhaps the most practical way to fight the confines of our own mortality. Ideally long after you're gone the piece of culture will live on and continue to inspire, leaving your influence as something that can persist through generations. That mindset is what keeps such auteurs as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and Ridley Scott working to this day. It’s what keeps them vital and relevant, seeing how film making is their very life blood. You can’t think of a better person to tackle the enigma of creating a new Blade Runner than a Ridley Scott at the twilight of his life and career. So just because many of us don’t have the imagination for the endless possibilities of a new Blade Runner film doesn’t mean there isn’t a creative person out there with an interesting new take. Some view sequels as Hollywood’s way of just regurgitating what worked before, but a truly inspired person can see it as an opportunity to further explore a rich universe and delve deeper into the themes explored in the first film.