OPINION: The Story of Blade Runner
Blade Runner has been around since the release of the original movie back in 1982, and even more than 30 years later it is still around. It seems as if the franchise only has two movies, the original, and Blade Runner 2049, but that is false. It has had many spin-off films and books written that add lore to the long-running series.
Blade Runner was originally based off the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. dink and followed Rick Deckard. The series afterwards was brought into many forms of entertainment, including a few short films, a feature-length sequel, several comics and books, a stage play and a radio show. The books are direct sequels to Deckard’s story and the original movie, being titled Blade Runner 2, 3, and 4, respectively. They all add to the series in more direct ways, but are still important like the short films.
The short films are as follows: 2036: Nexus Dawn, 2048: Nowhere to Run, and Blade Runner Black Out 2022. All three of the short films were organized and planned by the director of 2049, Denis Villeneuve in 2017. Their main purpose was to provide an insight into the time between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.
Nexus Dawn stars Jared Leto as he reprises his character from Blade Runner 2049, Niander Wallace. It follows him as he and his partner, Lawmaker (Benedict Wong) bring in a new Nexus-9 replicant model to lawmakers in an effort to remove the ban against replicants that was issued after the events of Blade Runner. This short film plays an important part in the Blade Runner story, as it starts to bring about new change to the world that is expanded on in Blade Runner 2049.
Nowhere to Run follows the Nexus-8 replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) as he protects a mother and daughter from thugs. It may seem like it does not do much for the story as a whole, but it adds to Dave Bautista’s character and expands on the world, if only by a little.
Unlike the other two short films, Black Out 2022 is a 15 minute anime directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, as opposed to Luke Scott, who directed the other two. Black Out is a prequel to 2036: Nexus Dawn, and it follows an EMP detonation that has major and lasting impacts on the world from then on. It is specifically mentioned in Blade Runner 2049 as well. It has Dave Bautista reprise his role as Sapper Morton in the short film once more.
The last short film or series on this list is also different from the others, as it is a 13 episode animated series being produced for Adult Swim, and it is being created by Shinichirō Watanabe as well. The series is called Black Lotus and will take place in 2032, with some familiar faces from the movies. The series was just announced on November 29, 2018, and has no set release date as of yet.
Denis Villeneuve has also said that he is open to making a third Blade Runner film, and the writer of both films, Hampton Fancher has said that he was working on an idea for the third movie that involves Deckard moving to another country. Harrison Ford has said he would be open to returning if the script is good.
With it’s original release back in 1986, Blade Runner was a defining movie for the Sci-fi noir genre. Even through today its impacts can still be felt from small spin off series to a sequel to the original. Its impact can still be felt throughout other movie franchises as well, taking inspiration from the well known series.