Art/Culture  •  2Loves

Do Replicants Dream of Electric Unicorns?

The new Blade Runner film is just days away! Here are some fascinating facts about the film to get you ready for the much-awaited sequel.

October 03, 2017

Ridley Scott's favorite scene in Blade Runner was shot in the same sound stage as the hotel bar scene in The Shining. Walking into the ballroom bar, Scott recalled Joe Turkel’s portrayal of the creepy bartender and cast him for the thick bespectacled Eldon Tyrell, developer of the Nexus replicants. In the original US theatrical release of the film, the happy ending scene featured leftover footage from the introduction to The Shining, given to Scott by his friend Stanley Kubrick.

Blade Runner was the first feature film adaptation of a story by Philip Kindred Dick, whose works also include Minority Report and The Man in the High Castle. Dick died in disgrace two years before the film, after destroying his own literary reputation in 1976 when he held a press conference to tell us he was living in The Matrix. He is not credited for that film, though his writing and film adaptations continue to influence science fiction to this day. Check out this video of an actual android Philip K. Dick!

An unofficial simulated-sex sci-fi porno sequel called I.K.U. (suggestively pronounced “iku” as a nod to the Japanese theme of Taiwanese-American experimental filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang’s erotic homage). The film begins with Deckard and Rachel in the elevator to the parking garage, followed by car chases with psychedelic limousine orgies and missions for pleasure model skin jobs to collect sexual data by robo-dildonic transfer while eluding computer viruses and secret agents. (This almost certainly would have been Dick's favorite adaptation of his work.)

In the run up to the sequel on October 6, three short films have been released that take place in between the year the original film was set in (2019) and the sequel (2049), filling us in on happenings that took place in the 30 years between Deckard running off with Rachel and whatever will happen in the new film. The Blackout 2022 is 15 minutes of anime by Cowboy Bebop artist Shinichiro Watanabe. Nexus Dawn (2036) and Nowhere to Run (2048) are both directly by Luke Scott, Ridley's son.

Here are links to the other two shorts:
Nexus Dawn
Nowhere to Run

I'm not sure this is a spoiler alert: any fan of the film will have an opinion as to whether Deckard is a replicant. In Dick’s book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, he's human. It actually depends on which version of the film you've seen as there were seven official versions of the film released! Harrison Ford says he played the character as a human but Scott has clearly stated Deckard is an android, and the unicorn dream pretty much gives it away. As Scott is at the helm of the sequel, we're curious if Deckard will be outed in the film. There would need to be a good reason for why or how he would age, though a hint came in one of the new short films, stating that Nexus 8 replicants "had a natural life span".