There’s no denying the credentials of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner; it’s a genuine masterpiece. In the past I’ve written at length about my deep-rooted affection for it. In fact, one of my earliest posts on this blog was a gushing, one thousand word appraisal of its complex themes and characters.
So you would assume that I’m incredibly excited about the upcoming sequel, Blade Runner 2049?
Well you would be wrong. Very wrong.
This particular sequel not only fills me with dread, it also threatens to devalue one of my favourite films of all time.
Allow me to explain …
The beauty of Blade Runner lies in its ambiguity. It raised a number of interesting questions but purposefully left them unanswered, which allowed us to interpret its implicit themes in a number of different ways.
The exploration of what it means to be human and how we would react to manufactured entities displaying distinctly human traits was the nucleus of Blade Runner. It added countless layers of complexity to the Rick Deckard character. This dispassionate human showed less humanity than the engineered beings, known as replicants, he was tasked with killing.
It’s a widely accepted theory that Deckard was, unknowingly, a replicant himself. Although never specifically stated, it was subtly implied throughout. What was made clear was that replicants were only designed to last for four years.
With that in mind, were the elderly Harrison Ford to step back into Deckard’s shoes in a sequel, all of the subtle implications of the original would be completely dismissed, thus diminishing a key theme of a science fiction masterpiece.
Again, it was never confirmed that Deckard was less than human, but it was never denied either. The original Blade Runner left us with questions that were never meant to be answered. It was designed to create a talking point, with different people having wildly different interpretations of the same thing.
Of course if your interpretation was that Deckard was a human after all, then a much older version of him showing up in a sequel would make perfect sense. But it’s the fact that Blade Runner actively avoided giving us definitive answers which, in turn, left us to form our own ideas that made it so fascinating.
That, for me, was what made it so special.
Let it be known that I’m not completely against the idea of a sequel to Blade Runner. I would love to have a reason to revisit such a fascinating vision of the future. There is no reason why the same themes couldn’t be explored again with entirely different characters, but the inclusion of an aging Deckard would completely undermine the complexity of the character.
An extension to Rick Deckard’s narrative is completely unnecessary. His story arc felt complete and satisfactory. Revisiting the character now would cause severe, irreparable damage to Blade Runner‘s profundity and would compromise one of, if not the best science fiction movie of all time.
… But I could be wrong.