Why a Blade Runner Sequel/Prequel is a Terrible Idea
Yesterday we reported the startling news that it seems plans are being made to continue the world of the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. As stated, Alcon Entertanment have acquired the rights for film and TV projects realted to the original film.
Now, as with every announcement regarding a remake or distant sequel of a regarded classic, there’s always going to be a certain amount of uproar from those who consider a film to be precious. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong. However, in this case a continuation of the Blade Runner story/world is a big, big mistake.
Blade Runner isn’t regarded with such high esteem because of its world and fancy effects (even though they are incredibly creative and stand up against any CGI), it’s because of the story. We get everything we need. The film walks a fine line between suggestion and plot, hinting at just the right amount to make us realise a few things. For one, there’s the suggestion that Deckard is a replicant himself. This is a deliberate attempt to blur the boundaries between what we consider to be human and non-human (note the irony that the escaped replicants in the film are more emotive than any of the humans). These are big questions but are never shoved down our throats. Developing a prequel or sequel further would only make that point more obvious and add nothing to what we already know. It would be like making a film about the exploits of Keyser Sose either before or after the events of The Usual Suspects. It’s redundant.
One of the greatest moments in cinematic history is antagonist Roy Batty’s final speech (you can watch it here, but if you haven’t seen the film avoid it). “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe”, he starts. In this scene we’re suddenly shown the tender side of Batty, and suddenly his evil quest becomes merely an effort to survive, to cling to his consciousness liek we all do, instead of letting his past fade “like tears in the rain”. In an i09 interview with the producers overseeing the Blade Runner sequels, they discuss the idea of making a prequel involving the replicant’s escape from servitude with delight. But by showing something the speech in the original in diminished. Now we have seen the things that we “wouldn’t believe”. Now the wonderful mystery of who Roy Batty is is clearly explained and ultimately ruined. We don’t need a story showing us past history. We don’t need to see this, and showing it would once again add nothing besides some extra information on technology.
The producers have mentioned that a director like Chris Nolan would be the ultimate choice, and that again should worry us. While Nolan is adept at creating an interesting atmosphere and some good set-pieces, the one-dimensional characterisations in Inception (not to mention the overly expositional dialogue) proves that this is the wrong approach to continuing the Blade Runner universe. Rather than using it as a springboard to ask fundamental questions about who we are and how technology affects us, we’re just going to get what could essentially become fan-fiction.
To the producers at Alcon Entertainment: do us all a favour, let the classic rest on its laurels and stop trying to diminish it by futile sequels/prequels. There are enough examples around at the moment to prove it’s probably not a worthwhile endeavour.