Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is widely regarded as one of the best films of all time and, certainly, the greatest sci-fi film ever made. Based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Scott’s film was a truly spectacular combination of electric neon visuals and a Vangelis-composed soundscape that is at once both beautiful and terrifying.
Blade Runner is set in a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles and follows police officer turned ‘blade runner’ Rick Deckard – played by Harrison Ford – who is tracking down a group of synthetic replicants who have turned fugitives.
Replicants are meant to be working off-planet at space colonies, as Earth has run out of natural resources and is in a state of decay. However, the band of rogue replicants, led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), have returned to Earth to face their creators at the Tyrell Corporation.
The film’s success spawned a sequel, though it would not arrive on the big screen until 2017. Blade Runner 2049 was directed by Denis Villeneuve and starred Ryan Gosling as K, a replicant who is a blade runner himself. The film takes place 30 years after the original and saw Harrison Ford reprise his role as Rick Deckard.
The sequel saw mixed reviews; many did not see the point in the sequel and took aim at its runtime, while other critics praised the film for its art direction, cinematography, visual design, and faithfulness to the first film. In fact, Far Out recently argued that Blade Runner 2049 represents some of Ryan Gosling’s best work as an actor.
Three Blade Runner 2049 short film prequels were also produced. Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 takes place three years after the first film’s events, in which the Tyrell Corporation has made a new replicant model with a longer life span. Shinichiro Watanabe, who contributed to The Animatrix, documents an electromagnetic pulse attack attempting to wipe out all technology in Los Angeles.
Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn picks up from the first prequel, where replicants have been blamed for the technological blackout. Further production of replicants is then halted until a company known as the Wallace Corporation gets the production ban overturned in 2030. Ridley Scott’s son Luke directed this prequel.
Blade Runner 2048: Nowhere to Run is the last of the three prequels and was also directed by Luke Scott. The short film introduces the first of Blade Runner 2049’s K’s victims, Sapper Morton. It takes place just a year before the big sequel and shows us the state of Earth, where society is divided into humans and replicants on opposing sides.
Check out all of the film’s prequels below.