Blade Runner

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Fandom
Name: Blade Runner
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Ridley Scott, Philip K. Dick
Date(s): 1982
Medium: movie
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia
from Beyond Antares #23, Esther Mace, 1984
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Blade Runner is a 1982 science fiction movie starring Harrison Ford loosely based on Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It is set in 2019 in a futuristic version of LA and concerns the rather hard boiled adventures of a cop trying to track down some rogue replicants (androids).

Blade Runner has a massive fandom, but only a small portion of it produces fanworks like fanfiction, fanart, or vids[1] (other types of fanac are far more common). It is notable for displaying the United States' fascination with Japan in the 1980s and for introducing neo-noir elements to science fiction. It is considered highly significant by fans of noir, science fiction, and cult films.

Versions of Canon

Many movies are released as a director's cut that fixes earlier studio tampering. Few, however, have multiple director's cuts, let alone the full number of versions of Blade Runner available. There are generally held to be 7 versions of the film:

  • Workprint: The version shown to test audiences in 1982
  • Another test viewing version shown in 1982 which was similar to the theatrical release
  • Theatrical Version: The version shown in theaters in the US and available on VHS throughout the 80's
  • International Cut: The US theatrical version plus more violence. This is the version originally seen in Europe and Asia.
  • US broadcast version: A censored version shown on tv
  • Director's Cut: Available on DVD throughout the 90's. This version replaced the unicorn sequence and removed the cheesy voice-overs and happy ending.
  • Final Cut: This is what people more typically think of as a director's cut. Ridley Scott had complete artistic control and enough time to do exactly what he wanted.

Five of these versions are now widely available as part of a collector's edition DVD set released in 2007. Fans generally prefer either the Final Cut or the Theatrical Version. The Final Cut is most true to Scott's artistic vision. The Theatrical Version is the one many fans saw first, and it is often seen as being less pretentious and arty.

In addition to these versions, there are also many deleted scenes that were never used. Many of these are available on the collector's edition DVD set and have made their way onto YouTube and other websites. Some are simply variants of scenes used in the movie, but others provide more dialogue and character development for minor characters like Gaff or Holden.

Terminology

  • Blade runner: The film's title is a term for cops who "retire" (kill) replicants that have returned to earth.
  • Replicant: Replicants are genetically engineered organic creatures. The humanoid ones around whom the plot of the movie revolves are basically humans with decreased empathy and improved physical abilities. They're used as slave labor offworld and have no legal rights.

Characters

The movie contains numerous minor or unnamed characters, some of whom are notable mainly because of who plays them (James Hong as Chew for example). Some characters who have been featured in fanworks include:

  • Rick Deckard: The protagonist. A retired blade runner. (Played by actor Harrison Ford.)
  • Rachael: An experimental replicant
  • Roy Batty, Zhora, Leon Kowalski, Pris: Escaped replicants who have returned to earth
  • Captain Bryant: Deckard's old boss
  • Gaff (played by actor Edward James Olmos), Holden: Current blade runners

The Replicant Question

One of the central questions of the movie is whether Deckard, the main character, is human or a replicant. Depending on who you see as the greater authority, Word of God could actually go either way: The director has stated that it was always his intention that Deckard be a replicant, while the actor played him as a human.

Adding to the confusion are the multiple versions of canon. The version of the film originally shown in theaters had the "unicorn scene" edited out. This is a sequence where Deckard daydreams about a unicorn. Later in the movie, another character seems to be aware of this dream, suggesting that it is an implanted memory and that Deckard is a replicant. Some fans argue that, whatever the director intended, the original theatrical release implies that Deckard is human. Other fans feel that the theatrical release is irrelevant and that the movie should be evaluated based on the director's preferred version.

Fanac

Cityspeak

One common fan activity in Blade Runner fandom is (or was) attempting to decipher "Cityspeak", the creole language spoken by the character Gaff. Originally, this dialogue was supposed to be in Japanese and to have subtitles, but the actor playing the part (Edward James Olmos) decided it would be more appropriate to create a futuristic mishmash to go with the setting of the movie. This means that what he came up with was not only not in the script, but it was also in a mix of languages most fans of the movie would have no hope of figuring out alone.

The definitive translation and analysis was produced by fans at alt.fan.blade-runner and is described on brmovie.com.[2] The Blade Runner Wiki also has information on the languages used in the movie.

Communities & Sites

Fanworks

Blade Runner Fanzines

Non-fiction:

Gen

Gen, multimedia

Slash, multimedia

Blade Runner Fusions & Crossovers

While Blade Runner is not a hugely active fanworks fandom, it does regularly show up in fusions or crossovers with the actual Blade Runner universe or fanworks set in a Blade Runner-like world. For example, see:

See also the Cyberpunk page for more examples.

References

  1. Blade Runner does, however, regularly show up in fusions or crossovers. See Fusions & Crossovers section for details.
  2. BR Movie FAQ, Language (Accessed August 10, 2010)
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