What are Blade Runners and Replicants in the Blade Runner franchise?

Despite a mediocre performance at the box office, Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 was considered one of the best films of 2017 and a worthy sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original.

In March 2022, the sci-fi sequel found its way to Netflix in the US and quickly climbed the streaming service’s top 10 list of what’s trending.

As such, Blade Runner 2049 has attracted many new viewers who may not be familiar with the wider world and mostly with the roles played by Blade Runner and the antagonistic replicants throughout the film.

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What are Bladerunners?

In the Blade Runner franchise, the titular Blade Runners are a sort of cop tasked with tracking down and killing rogue replicants.

Ryan Gosling’s Officer K and Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard both act as blade runners in the 2049 and original films, respectively.

To tell if someone was a replicant, bladerunners used what was called the Voight-Kampff test, in which they asked a subject a series of questions and measured their emotional response to deduce whether or not they were human.

Once a replicant was identified, the blade runner pursuing it would “retire” it; the use of the word “retirement”, suggesting that replicants are little more than property.

Warner Bros | Sony images

What are Replicants?

Replicants are genetically engineered humans.

Although designed and built, you’re unlikely to find any wiring or robotics in a replicant as they were made from organic material, meaning the only way to tell a replicant from a human was by its emotional to study response to a Voight-Kampff test.

Created by the Tyrell Corporation, replicants were conceived as slave labor, and many models – like the Nexus-6 – were modified to increase their strength and agility to suit their desired purpose.

Warner Bros | Sony images

Due to the early manufacture of Replicants, they were often unstable and tended to turn against their human masters – requiring a Bladerunner to hunt them down.

However, as replicant models evolved, they were further improved and stabilized by implanting real human memories.

This meant that newer models of replicants, particularly from the Nexus-7 onwards, were almost impossible to spot with the Voight-Kampff test, requiring the newest models’ serial numbers to be printed on the eye – like Dave Bautista’s Sapper Morton in 2049.

Warner Bros | Sony images

Can you be both a Replicant and a Bladerunner?

Yes, in Blade Runner 2049, Ryan Gosling’s Officer K (short for his serial number KD6-3.7) is both a Replicant and a Blade Runner who hunts others of his kind.

He is supervised by his superior, Lt. Joshi, highly respected but despised by other human members of the LAPD as he is spat on by another officer and called a “skin job” and also has “Skinner” written on his apartment door.

Additionally, one of the longest-running mysteries in the franchise is whether or not Rick Deckard is also a Replicant.

It hasn’t been overtly confirmed in either film, but there are several possible clues that Deckard could very well be a replicant – including commentary by director Ridley Scott.

One of those clues comes from a very brief shot of Deckard’s eyes glowing in the original film for that is something that can be seen in the eyes of the replicants.

Another clue comes from another Bladerunner, Officer Gaff, who leaves Deckard with origami figures linked to what he has been thinking or dreaming about, suggesting that Deckard’s memories have been implanted.

Warner Bros | Sony images

Blade Runner 2049 is available for streaming Netflix in the US after it was added to the streaming service in March 2022.

In other news: How many Oscars and nominations does Will Smith have?

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/03/30/what-is-a-blade-runner-replicant-2049/ What are Blade Runners and Replicants in the Blade Runner franchise?

Zack Zwiezen

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