Amid all the talk of reboots and remakes, it’s kind-of refreshing to get some news that at least one classic property is being kept immune to all this.
To be sure, the language of the rights agreement recently obtained by Alcon entertainment to the “Blade Runner” franchise specifically forbids any remakes.
Blade Runner is one of the most influential science fiction films of all time, and has been recognized as such over and over by various institutions and awards in the 30 years since it was released.
This is why it’s especially nice to discover that the upcoming transfer of the franchise rights to the story (and the novel upon which it’s based, Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” does not include the rights to remake the movie, or to make a new movie based on the original novel.
They can make sequels or prequels, or compose a new story in the same world, they could even talk about making a television series based around Deckard and his detective career, but they cannot touch the original story.
The interesting thing here for them is that it means, whatever they do, they’ll have to come up with a fully new story, since Dick never wrote any other stories in the “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” story world, in which robotic humanoids have been banned from residing on Earth, and Detective Deckard is tasked with tracking down, and eliminating, rogue androids.
The novel, and the movie based on it, explores themes of identity, humanity, and the role of memory in sentience.
In classic Dick style, the novel leaves the reader wondering how the world and characters can function, and shows us a story which has us considering our role in the universe. Something all speculative fiction attempts, but only the great achieve.
The only thing I could see as a real fear here is the possibility that it could be made into another procedural crime television series.
Imagine a prime-time crime drama in which Detective Deckard spends each episode tracking down another android, each episode coming closer to the truth about himself, and draws nearer and nearer the events of the novel, which depicts his final case.
Each week, he would be stumped by the android in question, until he has a conversation with his friend the origami hobbyist, who inadvertently gives him a clue to the case while discussing a personal matter in Deckard’s life.
… Now that I come to think of it, that would be rad.
Perhaps there is not a basic concept which simply wouldn’t work. Of course, they could always ruin it with bad writing, bad acting, or bad directing, but the story canon is sound, and the sky is the limit.