The Replicants of Blade Runner 2049 will have more in common with the humanoid Cylons of Battlestar Galactica than the synthetic hosts on Westworld. Footage screened at Cinemacon in Las Vegas on Monday establishes that Replicant births are full of organic “goo.”
According to Josh Dickey at Mashable — one of the journalists who saw the preview footage — the Skinjobs of Blade Runner 2049 are “are not 3D-printed,” like in Westworld, but instead, birthed. While original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott has occasionally made a distinction between the robots of Alien and the Replicants of Blade Runner, this seems to solidify that these are different types of artificial intelligence.
Depicting the Replicants as organic wetware isn’t a change from the original Blade Runner per se, but instead, more of an extension of what many already assumed. Pris and Batty bleed in the original film, indicating they were grown and not built. In the Battlestar Galactica reimagining from 2003 to 2008, the human Cylons were similar. The human Cylons like Number 6 and Boomer began their lives in goo-filled vats and were even called “Skinjobs” at times, a nod to Blade Runner.
Now, it looks like the inspiration has come full circle back to Blade Runner. The preview footage included a scene in which Jared Leto’s character creepily screams “happy birthday” to a newly born gooey Replicant. Some of the other new footage was similar to the teaser trailer released last year, complete with Ryan Gosling’s Agent K playing a little piano.
Speaking to USA Today about the footage, Gosling said the connection between his playing the piano in both Blade Runner 2049 and La La Land was incidental. “La La Land hadn’t even been cut when we shot [Blade Runner],” he said. Hardcore fans of the original film already knew this: The piano is a reference to Deckard (Harrison Ford) playing music in the first film, making all of us wistfully wonder if he is indeed a Replicant. And if Deckard, or anybody else, are revealed to be Replicants in Blade Runner 2049, they’ll know have a decidedly more organic origin.
Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters on October 6. The footage screened at Cinemacon has not yet been publicly released.