Well, they must have done something right with BR2049, because there’s a few more books coming – if only the 1982 film had gained such attention so early on. Most interesting of the releases is an art book – Blade Runner 2049 Interlinked: The Art curated by Tanya Lapointe, serving as a companion book to her The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 that came out at the time of the films cinema release. The latter book was a fine souvenir/companion to the film but there is obviously a treasure trove of art not included in that book (as I recall some critical reviews of the book complained there was too little art, too many set/behind the scenes photographs, so this should please those readers). It does bug me a little that various rights issues seem to forever negate any chance of a similar tome concentrating on the 1982 movie, but maybe someday (life has a way of pleasantly surprising you sometimes). Currently scheduled for October and looks to be same price/format as the earlier book. Hope there’s plenty of text accompanying the artwork and that maybe we’ll get some hints of deleted scenes alongside abandoned concepts etc; the definitive making-of for BR2049 has yet to be written, so I’m certain the film has lots of secrets to yet reveal.
A little earlier in September we get what must be one of the first texts examining the film – Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy is a ‘collection of entertaining articles on both Blade Runner movies (and on the spin-off short films and Blade Runner novels) by twenty philosophers representing diverse backgrounds and philosophical perspectives‘. Blade Runner was the subject of several books over the years – Retrofitting Blade Runner by Judith Kerman was one of the first and is one of my favourite books, hugely important when I first read it and while several similar studies followed, it remains one of the most important. Now that I think about it, it would likely be fascinating to re-read the Kerman book with the benefit of hindsight and all that happened afterwards regards the Final Cut etc.
And your Blade Runner bookshelf will need a little more room this Autumn because scheduled for October is another book about the film- Blade Runner 2049: A Philosophical Exploration (Philosophers on Film). Seems the film studies/critique network is thoroughly enchanted with Dennis Villeneuve’s film (or they know a cash cow when they see it, considering how many books came out about the 1982 film). This book might be especially noteworthy since it actually has a foreword from Villeneuve himself, and I can imagine it must be especially rewarding for Villeneuve to see his film getting all this attention. I’m curious to see how similar these tow books actually are and it will be fun to read contrasting views between the two collections. This latter book will be ‘essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, film studies, philosophy of mind, psychology, gender studies, and conceptual issues in cognitive science and artificial intelligence’. You got to love it- E.T never got this kind of attention. One note of caution- these film scholars/ philosophers are hardly what I’d call efficient, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these books slipped into next year. We’ll see.
But we’re not quite finished yet. You are probably aware that Alcon Entertainment in cahoots with Titan Comics is bringing us a Blade Runner 2019 mini-series, set, as the title suggests, shortly after the first film and is officially canon, franchise fans. I don’t think the first issue is out until June or July, but they have a collection of the series scheduled for November. They do seem to be treating this seriously, as it has the involvement of BR2049 scribe Michael Green to add some weight to its ‘official canon’ claims. The Boom! Comics adaptation of Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was surprisingly good, and it will be interesting to see how this turns out (I won’t be buying the individual issues, I’ll wait for the book, I expect). Some teased artwork which I’ll include an example of below certainly suggests it will be a quality production. Speaking as someone who had the original Marvel comics adaptation of the 1982 film back in the day (and I still say that was a beautiful piece of work adapting a film not really ideal for the comic treatment), I do get a bit of a kick from the Blade Runner films getting this kind of treatment. Of course we also have the anime series due (next year I think) so its evident Alcon are trying to keep the torch burning brightly for their Blade Runner property. A film is possibly too much to hope for, all things considered, but perhaps a HBO/Netflix/Amazon live-action mini-series might actually be even better. Not that we need ‘more’ but it is, well, strangely refreshing and vindication, really, having championed the film back in the post-1982 days when the film was buried and forgotten, to see all this attention now- and clearly the box-office woes of BR2049 hasn’t totally turned Alcon off the intellectual property. The cynic in me suggests they are just trying to maximise/get some return on their investment in untangling the rights to Blade Runner several years ago (which likely wasn’t cheap). At any rate, it certainly is interesting all this going on. Maybe a super-duper disc edition of BR2049 with decent extras/deleted scenes/commentary tracks might be in the offing someday. I bought Blade Runner so many times on home formats, it almost seems wrong not to wind up doing the same for its sequel.