How Religion Fits Into Blade Runner 2049

JUNAIDRAO is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Explores Relationship Between Humans and God

It’s been 35 years since the original Blade Runner was released. The original dystopian science fiction movie achieved cult status and has been seen as highly influential to both directors and movies since. The sequel Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling and the return of the original star Harrison Ford, has generated lots of buzz and interest, is opening today. The movie has numerous themes, including religious overtones.

The movies are based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick believed that science fiction was a way to critique contemporary society, and named religion as ones of the issues he explored in his story. The movies tell the story of a policeman who hunts down “replicants” artificial humans that are created as a slave labor force for humans to explore other planets.

Warning: video contains violence some may find disturbing

The major religious theme is obviously about creationism. While most major religions have a deity that creates humans, human create the replicants. Humans have the power of divine creation. The question about the treatment of replicants as slaves becomes a discussion of the humanity of the replicants. If replicants are not directly created by an Almighty power, do they have a soul? Do they need to be treated with the same moral code espoused by religious denominations?

Both the author and the movie creates replicants in a parallel to angels. Both were created to serve their creator, both were limited in their ability to reproduce, and both had members that questioned their place and rebelled against their creator. The original Blade Runner movie has four replicants return to earth, essentially “falling” and then wreaking havoc for their creator. This is the Biblical story of Lucifer and his fallen angels. In fact, Roy, the leader of the replicants states that mimic Lucifer, including to is better to rule in Hell (Earth) than serve in Heaven (off-world colonies).

Roy has clear Christian symbols in the movie, including a nail in his nail (Stigmata) and a dove in the other. Blade Runner 2049 has the movie’s villain, played by Jared Leto, making several monologues about the necessity for humans to usurp God’s power by creating replicants in order to ensure humanity’s survival. Like other times in religious stories that humans try to play God, it probably doesn’t work out well.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter