Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is heralded as a legendary science-fiction film in pop culture today, but it very much meets the qualifications for a cult classic. It inspired little attention and poor reviews when it first was released in 1982, but subsequent edits, home video releases, and special screenings helped it finally find the audience it deserves. Still, however, it remains a movie that hasn't been seen by absolutely everyone, which is why we're here to help you out before the release of the sequel, Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049.

The follow-up arrives in theaters this Friday, and I'm sure some of you are planning to buy a ticket but don't have time for a refresher course on the original. To help you, we've put together this handy guide that will fill you in on everything you need to know. It's worth noting that you can go into Blade Runner 2049 completely fresh and still get a lot out of the experience -- but what you'll learn below and on the next few pages will simply enhance your viewing!

Roy Batty Blade Runner Rutger Hauer

What Are Replicants?

Though the futuristic vision of Syd Mead may look stunning in cinematic form, the reality is that the Earth featured in the world of Blade Runner is a total mess. Expansion of human development ravaged the ground and the atmosphere, and all animals are dead -- which leads to a movement towards creating off-world colonies. The driving force behind this is the development of the Nexus-6: an android designed to look indistinguishable from a human, also known as a replicant.

As you might imagine, the creation of these replicants doesn't go entirely smoothly. They are built with enhanced abilities to allow them to be better workers, but also aren't made to have the same kind of emotional responses to stimuli as humans, and do not possess empathy. They are not allowed on Earth because of the potential danger they represent, and were purposefully built with short lifespans as a safety measure, but they still manage to become a serious threat when they start questioning their roles in society and rebel. There are more advanced models who don't even know that they are replicants and technically hide in plain sight, but in order to contain the danger of the mass-produced versions, a special police task force is formed specifically to contain them...

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