• Timothy Shanahan


The philosophical issues Blade Runner raises are complex, but the film’s basic storyline is relatively simple and easily summarized. An opening crawl provides essential background information for the story about to unfold:

Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution into the NEXUS phase — a being virtually identical to a human — known as a replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth — under penalty of death.

Special police squads — BLADE RUNNER UNITS — had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicants.

This was not called execution.

It was called retirement.

Los Angeles, November 2019. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is an exceptionally effective ex-blade runner who had quit because, as he laconically narrates, he’d had ‘a bellyful of killing.’1


Science Fiction Slave Labor Real Animal Blade Runner Film Critic 
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Copyright information

© Timothy Shanahan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Shanahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Loyola Marymount UniversityUSA

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