Like it or not, Blade Runner 2 is going forward with Denis Villeneuve directing and Harrison Ford returning as Rick Deckard. But should Deckard really be the focus of the story this time around?

Popular Mechanics asked seven science fiction writers what plot they'd want to see in Blade Runner 2, and Karl Schroeder (Lockstep) presented a political thriller focusing on the secret replicants and self-hatred:

The movie's called The Register. It's set in a vast urban sprawl, as was the first movie. It's a few years after the events of Blade Runner, and major events have shaken the artificial life cartels. Most importantly, the central register that records who is a replicant and who isn't was destroyed in a terrorist attack. After the attack, the blade runners tried to round up the known replicants. But this just panicked the rest who did their best to disappear into the chaos of the streets.

Now, several years later, arbitrary arrests are common, and people turn in their neighbors on suspicion of being replicants. Anyone who acts even slightly nonconformist is suspected, and the fear of secret replicants presents a great opportunity for those who want to purge their communities of undesirables, or just get rid of someone they don't like. In this environment of paranoia and disappearances, a ruthless politician arises who promises to set the city's house in order. He's a thug and murderer with ties to organized crime, but his rise to power is swift and apparently unstoppable.

The story concerns a replicant woman who is hiding in plain sight in the heart of the blade runner's administrative offices. She discovers that the politician is himself a replicant, but then has to face a dilemma: expose him and risk exposing herself, or try to find another way to bring him down. The movie explores the delicate dance she does along the edge of disclosure as she tries to set him up‚ÄĒwell aware that if that fails, she may have to sacrifice her own freedom to bring him down. Along the way the story questions, again, what it means to be a person and how social pressures and fear can make even the best people betray their own.

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Read the other authors' suggestions on Popular Mechanics, including Deckard hiding amongst the replicant community and a visit to a replicant-controlled colony where the humans have to pretend to be replicants, rather than the other way around.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.

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