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Exclusive: Blade Runner 2049’s alternate title revealed

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049
Ryan Gosling as K in Blade Runner 2049, which was almost given a different name

When a sequel has been awaited for 35 years, you can’t just call it Blade Runner 2. The title ultimately became Blade Runner 2049, the year in which it takes place, but…the producers of Blade Runner 2049 have now exclusively shared an alternate title they almost went with.

Blade Runner 2049 was almost called Blade Runner: Androids Dream, Alcon representative Andrew Kosove has confirmed.

“The movie was always Blade Runner,” he said.  “So we were only talking about an addendum to the title. It wasn’t like we were really starting from scratch. It was Blade Runner. There were a handful of other titles batted around. A lot of people had different opinions.”

Fans of Philip K. Dick will recognize the phrase Androids Dream. The Dick story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? became the basis for Blade Runner.

Blade Runner 2049
These cars DO drive themselves in Blade Runner 2049

“I think [Alcon partner] Broderick [Johnson] and I ultimately felt that simpler was better,” Kosove continued. “The fact that the original movie and the original first frame of the film is Los Angeles 2019, and since our story takes place 30 years hence, we thought it was very simple and clean just to call it Blade Runner 2049 as opposed to a lot of these other titles being kicked around.

“By the way, I actually really like that title but with the benefit of hindsight, I’m very happy we ended up with the title we did because I think it’s a little leading.”

If you’ve seen Blade Runner 2049 now you know that android dreams do factor into the mystery. However there were other mysteries to Blade Runner 2049 and the producers did not want to distract focus from them.

Blade Runner 2049 rain
If it’s raining it must be Blade Runner 2049

“One of the great things about the property, if you want to call it that, is that there’s a lot of unresolved mythology from the original movie,” Johnson said. “They talk about off world, they talk about a lot of different things but you haven’t seen it yet.

“Rutger Hauer’s speech is about another place and time. So we thought that really putting a stamp on the moment in time that our movie, this sequel takes place was an interesting way to really identify where we are versus other points.”

Screenwriter Michael Green revealed there were other working titles even before Blade Runner: Androids Dream. He came on after original writer Hampton Fancher wrote a draft.

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049
Ryan Gosling as K and Tomas Lemarquis as the file clerk in Blade Runner 2049

“When Hampton wrote his treatment and draft, he titled it Acid Zoo, which is a terrific title,” Green said. “For a while that was their working title. He doesn’t know this, when I started working on it, the working title was ‘Queensboro’ because I always considered myself a New Yorker.

“I lived in Manhattan and I was on my way there. I know Hampton lives in Brooklyn and I was on my way, had my laptop on my lap in a cab and I’m like ‘all right, it’s the bridge between the two’. So for a long time, the working title was Queensboro.”

Green’s working title evolved too.

“Then at some point I got a note from the line producer, just an e-mail he was sending back and forth,” Green said. “His signature at the bottom of the screen had changed to ‘Triborough’. I said, ‘What’s going on there?’

“He’s like, ‘Well, people found out that Blade Runner was Queensboro so we picked a different bridge to jump off of.’ That is the evolution. Actual titles, different ones were kicked around. I shouldn’t say which ones they were.”

What do you think? Was Blade Runner: Androids Dream a better title?

Blade Runner 2049 is now playing in theaters.

Fred Topel has been a journalist since 1999. Over the decades he’s written for About.com, Hollywood.com, CraveOnline, Rotten Tomatoes and Slashfilm. Fred brings Monsters and... read more

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