Ryan Gosling (left), Harrison Ford (Photo: Stephen Vaughan)

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? is a great title, a science-fiction koan that looks great in any era’s typography and instantly marks the dystopian novel as the work of Philip K. Dick. But just like “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” “Second Variety,” or How About A Cyborg Pope, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? isn’t a string of words that would jump out at theatergoers from beneath the fresh faces of Harrison Ford and Sean Young. So, through a convoluted series of twists and turns that involve a physician moonlighting as a sci-fi author, an unfilmable William S. Burroughs script, and Ridley Scott’s realization that Dick never put a name to Rick Deckard’s particular line of work, the cinematic version of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? flew under an even more evocative banner: Blade Runner.

And then the Blade Runner franchise’s flair for titles stops cold. Each successive entry in K.W. Jeter’s series of sequel novels sounds more and more like self-parody: The Edge Of Human (fine), Replicant Night (a bar promotion in which everyone who fails the Voight-Kampf test drinks for free?), Eye And Talon (a callback to Eldon Tyrell’s pet owl that could also be the name of a cheesy cop drama about a duo of blade runners). The name of this year’s big-screen follow-up, Blade Runner 2049, is just sort of nondescript, but according to screenwriter Michael Green, it could’ve been a whole lot sillier.

“When Hampton [Fancher] wrote his treatment and draft, he titled it Acid Zoo, which is a terrific title,” Green told Monsters And Critics, ignoring the fact that Acid Zoo would fit a Flaming Lips tribute band better than a visually sumptuous sci-fi picture. In the same article, producer Andrew Kosove says the film was at one point known as Blade Runner: Androids Dream, a full-circle move that could’ve caused confusion with Amazon’s Dick anthology Electric Dreams while also driving every copy editor in America up the wall. And so the film came to be known by the year it takes place, and the worst you can say about Blade Runner 2049 is “Do I have to have seen the first 2,048 Blade Runners to get it?” [io9]

[Like The A.V. Club, io9 is owned by Univision Communications Inc.]

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