I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. Then I spotted this “Blade Runner” Easter egg, which connects Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic to his earlier 1979 space survival horror, “Alien.”
During a time long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when big franchises were only dreamt of, Ridley Scott had laid the groundwork to connect his two biggest sci-fi flicks. A box office hit, “Alien” spawned numerous sequels while “Blade Runner” became something of a cult classic. Fans of both franchises have long theorized that the two are connected. They obviously share a lot — aesthetically, their technology is often on a par, with obvious links between Weyland-Yutani and the Tyrell Corporation. Not to mention both films take a similar cautionary approach when it comes to artificial life.
But did you know about this subtle Easter egg that connects the two?
It’s All About Words On A Screen
“Blade Runner” fans will be familiar with these iconic scenes when LAPD officer Gaff (Edward James Olmos) is sent to retrieve Deckard (Harrison Ford). The Blade Runner is about to be recruited by his old supervisor, Captain Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), to “retire” four illegal replicants who have found themselves on Earth.
It’s our first hint at what’s to come and it happens to be where a tiny reference to “Alien” appears. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter egg occurs in Gaff’s spinner — the flying car they use to head off to the LAPD. As Gaff fires up its engines, the blue console screen turns red with an overlay that displays “ENVIRON CTR — PURGE — 24556 DR 5.” And while you could easily dismiss this as a dose of sci-fi technobabble, we’ve actually seen this screen before.
Near the end of “Alien,” Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) hatches a plan to initialize the Nostromo’s self-destruct sequence and then escape the doomed spaceship via its onboard shuttle. Again, as she fires up the engines, the “PURGE” screen is displayed on the ship’s console.
Could It Be More Than Just An Easter Egg?
Sure, the “PURGE” screen is a rather cool nod to Ridley Scott’s earlier sci-fi hit. It could also easily be explained as the director simply reusing assets between films. But it could be more important than we realize, especially if both films share the same technology.
Both sci-fi films are set in the future (at least, they were when they were released) with “Alien” set in 2122 and “Blade Runner” taking place in the futuristic vista of 2019. This tells us a lot about the state of Weyland-Yutani’s space tug, the Nostromo. The vessel uses technology that is clearly over a hundred years old — obviously not a high priority for the corporation. And while this junker aesthetic offers a gritty, space trucker style for the 1979 sci-fi flick, it also speaks volumes about the company’s attitude to the ship and its crew.
Looking outside the movies, the connections run even deeper.
As part of the 20th Anniversary Edition “Alien” DVD in 1999, a DVD extra titled “Nostromo Dossier” shows extended profiles for the crew of the ill-fated ship. Here, Dallas is shown to have once worked for the Tyrell Corporation — the company which created the Replicants in “Blade Runner.”
Years later, in the U.K. steel book release of “Prometheus,” another reference cements this shared universe. Looking through a set of text files buried within the Blu-ray extras, you’ll find the Peter Weyland Files. Among them is a transcribed audio log where Weyland makes veiled references to “a mentor and long-departed competitor” who “lived like a God on top of a pyramid overlooking a city of angels.” That’s got to be Tyrell, right?
Sir Ridley Scott Confirms The Theory … Sort Of
Of course, there’s only one person in the world who knows the truth — Sir Ridley Scott.
During one of the “Blade Runner” DVD director’s commentaries, Scott explains how the worlds of “Alien” and “Blade Runner” intersect:
“There’s almost like a connective tissue between all the stuff I went through on ‘Alien’ into the environment of the Nostromo and people living within close proximity to people who still have Earth-bound connections and here we have people on Earth, so almost this world could easily be the city that supports the crew that go out in Alien. So, in other words, when the crew of Alien come back in, they might go into this place and go into a bar off the street near where Deckard lives. That’s how I thought about it.”
Sure, it’s not an out-and-out confirmation, but the idea that “Alien” and “Blade Runner” exist in the same universe makes a lot of sense. The movies share a lot of the same themes, such as the human-like androids/replicants trying to make sense of a cruel, uncaring world.
And it’s not only “Blade Runner” with hints of “Alien” in its design…
Blade Runner 2049 Has An Alien Easter Egg, Too
Although not directed by Ridley Scott, it looks as though there may be a subtle connection to the “Alien” franchise in “Blade Runner 2049.” Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner” sequel features Jared Leto as Niander Wallace, a spiritual successor to Eldon Tyrell and owner of the replicant-producing company, Wallace Corporation.
During one “Blade Runner 2049” scene, we see K (Ryan Gosling) escorted through the lobby of Wallace Corporation’s headquarters. There, displayed in rather creepy glass cases, are an assortment of human-like figures, presumably replicant designs. But the model on the right looks rather familiar — a nod to the Engineers as seen in “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott’s “Alien” prequel, perhaps.
The design in this scene makes it difficult to tell, with encased replicants reminiscent of classical statues as well as the pale-skinned Engineers. But with connections between both franchises going back decades, it’s easy to see a hint of the Engineers in this particular model’s facial features. And with another “Blade Runner” sequel in the works, we may even see more of these connections.
Either way, it looks as though “Alien” and “Blade Runner” share more than a few connections. And it all starts with a simple red screen.
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The post The Alien Easter Egg in Blade Runner You May Have Missed appeared first on /Film.