The Art of Making Blade Runner: See the Original Sketchbook, Storyboards, On-Set Polaroids & More

There’s never been a bad time to revisit Blade Runner, but now, with all the news about the in-development Blade Runner 2 breaking even as you read this, it seems like an especially appropriate time to go deeper into Ridley Scott’s piece of groundbreaking, Philip K. Dick-adapting cyberpunk cinema. Whatever you think of the prospect of a sequel, if you call yourself a Blade Runner fan, you’ll never turn down a chance for another look behind the scenes of the original.

Hence our offering today of BBC critic Mark Kermode’s documentary above, On the Edge of Blade Runner, and, via Flavorwire, a selection of original storyboards from the film. Few science-fiction movies hold up so well aesthetically after 32 years, but only because few science-fction movies had so much sheer work put into their design — we are still, I imagine, assured a steady stream of production materials to gaze upon for a long time to come.

blade runner storyboard

In recent years, for instance, Sean Young, who played the replicant Rachel, released her Polaroid photos from the film’s set. And if you missed it the first time around, you’ll want to circle back to our post featuring a freely readable online version of Blade Runner Sketchbook, a collection of over 100 production drawings and pieces of artwork that originally came out alongside the film. (See it above.)

blade runner polaroid

And whatever direction Blade Runner 2 takes, promising or less so, we’ll all hear a lot about it in the coming months. So to balance out the coming wave of promotion for the second one, why not watch a little of the promotion of the first one in the form of the convention reel below (produced not least to counter all the bad press the production had drawn at the time), which contains interviews with some of those responsible for Blade Runner‘s most enduring qualities: Ridley Scott, “visual futurist” Syd Mead, and visual effects designer Douglas Trumbull. If all three of those guys work on the sequel, well, maybe I’ll start getting excited.

Related Content:

The Blade Runner Promotional Film

Blade Runner: The Pillar of Sci-Fi Cinema that Siskel, Ebert, and Studio Execs Originally Hated

The Blade Runner Sketchbook: The Original Art of Syd Mead and Ridley Scott Online

Philip K. Dick Previews Blade Runner: “The Impact of the Film is Going to be Overwhelming” (1981)

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


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  • Larry says:

    As a fanatic Blade Runner fan, this seems like a bad idea. Ford is apparently not in that much of it and Scott is not directing.

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