In a 1982 video interview with Reelin’ In The Years, Scott speaks at length about the themes in “Blade Runner,” and what he means when he says it is not a science-fiction film. Clarifying his stance, Scott says that as the events of “Blade Runner” take place in 2019, it talks of a “near future,” which was only “40 years away” at the time the interview took place. The dystopian “multi-national megalopolis” in “Blade Runner” is in shambles due to overpopulation and pollution, which have rendered the planet uninhabitable. Scott’s aim was to weave these very real issues into a dystopian setting, mostly as a reminder that this should not be the kind of future we would want:
“Hopefully, there is a kind of dramatic separation from the audience and from the film at that moment, so then they’re quite clear they’re watching a fabrication, not necessarily a prediction of the future. I hope it’s not the future.”
By saying that the film is not a prediction of the future, Scott is hopeful that real-world overpopulation and climate change issues will be dealt with in ways that will help prevent such a bleak future. Despite his hope for humanity, Scott also says in the interview that he “do[es] believe that is the way it’s going [depleted resources, environmental decay]” and that we could end up in a “Blade Runner” world “unless something really is done about it.”
Well, terrible news, folks. “Blade Runner” is not science fiction anymore, nor is it a futuristic film because the film’s future is already here, which makes Scott’s film a contemporary thriller.