Blade Runner: Development via The Adventures of Tintin and the secret of the Unicorn?

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a) Exploding factory furnaces

a.i) If one is looking forcefully for Blade Runner/ Tintin connections for the opening scene, featuring the explosions coming from the factory chimneys, one might look at the images with the silhouette of the Unicorn ship in the panels as Captain Haddock recounts the memoires of his ancestor blowing up the Unicorn because it had been taken over by pirates.


a.ii) I might imagine that the row of panels below fusing with Ridley's imagination and past experiences, so that the ship with its masts becomes the factories with huge chimneys and the image of the exploding ship as one of the fireballs seen in the factory landscape.


b) Captain Haddock as a carbon copy of his ancestor

Tintin buys a model of a ship as a present for Captain Haddock, and there are others eager to buy it off him.

When Captain Haddock sees it, he wants to show Tintin a painting of one of his ancestors that has exactly the same ship

Here we are presented with the realisation that the character Captain Haddock appears to be near enough a carbon copy of his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock, captain of the King's navy


c) Tintin noticing a detail in the painting becomes Deckard using the Vesper

c.i) Tintin's eyes dives into the details on a painting and see previously unnoticed details that take him to the next part of the story.


c.ii) Then in Blade Runner, the nearest thing we might have Deckard exploring a photograph left behind by one of the replicants, using an Esper machine which seems to see almost around corners in the photograph




d) The Dream of the Unicorns

d.i) Tintin's pursuit of unicorns

When Tintin went back to see if it was a model of the same ship, the Unicorn, he finds that it has been stolen, 

But earlier in he story,  Snowy/Milou the dog knocked it off the cupboard causing a slight breakage, and out of the broken mast rolled a parchment that went underneah the cupboard

The parchment containing seemingly meaningless words also shows small images of unicorns on it as in the name of the ship

d.ii) Deckard dreams of a Unicorn.

This seemingly meaningless parchment might perhaps transfer itself across to Blade Runner as an abstract dream about unicorns, and this will connect with something encountered at the end of the film


e) Someone else's memories

e.i) When Captain Haddock decides to have a look at the old sea chest in the attic that belonged to his ancestor, with a hat and cutlass, he found his ancestor's old journal.

As he tells Tintin the story, after a few drinks of wine, he can not distinguish between what's in the journal and what's happening right around him at that moment as he begins to dangerously act out the story presented in it.

e.ii) In Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, this appears to be about the story of Mercer 

e.iii) In Blade Runner presents the female character Rachael (and perhaps even Deckard himself) who is revealed to be a biological android known as a "replicant". 

Deckard tests her with the Voight-Kampff machine, and it takes him longer to decided that she is a replicant. 

Later when she comes to visit him about the examination, he has to reveal to her that all of her personal memories are implants that turn out to belong to the niece of Eldon Tyrell.

f) Hunt for the replicas / replicants and origins of Eldon Tyrell

f.i) Ivan Ivanovich Sakharine becomes Eldon Tyrell wirh Rachael becoming another replica model of the Unicorn? 

we first encounter Ivan Ivanovich Sakharine trying to buy the ship model off Tintin, and even visits Tintin at his home to buy it. 

Once Tintin has his stolen, he visits Sakharine who has such a ship on display. Tintin assumes that it is his but it hasn't been broken.

Sakharine has had this for the last decade. 

He mentions the word replica when talking to Tintin about his and perhaps this translates into Blade Runner as the replicants.    


f.ii) Deckard meets Rachael

Perhaps it's as if Sakharine's own replica of the ship translates into Blade Runner as Rachael who as a replicant wasn't quite the average one.

Deckard had been brought in to the Tyrell corporation building where he met Eldon Tyrell where he is introduced to Rachael to do his Voight Kampff test upon, and she turns out to be a more advanced replicant, but she has memories from Eldon Tyrell's niece and doesn't realise that she is a replicant

There begins a love affair between Deckard and Rachael

One might ask if they were introduced to each other on purpose

Perhaps this echoes Captain Haddock being like a replica of one of his ancestors and when he reads the journal, can not distinguish the world from that journal with the real one, possibly because he has drunk too much alcohol




f.iii) Ivan Ivanovich Sakharine the collector who wants the ship that Tintin found in the street market.

When he is visited by Tintin at his apartment, is found wearing a dressing gown.

He hopes that Tintin has come to sell him the model ship that he has found.

Later, he is found lying on the floor presumed dead, but turned out to be simply unconscious, but his ship has had its mast broken, and with that the parchmeng stolen

Here Tintin begins to pick up on the mystery surrounding these replicas of ships and the parchment 


f.iv) Eldon Tyrell as we encounter him in his dressing gown shortly when he is killed by the replicant Roy Batty.

g) Man's jacket with cleaner's serial code becomes synthetic snake scale with serial code
g.i) Later in the story, a pick pocket has his jacket pulled off by Thomson or Thompson/ Dupond or Duponds and looking through the jacket, they find numbers stitched into it that indicate it has been to a cleaners recently, and by visiting all of the cleaners, they would surely find the name and address. 

At Stellar Cleaners they are given his name and address, and later in the story find the harmless cleptomaniac who adores wallets and has a collection of them arranged alphabetically by the owners names, and a number of them belong to Thompson/Duponds who kept discovering that he lost his wallet.



g.ii) Following this, I think that the pickpocket's coat in Blade Runner becomes the discarded snakes scales which show a serial number when examined under a microscope by the Korean woman, lead them to the fact that one of the replicants owns a synthetic snake.


g.iii) Why I immediately looked for an association between the jacket and the snake scale

When Ridley Scott made Alien, I believe that they used a sequence from Tintin and the Pharoah's Cigars and as Tintin hunts down a villain, he finds a discarded jacket on a statue which in Alien became the discovery of a shed skin of the chest burster alien, as if it were a reptile.

See: Alien: Brett's death scene references "The Adventures of Tintin and The Cigars of the Pharaoh" by Hergé, as published in La Petit Vingtieme #4, January 1933 ?

g.iv) Discovery of a sequin in the bath in the movie Black Rain
Something else to note though is that the idea of Deckard finds a snake scale in the bath tub in Blade Runner would lead in a later film Black Rain, the character played by Michael Douglas finds a sequin in a tub.

When they made the movie, they needed a clue for a scene and a member of the crew who had seen Blade Runner suggested the sequin

Ridley's response was  "No, we can't. I've already done this once."

But they couldn't think of another clue so they went with it and Ridley hatd doing it.

  1. Paul Sammon: I also noticed there's a similarity between Harrison Ford finding a snake scale i a tub in Blade Runner and Michael Douglas finding a sequin in a tub in Black Rain....
    Ridley Scott: That's well spotted too. But I have to tell you, I didn' like that. We needed a clue in Black Rain, and somebody on the crew who'd seen Blade Runner suggested the sequin. And I said "No, we can't. I've already done this once." But we couldn't tthink of another goddamn clue! So in fact, it's absolutely a repeat. I hated doing it (Future Noir, revised and updated edition p507, interview with Ridley Scott by Paul Sammon "A 700 layer cake")

j) The Bird Brothers taunting and pursuing Tintin become Roy Batty taunting and pursuing Deckard 

The Bird Brothers,  Max and G. Bird who are in the French version Maxime et G. Loiseau own Marlinspike Hall and turn out to be the villains. 
They capture Tintin, lock him up in the cellar and taunt him, wanting to find the third parchment

I think that Philip K Dick turned them into Roy Baty and his wife Irmgard, becoming in the film Roy Batty
In the final film, we only have Roy Batty and taunting Deckard in their last scene together leading to Baty's own demise.
j.i) Tintin finds himself imprisoned by the Bird brothers in a room in the basement of Marlinspike. She smashes a hole through the wall with a makeshift battering ram.
j.ii) In the where Roy Batty comes after Deckard in the empty apartments of the building, he smashes his head through the wall as he intimidates Deckard

k) When the unicorn revelation adds up

k.i) Small unicorn images

All the pieces of the parchment that Tintin has been collecting come together to reveal the directions to the treasure, and we see the little images of the Unicorn


k.ii) Philip K Dick wrote about Deckard's discovery of a mechanical toad as something that would meaningful to Mercer in this place


k.iii)  Gaff's origami unicorn

Gaff who likes to display his authority over Deckard creates three pieces of origami

He creates a chicken to show off Deckard's state of mind when he is forced to take on a mission

He creates a phallic matchstick man, perhaps to show off Deckard's interest in Rachael?

In the end of Blade Runner, a unicorn is discovered made form paper as a piece of Origami , revealing to Deckard all that he needed to know to take Rachel and leave.

It also showed that Gaff knew everything about Deckard and his inner dreams as a replicant 

In the Tintin story, there were three of these parchments to collect and perhaps you might say that that's three pieces of origami by Gaff

1 comment:

  1. "Blade Runner: Development via The Adventures of Tintin and the secret of the Unicorn?" was posted 31st October 2023