It’s one of the saddest footnotes in SF history that Philip K. Dick not only didn’t live to see what a profound effect Blade Runner had on both the genre and on filmmaking as a whole, he didn’t even survive long enough to see the film’s release. Dick passed away on March 2, 1982, a mere three months before Blade Runner hit theaters on June 25th. Thankfully, Dick had at least seen footage and read the scripts, so he was aware of the shape the film was taking. Now the official Philip K. Dick website has posted a letter Dick wrote in October 1981, expressing his excitement and expectations for Blade Runner to Jeff Walker of the Ladd Company.
According to the site, this letter — which the family believes has never been made public before — was written after Dick first got a look at Blade Runner footage in a televised segment. The writer’s enthusiasm is palpable, and you can almost hear him breathlessly describing his thoughts about how impactful Blade Runner could be. Sadly, even if Dick had survived to see the film’s release, those hopes might have been let down somewhat, as the film divided critics and was not originally a commercial success. Still, Dick’s words have proven to be entirely prophetic in the long run, with Blade Runner an acknowledged masterpiece of cinema that has influenced countless other films in the years since. While Dick may not have been able to see that happen, it’s cool to know that what he did see of the film, thrilled him.