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This is from the movie, Blade Runner 2049.

Why would Niander Wallace want replicants to reproduce? As a businessman, his goal is to make money by selling replicants. If replicants can reproduce, then humans can breed them. If humans can breed them, then humans don't need to buy them from Wallace. The same goes for Eldon Tyrell whom Wallace hints also had an interest in getting replicants to reproduce.

He does say he wants to expand the offworld colonies to more than just 9 worlds. And he needs millions of replicants to do that. But why not just build more replicant factories on the colony worlds instead of building them to breed?

And considering that if replicants start breeding, they will naturally mix and match their genes. Their offspring might not be genetically programmed to blindly obey orders from their owners, the humans might get a replicant revolt on their hands within a generation. This will be a problem since replicants are physically stronger than humans and many are just as smart as humans if not more so.

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    We don't know how complicated and expensive the production of Replicants is.Maybe it needs exotic materials... – Martin Schröder Oct 9 '17 at 23:14
  • @MartinSchröder Maybe. But still it makes sense for Wallace to manufacture them instead of letting his customers breed them... – Andres F. Oct 10 '17 at 8:07
  • You're assuming humans would allow replicants to reproduce without control. Humans have a few millennia of experience in controlled breeding of other species, and there have been unfortunate times humans have tried to do the same thing to other humans, so it's not as though it's some unthinkable option. – Keith Morrison Oct 16 '17 at 5:34
  • @KeithMorrison Humans have controlled the breeding of several pets and farm animals for millenia, but that's beside the point. There's a big difference between controlling the breeding of docile sheep and attempting to control the breeding of rebellious people who are smarter than humans. – RichS Oct 16 '17 at 6:36
  • As I mentioned, humans have attempted to control the breeding of other humans. It's failed, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been tried (multiple times). It's not a reach to assume the creators of breeding replicants think they could do the same. – Keith Morrison Oct 24 '17 at 15:42
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Wallace: Increased-mass-production or Generation ships

It is not confirmed anywhere why Niander Wallace would want reproductive Replicants to exist, but I have a couple of explanations.

Increased production rates

My first educated guess (and what seems to be a popularly accepted theory) is that he wants to scale up his mass production rates. If he were to manufacture breeding Replicants, then he could create Replicant 'farms', which would allow his organisation to ramp up the scale of the Replicant production hugely.

This could boil down to a few a few reasons:

Resources

They live in a world of scarcity, there aren't as much resources available to them as there are to us now. Perhaps they are limited to the number of Replicants they can successfully create.

This is re-iterated by the fact that Wallace mentions his limited production capacity:

Every civilisation was built off the back of a disposable workforce... But I can only make so many
Paraphrased from memory, and stated in the official trailer (0:14)

Being able to 'breed' them would greatly increase their efficiency as far as resource usage is concerned, given that all they'd need is the bare necessities of food, water and shelter.

Rules and regulations

Although we aren't quite clear on what he rules around Replicant production are, we know that there are definitely some. One of these could be the number of Replicants an organisation can create or even might limit the production to 'On World' only.

The ability to breed as many and wherever Wallace wants would again greatly increase their production capacity.

Generation ships

My second educated guess is that he wants them to be able to man (lol) generation ships.

Wallace is hellbent on 'conquering the stars'. He specifically mentions that he has conquered 9 planets, but is not satisfied:

Nine planets. A child could count that on its fingers
-Paraphrased from memory

He recognises the depth of space and how out of grasp the other 'stars' are, so seems to realise that he needs generational ships to achieve this.

Yes, he may not see the result of that endeavour, but he seems to see that as his legacy.


Tyrell: Perfection or Next level service

This whole thing of reproductive Replicants is a new development as of Blade Runner 2049, so there's no evidence that Tyrell intended any Replicants to reproduce, much less actually achieving it.

Perfection

Having said that, Eldon Tyrell was obsessed with the perfection of his creations. He seemed frustrated that he couldn't prolong their lifespan in his dialog with Roy Batty in Blade Runner. It's not unrealistic to assume that he would want them to be able to reproduce and even had a prolonged lifespan.

Remember, Tyrell's motto for their Replicants was

More human than human

That wouldn't be true to Tyrell if they couldn't reproduce and live for longer than 4 years.

Given that Blade Runner 2049 has now established in canon that Tyrell did in fact achieve this success, I'd say the reason he wanted to do so in the first place was to achieve the perfection of his Replicants.

Next level service

Replicants are service bots. They are built for a purpose - either to work as cleaners, medics, sex or whatever type of service humans may not desire. It is only logical to try and provide the next step in any service, doing what humans can't.

Unfortunately, there are many humans who cannot reproduce, no matter how much they want to. Many turning to surrogacy or artificial insemination. Imagine if Replicants could be created who are clones of your sterile partner, but with the enhanced ability of reproduction. That would be a disruptor in the field of medicine and parenthood.


Wheels don't need to be broken

In some of these cases, humans don't need to know that Replicants can reproduce. In fact, no one, not even Lt. Joshi knew that there was one Replicant who could reproduce in 2049. Wallace's plans seemed only visible to his most trusted, Luv. Additionally, it seems that Wallace was performing this 'experiment' in the privacy of his quarters, with on Luv having access.

This whole illusion of control would remain valid so long as Wallace and Tyrell keep it as a secret, until they are able to release the information in a controlled manner.

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    They don't need Generation ships or Sleeper ships to colonize the galaxy in the Blade Runner universe. They must have FTL ships because Roy Batty talked about space battles off the shoulder of Orion, and that is hundreds of light years away. The implication is that millions or even billions of worlds throughout the galaxy are now accessible. – RichS Oct 10 '17 at 5:22
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    I don't know that Tyrell is frustrated. He explains to Roy that "all of this is academic; you were made as best we could" and that he is "quite a prize". Tyrell didn't want to prolong their lifespan! More tellingly, he intentionally made them with a 4-year lifespan and actress Daryl Hannah, interviewed in "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner" claims she was told this was so that customers "would have to buy a new one" (like a car that breaks down). If this is indeed the case, Tyrell would never pursue self-replicating, uh, replicants. – Andres F. Oct 14 '17 at 0:11
  • Also god complex. I am not sure whether replicates were designed to not reproduce or aspects of their design meant it wasn't possible. I am assuming it wasn't possible THUS the god complex – Naib Oct 13 '18 at 1:23
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Wallace considers replicants humans. In fact, he considers them better than humans, humans engineered to full potential of humanity. His little angels, yet, imperfect, because, while they can do many things human CANNOT do, they cannot reproduce, which is one of the very basic abilities of humans. His goal is to spread humanity among all habitable stars in the universe. He cannot produce enough replicants fast enough and there is not enough human volunteers to do it. So, self-replicating replicants is the answer.

In that way, Wallace and Tyrell are similar. They both want to make the best replicants possible. Tyrell didn't know what he accomplished (breeding replicants). Wallace does and wants to reproduce the invention.

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In my view Wallace is a genius replicant. He became known after the Blackout so his true origins are shrouded in mystery. He seems to be blind but in reality he has several drones that fly around him giving him vision - what human can process vision from several distinct sources? So in this way, he is not actually blind, but can see better than anyone else. He is also completely obsessed with achieving self-reproduction in replicants, and he always talks about this obsession from a philosophical perspective, not a business perspective - he doesn't care about the money, the efficiency of production, etc. He cares about the future of his species; he cares about becoming his own master by crossing "the gap between the stars."

Finally, the most telling clue I found is at the end of the film when Decker tells him "you don't have any children, do you?" (paraphrasing). Why doesn't Wallace have any of his own children when he is obsessed with creating progeny? Maybe because he can't have children, which would mean he is a replicant!

I love how the film gives you this backstory, these 'hard facts' about Wallace, but still challenges you to question the nature of his existence (and that of every other central character), continuing the tradition from the first film. Truly a brilliant sequel that deserves lots of love and respect.

  • Welcome to the site. Is this speculation or do you have a source for this? – amflare Nov 10 '17 at 16:42
  • Thank you for the welcome! Much of what is known about Wallace's backstory comes from the 3 promotional short films that were released prior to the release of the main feature. There is also the Blade Runner wiki that summarizes the chronology of events between the two films, most of which is accurate and some of which is the author's speculation (which is always noted, and the speculation is contained to discussion about character motives, not plot points). My entire theory here is my own speculation built on clues I picked up from the films. – Alex Nov 10 '17 at 16:47
  • Integrating that information into your answer would be an improvement. – Politank-Z Nov 10 '17 at 16:57
  • IIRC, when Deckard asks Wallace, "You don't have any children, do you?", Wallace replies "Millions." – F1Krazy Nov 10 '17 at 16:58
  • ^ right, but those 'children' aren't of his loins – Alex Nov 10 '17 at 18:53
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I think in fact he is beyond being a businessman being driven by profit and loss (he is Bezos+ rich by saving humanity from famine and controllable Replicant technology) -- I think he wants reproduction to be able to have millions of obedient servants; presumably the obedience would be inherited or that would be the plan.

Wallace, clearly a megalomaniac, might want to personally rule humanity through a Replicant army.

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In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, not only humans have been replicated - other animals have been as well. Humanity had wiped out almost all other biological life, and while some surviving animals were still kept as high-status pets, other animals were being replicated instead.

At the end of the novel, Deckard comes across a toad in the wild - and is overjoyed, because toads are supposed to be extinct. He then discovers that the toad is a replicated toad - which now exists "in the wild". A new, "replicated" ecosystem is slowly coming into being - and reproduction would implicitly be part of that new system.

These elements of the novel may or may not be relevant to the Blade Runner films, but the concept of "electric" life replacing the animal world and humanity is pretty deeply embedded in the DNA of the overall story. The creators of the replicants may have wanted them to have the ability to reproduce because they believed, on some level, that the future belonged to them.

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I would suggest that at his level, increasing sales is meaningless -- he wants to be emperor as certainly he would become with an unlimited supply of obedient replicants.

  • Do you have anything to back your suggestion? – Sava Oct 13 '18 at 1:34
  • @Sava: He is pretty explicit about it -- he wants mankind to conquer the stars. Since they would be conquered by replicants that are obedient to him, that would pretty much make him emperor. He was not talking about how much more money in he or his company would make by doing this. – releseabe Oct 13 '18 at 10:16
  • You should integrate that to your answer, as well any relevant links, context and reference materials that backs this up. It's one of the rules of the site, as stated in our How to answer? page. Comments can vanish after a time, leaving only the answer, and someone who would read yours and not have seen the movie would think that your answer is just guesswork. – Sava Oct 13 '18 at 15:32

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