Blade Runner universe is packed with references to our own: cities, advertising, popular singers, political institutions, etc. It's not our universe, since we are living 2018 and we are clearly not close to the achievements of this Universe technology (off-world colonies and replicants most exemplary). The geopolitical landscape it's pretty different too.

The 1982 movie is set in the future and could suffer from being too optimistic regarding the development of new technology, as it is risky to predict/imagine the worlds state only 40 years in the future. But Blade Runner 2049 has been released with knowledge that the technology is currently not feasible and the historical events are different, so (hopefully) someone involved may have thought of a reason for the different development of events.

In Phillip K Dick's novel (by the way, while writing this right now I get the K reference), nuclear war makes a clear changing point although others are possible (the introduction of one of the novel technologies for example). I don't know if such a motive was clearly stated for the films universe.

My question is: Do we know when and how did the film's universe became so different from our own?

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    "Ridley built this movie as an extension of the late-70s. He took the main currents of the 70s-the fashion, the aesthetics-and brought them into the future. Me, I had to struggle with the problem of having to deal with a movie that was made in 1982 that talked about 2019. 2019 is tomorrow. As we all know, there’s a difference between the future world of Blade Runner and today’s reality. So I came to the conclusion that I needed to deal with an alternate universe, to start with the world of the first Blade Runner and extend it into future in order to create continuity between the films" – Valorum Jul 8 '18 at 21:02
  • @Valorum good to know it was aknowledged – Ram Jul 8 '18 at 21:09
  • yeah, unfortunately it doesn't answer your question. The fact that BR2049 is set in the same continuity as BR doesn't address the wider question of when our reality and BRs reality diverged. – Valorum Jul 8 '18 at 21:50
  • Proof, if it were needed, that movies set in the future should just skip years and dates entirely if at all practical. :-) – StephenG Jul 9 '18 at 1:10

At the latest, the Blade Runner future had split off by 1982.

During Deckerd's video-phone conversation in the bar with Rachel, you can see the Bell Telephone logo on the machine he uses.

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In real life, on January 8, 1982, Bell System agreed to make itself defunct as a result of anti-monopoly actions by the U.S. federal government against its parent company, AT&T. By 1984, Bell System ceased to exist, and by 1987 AT&T had adopted the logo that's familiar today.

There are a number of brands in Blade Runner that are defunct today in the supposed "Blade Runner curse," including PanAm which folded in 1991. But Bell is the only brand that saw its death knell before the film had even been released. Assuming that Ridley Scott didn't intentionally put in any anachronisms, it seems safe to say this is the earliest divergence from his vision of the future.

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    Great info, now you leave me imagining how Bell System evading anti-monopoly actions could led to a cyber-punk future – Ram Jul 8 '18 at 21:04
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    Did you mean "at latest" rather than "at earliest"? – Harry Johnston Jul 8 '18 at 21:08
  • A brand or company name can be resurrected. I don't think this is quite enough to go on (but a good try !). – StephenG Jul 9 '18 at 1:08
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    The Bell logo has been in continuous commercial use by regional Bell operating companies since the 1984 breakup. I don't see anything in that photo that indicates that it's AT&T. – Michael Hoffman Jul 9 '18 at 1:57
  • Maybe in reality, Bell downsized to a smaller company operating only the 555 area code - an action that would look like being defunct to the casual observer? – Hagen von Eitzen Jul 9 '18 at 6:01

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