Tannhäuser Gate

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.
Roy Batty, Blade Runner

Tannhäuser (pronounced TANN-hoiz-er) was a German poet and Minnesänger whose poetry dates from 1245 to 1265 A.D. Outside his poetry, practically nothing is known of the historical Tannhäuser. In the 1400s, legend sprung up that he discovered the underground home of the goddess Venus, then sought atonement from the Pope for having worshiped her. Richard Wagner's three-act opera Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg popularized this legend in the modern era.

The Sci-Fi film Blade Runner gave a brief Shout-Out to Tannhäuser: Roy Batty mentions the Tannhäuser Gate in his climactic speech (shown above). He pronounced it "Tann-houz-er"note  but who gives a flip. What the gate exactly is has not been revealed. It became a meme to science fiction geeks anyway.

References to the Gate crop up repeatedly in other SF media as a Shout-Out to Blade Runner. References to the original Tannhäuser are somewhat less common.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the battleship Minerva's Wave Motion Gun is named Tannhäuser.
    • Given that the Archangel's Wave Motion Gun based on the exact same technology is named Lohengrin, this is probably a reference to Wagner. Moreso since the Archangel was built and introduced long prior to the Minerva.
      • Definitely given that several of the Minerva's other weapon systems are named for Wagnerian Operas (Tristain [Beam Cannons], Isolde [Artillery] and Parsifail [Type of Missile])
    • There is also an episode named "Lohengrin Gate", which focuses on an Earth Alliance base in a mountainous valley that uses an emplaced version of the Lohengrin to guard the one entrance.
  • GunBuster has several pseudo-science and history shorts that detail the background of the series' universe. One of them concerns a physicist called Tanhauser who won the Nobel 5 years in a row for completely changing astrophysics. The "Tanhauser gate" appears to be what is currently known as a "wormhole's throat".
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, V uses a Spell Card called Tannhauser Gate. For bonus Sci-Fi points, it sets up the summon for the Xyz Monster Number 9: Canopy Star - Dyson Sphere.

  • A Christmas issue of Deadpool ends with the villain (dressed as Santa) trying to sway Deadpool from killing him by reciting Roy Batty's final lines. Deadpool knows enough about pop culture that the attempt just makes him angry and he kills the guy anyway.
    • Unless some inter-company theft occurred, this one was actually from DC's Hitman comics.
    Narration: "But a Blade Runner fan was this miserable heel / And Rutger's great speech from the end he did steal!"
  • The second My Little Pony Micro Series book includes a riff on the speech.

  • In Soldier, Kurt Russell's character is a veteran of the Battle of Tannhauser Gate. This and several other details were meant to tie Soldier into the same 'verse as Blade Runner. (The screenwriter, David Webb Peoples, was a co-writer of Blade Runner.)
  • Used by Owen Wilson as the titular character in Drillbit Taylor.

  • In And Another Thing, Wowbagger gives the original quote while ranting about how much he wants to die. It was one of his favourite movies.
  • A rather more subtle instance, but Mortal Engines, in its Used Future setting, has a mountain range the divides Central and East Asia called the Tannhäuser Mountains. The only break in the mountains is an armoured wall-fortress of Batmunkh Gompa. The climactic battles of the book, and the trigger for most of the political events of the rest of the series, take place on or around this metaphorical 'gate'.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Babylon 5 features symbiotic slugs that preserve memories from long-dead races. One of them, just before dying, gives a speech about "The things I've seen" that is strongly reminiscent of Batty's speech.
  • Joel McHale on The Soup used this trope to make fun of Nancy Grace's Swift Justice on the 1/28/2011 episode.

  • The song Tannhauser Gate by Fightstar is meant as a shout out to Blade Runner.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the space fantasy maps of Warhammer 40,000 references to the Tannhauser Gates are stuck in.
    • Most famously the Cadian Gate, the only safe route out of the Eye of Terror and the site of the biggest and most horrendous space battles in existence.
  • The various Heavy Gear franchise elements use what seems to be an elaboration of the Bladerunner version as their interstellar drive. Heavily traveled routes have stations that open the gate (which is cheaper) and larger ships have their own equipment for opening the gates (which is more flexible, and essential on exploration or military vessels).



    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In the castle Neuschwanstein in Germany (the real life Disney castle) the rooms are designed around Wagner's operas. There is an huge ornately carved doorway leading to the Tannhäuser themed room. Quite possibly the closest Real Life Tannhauser Gate in existence.