Blade Runner 2049's director Denis Villeneuve asked three directors to shoot three short films that document some of the events that have transpired between the original Blade Runner and the new one. Here are all three of the shorts and what each means to the mythos of Blade Runner.
After detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) closed the case on the murderous escaped Nexus-6 Replicants and then presumably fled Los Angeles with his true love Racheal, a lot has happened in the noir future of Los Angeles. Bridging the gap between the first Blade Runner film and its new “present day” of 2049 was never going to be easy. But now, it seems there are specific stories of what occurred in the time in between.
These new short films are poised to bridge the gap between the world of 2019 in the original Blade Runner and the forthcoming future of Blade Runner 2049, giving us the opportunity to know what we can expect from the long-awaited sequel in cinemas 5th October.
Black Out 2022
Directed by 'Cowboy Bebop' and 'Samurai Champloo's Shinichiro Watanabe, Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 is a new and highly-anticipated animated short which serves as a prologue for the upcoming feature Blade Runner 2049.
Above all, it tells a very clear story of what exactly happened with Replicants after the events of the original film. After 2019, this anime reveals that the Replicant-6 model was phased out and replaced by the Replicant-8 model.
The big difference with these Replicants was huge: they had a “natural” lifespan as opposed to only four years for the previous models.
Nexus Dawn 2036
Directed by Luke Scott (son of Ridely) and set in 2036, Nexus Dawn focuses on Jared Leto’s mysterious character Niander Wallace, who will also be in Blade Runner 2049. Apparently, he’s done something to help stave off famine on Earth, and so despite being pretty scary, he's respected among the government officials...
What we understand is that at this point in this future history, there’s a full-on prohibition of Replicants.
But Wallace is looking to change that and bring Replicant technology back in a big way. Part of his justification for this is to increase productivity on the “Off-World Colonies.” These never-seen planets are referenced in the first Blade Runner film...
Nowhere to Run 2048
Set just a year before the new movie in 2048, this story follows a man named Sapper played by Dave Bautista. Sapper is seemingly in the business of selling manufactured organic substances, and the short introduces a character whose mystery and nuance suggests he’ll be central to the 2049 narrative.
The plot seems to set up what Sapper will be doing in the new movie.
After a group of scary criminals try to kidnap his friends, Bautista’s character goes mad, killing all three baddies with relative ease. This super-strength can mean only one thing: Sapper is a replicant, which, as we know from the previous short-film, have been totally outlawed.
What should we expect from Blade Runner 2049
1. It's going to look incredible
Blade Runner 2049 is going to be a sensory overload, cranking up the darkness and dystopia of Ridley Scott’s original and making Mad Max look like a day at the beach. This vibe is already tangible on the three short films, so we can only imagine how immersive 2049 will be when it thunders towards you on the cinema screen.
2. The plotline is extremely engaging
'Nowhere To Run' ends, ominously, with Morton vanishing into the night, his ID papers being snatched and his location reported to an unidentified pursuer. He’s clearly on the run – but from whom? The smart bet is Niander Wallace. Equally, it’s implied that Ryan Gosling’s Officer K will be tasked with tracking Morton down in 2049. But fans are speculating that the pair will ultimately become allies against the Wallace Corp, rather than locking horns.
3. Replicants Aren’t Quite What You’re Expecting
We already know from Scott’s previous mini-film Nexus: 2036 that the Nexus 9 replicants can now think and feel pain (but will always choose to sacrifice themselves for their flesh-and-blood masters). In this latest short, Morton’s behaviour reveals even more, as he suffers a panic attack and shows human qualities. It all suggests that Blade Runner 2049 will be more subtle than ‘them-and-us’, blurring the lines between human and replicant.
4. It Could Be Just The Start
The short films are “pieces of a puzzle that need filling”, while Villeneuve himself says they act as a dramatisation of “key events” that happen before the parent film takes place. But is there more going on with these mini-films? Some fans have speculated that this is a way of setting up an expanded Blade Runner universe – à la Star Wars – allowing the franchise to branch off and introduce new plotlines.
©2017 CTMG, Alcon and WBEI. All Rights Reserved.