We are officially (and finally) less than a week out from the release of #BladeRunner2049, and the early reviews are overflowing with praise and positivity. Not only are critics saying it is visually stunning, they're also complimenting how much the film honors Ridley Scott's 1982 #scifi original, Blade Runner.
With that said, Blade Runner 2049 has been very mysterious, and even with early reviews we still don't know a whole lot about this movie. Seeing how the sequel takes place 30 years after the original, there's a lot of material to cover in a short about of time. Despite the film's shroud of secrecy, director #DenisVilleneuve commissioned three prequel short films to help fill in the gaps between the two films.
Ranging from the year 2022 to 2048, these prequel shorts not only gave us a more expanded glimpse into the world of Blade Runner, but we also got a sneak peek at two characters that many viewers have been eager to see. Most importantly, they gave us insight into what we needed to know going into the film. Seeing what events led up to the world that exists in 2049 is something we needed to see, and the short films didn't disappoint.
Let's take a look at four of the most important bits of information the prequel shorts gave us for Blade Runner 2049.
1. Replicants And Humans Are Even Harder To Tell Apart
The first two short films featuring #DaveBautista and #JaredLeto gave us an introduction to the new brand of Nexus Replicants. Needless to say, it's rather terrifying how much more identical they are to humans than previous Nexus models.
We're introduced to Bautista's character Sapper Morton, appearing to be quite human in the "2048: Nowhere to Run" short. However, his obviously amplified strength (as we've also seen in the trailers) suggests that he is much more than human. The bottom line is you don't really get the sense that Morton is a Replicant until you see his powerful takedown of several other men. That's just a testament to how advanced the new Nexus models are.
With Leto's "2036: Nexus Dawn" short (shown below), we were introduced to Niander Wallace as he's attempting to have the Replicant ban repealed, and he does so while bringing one of his "angels" with him. The unnamed Replicant that Wallace uses as an example is only revealed as one after Wallace instructs it to cut its own cheek with glass and reveal its serial number. The fact that an entire anti-Replicant council couldn't tell the difference between a human assistant and a Replicant is definitely an unnerving thing that we needed to see firsthand.
2. The Replicant Ban Was Due To An Uprising
"Black Out 2022" was the last short film to hit and it takes place closest in time to #RidleyScott's 1982 original. Just four years after the events of the first Blade Runner, it shows in solid detail how and why Replicants were officially banned. In addition to director Shinichirō Watanabe's not-so-subtle example of the rise of robotic prostitution becoming normalized (as was hinted with Deckard and Rachael), the short as a whole reveals that the future ultimately became machine vs. machine.
When we're brought to 2022, we see both sides using Replicants to fight battles for the humans to minimize the amount of human lives being sacrificed. However, one specific Replicant decided to create an uprising in an attempt to erase Replicant servers so they couldn't be detected, used, or hunted down.
As a result, a mass blackout is caused and Replicant files are lost forever. The blackout was hinted at by Sylvia Hoeks' character Luv in some of the Blade Runner 2049 promo clips, but the anime short explains how the event came to be. It also gives us a necessary look into the timeline of the eventual Replicant ban, and what led Niander Wallace to create more advanced Replicants.
3. The New Replicants Are (Evidently) 100% Obedient
Remember when we mentioned the Replicant that Wallace used to insist on the repeal of the ban? Well, his actions did more than just show how human the new Replicants were. More importantly, it served as an example of how obedient his Nexus models were due to advanced genetic engineering.
Wallace makes his argument in a very disturbing way as we're led to believe he intentionally puts the council's lives at risk by influencing a Replicant to create a weapon. He purposely creates a dangerous situation to show that his "angels" would rather commit suicide than disobey or harm their masters. What is still unknown is if the visible chip in Wallace's neck is what is essential for this control, or if the obedience is engineered right into the genetic makeup of the new Nexus models. In any case, it appears to be an improvement over Replicants going rogue out of fear of their shortened lifespan.
4. Niander Wallace Is Basically The New Tyrell
Jared Leto was announced late in the game in 2016 and his involvement in Blade Runner 2049 remained somewhat of a mystery until just recently. His character has already been revealed to be the individual responsible for taking over what remained of the Tyrell Corporation, as well as creating the new wave of Nexus Replicants. Judging from that alone, it can only be assumed that Wallace is similar to what Dr. Eldon Tyrell was in the original film. If you recall, Tyrell is one of those characters that's kind of a villain, but at the same time, not.
The "Road to 2049" previews showed the road Wallace had to take to even begin producing new Replicants. About a decade before the "2036: Nexus Dawn" short, Wallace was responsible for eradicating mass hunger with genetically modified crops. Saving humans from starving turned the Wallace Corporation into a powerhouse, and Niander Wallace no doubt holds tremendous sway over the human race based on those grounds alone. Wallace admits as much, telling the council that they indulged his Replicant debate due to the fact that his patents rescued the human race from extinction.
Even with Wallace contributing positive things to society, his apparent desire to replace humanity with machines gives us the impression that he will be some form of a villain. Whether he's more passive like Tyrell or more intense like Roy Batty is unknown, but we must take into account that Wallace's physical afflictions are rather strange. The fact that someone that powerful and technologically advanced willingly remains blind is a bit shady if you actually think about it. But then again, that also makes a villain creepier if he can be so menacing with specific limitations.
What are you most excited to see with 'Blade Runner 2049'? Leave a comment and let us know!