Blade Runner, as anyone who’s seen so much as its first shot knows, takes place in the Los Angeles of November 2019. Though the film flopped when it came out in 1982, the acclaim and fans it has drawn with each of the 35 years that have passed since didn’t take long to reach the kind of critical mass that demands a sequel. After numerous rumors and false starts, the October release of Blade Runner 2049, produced by Blade Runner director Ridley Scott and directed by Arrival director Denis Villeneuve, now fast approaches. The new movie’s promotional push, which has so far included trailers and making-of featurettes, has now begun to tell us what happened between 2019 and 2049.
“I decided to ask a couple of artists that I respect to create three short stories that dramatize some key events that occurred after 2019, when the first Blade Runner takes place, but before 2049, when my new Blade Runner story begins,” says Villeneuve in his introduction to the brand new short above.
Taking place in the Los Angeles of 2036, the Luke Scott-directed piece “revolves around Jared Leto’s character, Niander Wallace,” writes Collider’s Adam Chitwood, who “introduces a new line of ‘perfected’ replicants called the Nexus 9, seeking to get the prohibition on replicants repealed,” the government having shut replicant production down thirteen years before due to a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack for which replicants took the blame.
A timeline appeared at Comic-Con this past summer covering the events of the thirty years between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, though in very broad strokes: in 2020 “the Tyrell Corporation introduces a new replicant model, the Nexus 8S, which has extended lifespans,” in 2025 “a new company, Wallace Corp., solves the global food shortage and becomes a massive super power,” in 2049 “life on Earth has reached its limit and society divides between Replicant and human.” The two other short films to come should just about tide over fans until the release of Blade Runner 2049 — not that those who’ve been waiting for a new Blade Runner movie since the 1980s can’t handle another month.
The short Blade Runner 2049 prequel, entitled “Nexus: 2036,” will be added to our list, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.