Even if you’ve spent each and every day since you first saw Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner waiting for a sequel, you still might not be fully prepared for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 when it opens in theaters this Friday. The 1981 original took place in the Los Angeles of the then-far-flung future of 2019, meaning that 30 years have elapsed in the Blade Runner universe between its first feature film and its second. Much has taken place over those three decades, some of it portrayed by the three official short prequels released to the internet over the past month. Today we present them all in chronological order to catch you up with what happened after Harrison Ford’s Blade Runner Rick Deckard picked up that origami unicorn and left the building.
In 2020, the year after Blade Runner, the artificial-being-making Tyrell Corporation introduces a new model of replicant, with a longer lifespan, called the Nexus 8S. Two years later comes “the Blackout,” an electromagnetic pulse attack that destroys all technology within its reach. You can see it happen in Blade Runner Black Out 2022, the short at the top of the post directed by respected Japanese animator Shinichiro Watanabe (and featuring a score by Flying Lotus as well as a reprisal of the role of the quasi-Esperanto-speaking police officer Gaff by Edward James Olmos).
Replicants having taken the blame for the Blackout, their production gets legally prohibited until the efforts of an organization called the Wallace Corporation get the ban overturned in 2030. The man at the top of the Wallace Corporation, a certain Niander Wallace, first appears in 2036: Nexus Dawn (middle video), directed by Ridley Scott’s son Luke.
In that prequel we see Wallace, who rose to prominence on his company’s solution to global food shortages, submitting for approval his latest replicant, the Nexus 9 (although his negotiation strategy leaves little room for compromise). The younger Scott’s 2048: Nowhere to Run (below), which introduces a new and imposing replicant character by the name of Sapper Morton, takes place just a year before the sequel, by which time, according to the timeline unveiled at this past summer’s Comic-Con, “life on Earth has reached its limit and society divides between replicant and human.” Enter Ryan Gosling’s K, one of a new generation of replicant- hunters, who goes out in search of a predecessor who went missing some 30 years ago. All of this, of course, still leaves questions unanswered. Chiefly: will Blade Runner 2049 deliver what we’ve been waiting even more than three deacades for?
Watch the New Anime Prequel to Blade Runner 2049, by Famed Japanese Animator Shinichiro Watanabe
Jared Leto Stars in a New Prequel to Blade Runner 2049: Watch It Free Online
Blade Runner 2049’s New Making-Of Featurette Gives You a Sneak Peek Inside the Long-Awaited Sequel
The Official Trailer for Ridley Scott’s Long-Awaited Blade Runner Sequel Is Finally Out
Philip K. Dick Previews Blade Runner: “The Impact of the Film is Going to be Overwhelming” (1981)
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.
Will it be even more awful than the original?
Thanks for this
Go watch Tom & Gerry Karl
I suspect you mean Jerry? Anyway, Blade Runner is a bad movie but somehow it acquired a cult status and now it’s untouchable. Actually, “cult” usually means that it’s hyped well beyond its merits.
Still doesn’t make 2049 any better than mediocre.
masterpieces all of them, visionnary prequels to what future reality will be
”Don’t criticize what you can’t understand” as Bob Dylan said.
Blade Runner and 2049 are pieces of cinematic art that give us a vision of a more technologically advanced present and future mixed in with a classic detective story.
Your rating of them being ‘awful’ shows your lack of understanding of science fiction and cinema as a whole.
Suspect you think 2001 A Space Odyssey is over blown presumptuous tripe and Interstellar is far fetched with a incomprehensible ending. Both those films have a good understanding of science both theoretical and practical with great story lines.
Both Blade Runner films are highly rated by those who appreciate sci-fi writing, technology, lighting etc even though both did not do as well as expected at the box office. Reason for that is the most cinema visitors not being to cope with 3hrs and not being intelligent enough to cope with the story line.
Ridley Scott has been compared to Stanley Kubrick which is surely the highest honor as the latter is regarded as the most influential director ever and one which most revere.
Free speech matters Reitmann and our right to do so is clearly under threat in today’s PC culture. But it also takes a wise man to know when he is wrong which you are clearly not.
Take Note of the advice at the top of this reply as am sure it will help you in many aspects. My enjoyment from writing this will only heightened if you take offence, will you prove me wrong??
Why are described as prequels if they take place after Blade Runner?
That’s exactly what I was wondering. Someone doesn’t know what prequel means…
Prequels to the second movie of course.