Three Blade Runner Prequels: Watch Them Online

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?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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.

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Comments (10)
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  • Karl Reitmann says:

    Will it be even more awful than the orig­i­nal?

  • Paul mulligan says:

    Thanks for this

  • Paul mulligan says:

    Go watch Tom & Ger­ry Karl

  • Karl Reitmann says:

    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.

  • Jeff Mcneill says:

    Still does­n’t make 2049 any bet­ter than mediocre.

  • opossum says:

    mas­ter­pieces all of them, vision­nary pre­quels to what future real­i­ty will be

  • The Prisoner says:

    ”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??

  • Len says:

    Why are described as pre­quels if they take place after Blade Run­ner?

  • TMk says:

    That’s exact­ly what I was won­der­ing. Some­one does­n’t know what pre­quel means…

  • Franz says:

    Pre­quels to the sec­ond movie of course.

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