Here’s one way in which the world of Blade Runner 2049 differs from our own: In that universe, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner doesn’t exist.
Which sounds obvious, yes, but it means that we get to watch Ryan Gosling discover the events of Blade Runner for the very first time in 2049. Hopefully, he’s a fan.
Blade Runner 2049 picks up decades after the original Blade Runner. Some things have changed. Others haven’t.
A timeline shown at Comic-Con revealed that in 2020 (one year after the events of Blade Runner), the Tyrell Corporation rushed a new line of Nexus 8 models into the marketplace. “In an attempt to keep the company viable, they had extended lifespans,” explained a voiceover.
In 2022, an EMP detonated, causing a massive blackout with global repercussions. One year later, in 2023, replicant prohibition was put into effect; those who could went into hiding. In 2025, the Wallace Corporation (led by Jared Leto’s character) helped solve the world food shortage; in 2030, it helped end replicant prohibition.
By the time Blade Runner 2049 picks up, the world’s become a full-on dystopia
By the time Blade Runner 2049 picks up, the world’s become a full-on dystopia. Many humans have fled to the offworld colonies while the unfortunate have been left behind. Society’s been divided into two classes, replicants and humans.
It’s in this context that the new Blade Runner 2049 clip, just shown at Comic-Con, takes place. Officer K (Gosling) gets a look at a scene that those in our world will remember from the original Blade Runner. He enters a large, sparse, grand-looking hall with a female replicant (Sylvia Hoeks).
“The ancient models gave the entire endeavor a bad name,” she explains. “But the outer colonies would never have flourished if it were not for Tyrell.”
She walks him past a row of glass cases housing what look like naked replicant models, with the camera lingering on the Nexus 8. She approaches a console and plucks out what looks like a marble. Inside is information from the year 2019 hard to come by after the big blackout of 2022.
It’s Rachel’s Voight-Kampff test. We see a close-up of her eye and hear Harrison Ford and Sean Young trading familiar dialogue. “She likes him,” observes K. “This officer Deckard. She’s trying to provoke him.”
Hoeks’ character considers this. “It is invigorating, being asked personal questions,” she says. “Makes one feel desired.”
“Do you enjoy your work, officer?”
K simply replies, “Please thank Mr. Wallace for his time,” and Hoeks’ character puts the file away as K leaves.
The scene definitely feels like vintage Blade Runner, even if this new blade runner doesn’t seem to know a whole lot about the old blade runner. The dynamic between Gosling and Hoeks is reminiscent of Ford and Young’s, though we’ll need to wait and see how this one plays out.
Good thing we don’t have that much longer to wait. Blade Runner 2049 is in theaters October 6.
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