Here's what happened between 'Blade Runner' and 'Blade Runner 2049'

By Nick Romano
July 22, 2017 at 04:32 PM EDT
Credit: Alcon Entertainment

Blade Runner 2049 picks up 30 years after we last saw Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s 1982 original. A new teaser video from the Warner Bros. panel at San Diego Comic-Con helps to fill in the gap.

The year was 2019 in the dystopian city of Los Angeles when the original Blade Runner agent rode off with a replicant named Rachael (played by Sean Young). At that time, the Tyrell Corporation, run by Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkell), created replicants to work on off-world colonies. But the creations became illegal on earth after a group of Nexus 6 versions of the robots declared a mutiny in 2018.

This history is partially laid out in the teaser (shown below), and the website goes much deeper.

After Tyrell’s death, the company created a new line of replicants, Nexus 8s, that had open-ended lifespans and ocular implants. The previous models only lived four years.

A rolling blackout shook the West Coast and crippled the United States in 2022. Though the source of the EMP that caused it was unknown, many blamed replicants. A Replicant Prohibition era then began a year later. Legislation passed to decommission Nexus 6 models and retire any leftover Nexus 8s. Many, however, went into hiding.

In 2025, a scientist by the name of Neander Wallace (Jared Leto) created genetically modified food and offered it to patients for free. His seeming generosity solved a global crisis, but it also gave his company, Wallace Corporations, the means to expand — even into the off-world colonies. Wallace absorbed the remains of the Tyrell Corporation by 2028, and by 2036 the Replicant Prohibition was repealed as a new generation of “perfected” replicants, the Nexus 9s, were introduced.

The Blade Runner sequel picks up with this story in the titular 2049, when the L.A.P.D. are still tracking down illegal replicants. The world, sadly, is more unlivable than before. A massive wall was erected in L.A. to protect citizens from the dramatic rise in sea levels caused by climate change, and the city itself became overrun with poverty and sickness. The main source of food, as it turns out, is now Wallace’s products, sold in vending machines at street markets.

It’s in this world where we find Ryan Gosling’s Officer K, a Blade Runner who must track down Deckard when he unearths a secret that could potentially destroy what remains of society.

Attendees at Comic-Con’s Hall H saw even more footage, as well as new looks at Warner Bros.’ Ready Player One, Aquaman, and Justice League.

Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, opens in theaters on Oct. 6.

Blade Runner

  • Movie
  • R
  • 117 minutes
  • Ridley Scott