At the dawn of the ‘80s, Ridley Scott’s neon vision of a future L.A. blazed above a shadow world where genetically engineered replicants stalked the rain-slicked streets for the Blade Runners out to obliterate them. Adrenaline blazed with electric intensity. Ethics were questionable. Emotion was alien.
Fiery the angels fell. Then everything went silent.
35 years later, director Dennis Villeneuve has taken that hauntingly atmospheric aura and injected it with new DNA. Even the eye that reflects the entire city is a chilling homage to Scott’s original opening, prodding you with the question: what is really human? Blade Runner 2049 keeps asking exactly that, with flashes of riveting scenes that will play on digital repeat in the back of your mind until its secrets are unearthed.
Fly your car into the newest Blade Runner 2049 trailer and prepare to be shocked by surreal and almost unthinkable possibilities.
2049 soars into an uncertain future.
L.A. is still bathed in the eerie glow of ads that seem to pulse with a life of their own, the garish trappings of an electronic age illuminating seedy shop fronts and crumbling neo-Victorian columns, but there is something darker and more foreboding that courses through the veins of the city. Villenueve’s version echoes Ridley Scott’s vision of the 2019 city fast-forwarded thirty years, with a revamped Atari ad that looms over an airborne sedan swooping by.
Replicants have undergone many iterations since Nexus-6.
An ominous building that looks like a space-age version of ancient pyramids (the entrance to the main hall is an eerie reflection of the subterranean entrances of Egyptian tombs) appears to be the nerve center for replicant inception and development. Officer K is led on a disturbing tour down an archive of humanoid models frozen in suspended animation.
Jared Leto is unapologetically evil.
“Every civilization was built off the back of a disposable workhorse,” Leto’s voice intones as K passes the motionless specimens, “but I can only make so many.” He must be the mastermind behind replicant creation and a replicant himself, void of emotion and with suspiciously flawless skin. The blue pinpoint of light on his neck may indicate something. Half-corpse and half-robotic, his cloudy irises will send spiders of frost crystallizing down your spine.
You get to see an actual inception.
Birthed from a plastic womb of preservatives, a replicant drops to the floor and gasps into consciousness as Leto’s hands wipe chemicals from the artificial flesh. “Happy Birthday,” his disembodied voice wishes. While Blade Runner only hinted at how replicants came into being, the sequel appears to delve deeper into their unnerving origins and purpose.
Whoever is taking control really means it.
An icy female voice (Robin Wright) declares, “There is an order to things,” from behind a window streaked with rain. Is she a Blade Runner? A replicant? A replicant posing as a Blade Runner? She has the manufactured look and quasi-robotic voice of a replicant, but a closer look between sheets of water obscuring the glass reveals K standing behind her. That still doesn’t make her human.
Ghosts of the past are reborn in blood.
K’s hand is gripping an updated model of the gun Deckard used to hunt down rebel replicants thirty years earlier. K raises his bloodstained face in the neon glare as the voice from the window insists, “we keep order,” which could mean she is some sort of commanding officer. There is an uneasiness to K, a shaken look in his eyes that recalls his predecessor after a kill.
There might be a new interspecies romance.
“The world is built on a wall that separates kindness,” the mechanical voice continues, overshadowing an encounter between K and a nameless woman who may or may not be a replicant. She is soaked through with rain and holds his fingers to her mouth, as if that is the only way she can communicate—but then the scene leaves off on the brink of a kiss.
K is searching for something—or someone.
On the edge of the city, in an orange-tinged desert that mimics a Martian landscape, K lands his vehicle and sets out seeking someone, and that someone can only be the recluse Deckard, hiding somewhere in what few shadows this forbidding expanse of dust and debris has to offer. He ventures further and further from civilization, through broken monolithic statues that are the relics of a bygone era.
Phantoms rise in the emptiness.
K finally comes to a building that is the immense mutant spawn of a museum, a Greco-Roman temple, and a Victorian hotel. It is a memory of past buildings designed to showcase that same fusion of ancient elements that clash with their hypermodern surroundings. The place is so empty that you can almost hear the echo of silence…
Past meets present at gunpoint.
…if it wasn’t for an eerily familiar voice huskily saying, “I did your job once. I was good at it.”
Deckard obviously makes no exceptions for any intruder. He shakily confronts the younger officer in the orange sunset, demanding to know what he wants. K has now made it clear that he has some sort of previous knowledge about the legend, coolly replying that he knows about Deckard's former glory—and he has questions.
Faux fur will remind you of someone.
Pris met her end after trying to camouflage herself as one of the creepy dolls that infested bioengineer Sebastian’s hideaway, but the two women sauntering into what looks like some sort of futuristic dive bar look almost as if they’ve been 3-D printed in her likeness. Think gaudy faux fur, smudged smoky eyes, and blond hair in that telltale cut that lands somewhere between a bob and a mullet (especially on the one in that pastel monstrosity).
There are secrets you never knew existed.
When K’s hand wipes away gravel from a cryptic numerical message crudely carved into stone, there is some revelation there, judging from the shock that electrifies his eyes when he apparently realizes the implication behind it—and forbidden knowledge about replicants probably plays into the enigma. This is most likely a shard of the secret he needed Deckard’s help to shed light on.
The key to the future has finally been unearthed.
Leto’s grim tone superimposed on the clip of K standing aghast can only mean that the Blade Runner has discovered something dreadful. What exactly this “key to the future” is remains shrouded in questions. The annihilation of replicants was legalized because of the rebellion that erupted in an Off-World colony, and an explosion of vengeance from the rebels could have something to do with what K obviously wishes he had never seen.
Rachael appears to have been reinvented.
What became of Rachael is a mystery, even though she was a “special” replicant with no set expiration date. But the same guide who led K down through the archive before could have been modeled after her, and further modified. She just lost the ‘80s parka and has a slightly more modern haircut. Whether she can play the piano remains unknown.
Rebel replicants rise again.
If that woman with the ponytail and bangs from before is a Rachael dupe, she obviously isn’t on the same side, since she’s firing a gun with reckless abandon—possibly at K, or Deckard, or someone who wants her destroyed. There is no place for empathy in a replicant. Whatever glitch made Roy Batty spare Deckard’s life on the roof of that skyscraper has been edited out with this upgrade.
Someone is hunting the Blade Runners.
Whoever is behind this pursuit isn’t just resorting to bullets or attempted strangling a la Zhora Salome. This time, there are going to be more drastic measures taken to eradicate K and Deckard before they turn the replicants to dust. Clouds of dust make it impossible to tell exactly who is trying to bomb the building that has been Deckard’s refuge for so many years, but whoever it is must be a rebel replicant sympathizer.
There is a run-in with…Elvis?
It wouldn’t be surprising if the glowing white figure in the spotlight is an Elvis impersonator—or an Elvis replicant, which backs up the gamble that Deckard has actually been hiding in Vegas. The later clip featuring a rainbow of showgirls also seems to place events in Sin City. With all the advances that must have been made since 2019, it is highly probable that some mad scientist has finally been able to resurrect the King in a petri dish.
The streets are still crawling with thugs.
Remember Leon, the rebel who blasted his questioner to pieces before making a run for it and stalking Deckard through the rainy streets of L.A.? This guy (played by Dave Bautista aka Drax) could be the next generation. He’s also much bigger, and meaner, and has the ability to go beyond just a black eye and a nosebleed by shoving someone through an entire wall, though the shadows make it hard to tell exactly who is the victim.
Hologram ads are now a thing.
As if it's not enough that the giant screen from which a digital woman seems to point and speak to the right people at the right time (especially when Deckard and Rachael are in a compromising position), advertisers in 2049 have also come up with 3-D holograms that, at least by the way this pink-skinned, blue-haired creature is pointing at K, interact with you as if they are flesh and blood.
Traveling through portals is now possible.
This shot, which blinks by so rapidly it makes you wonder if you ever even saw it, has K emerging from what appears to be a portal into a startlingly green forest that is in stark contrast to the desert wasteland he’d been traversing before. But where is this place? Whose head is that? And does it have anything to do with Deckard driving off into somewhere green and blossoming with Rachael in the past?
“Special” could be sinister.
“I told you. You’re special.” While this may be nothing more than praise for K’s extraordinary abilities as a Blade Runner, you know what Dr. Tyrell meant when he admitted that Rachael was “special.”