A new Blade Runner 2049 trailer landed yesterday and if you thought Jared Leto was up to no good in the last trailer, he really ups his creepiness in this one. But we also noticed new characters, new locations, and more than a few lines that are subtly different from when we heard them in the first trailer.
Here’s the official movie synopsis, which gives us the bare bones of what’s happening in the film:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
The most interesting parts of this trailer are a) more Leto (his character is named Wallace) pontificating and making very clear that he’s the bad guy, and b) a lot more shots of people outside Los Angeles.
The official synopsis mentions “what’s left of society,” implying a post-apocalyptic event of some kind that makes Los Angeles a place that’s holding onto the remains of society very tightly. This shot of these radial outposts in California feel like they could be arrays of farms—solar and other—that power the cities.
Really, this shot is only important because Ridley Scott had talked about his vision for the first scene in Blade Runner 2 and it included “Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up.”
We mentioned this in the last breakdown, but it seems really, really likely that Officer K is doing a lot of what Deckard would have done if this movie was set closer to the original rather than 30 years later.
Other details support this scene being moved to K from Deckard—Scott mentioned a “Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage” and a farm, and this place definitely fits the bill, as well as a meeting between Deckard and a “big man.” Dave Bautista fits that bill.
The Cyrillic on that structure can be translated a bunch of different ways depending on the language it is. It could refer to a place in Russia or one in Bulgaria. It could mean “virgin lands” in Russian or be a reference to a Russian space surveillance system. Hell, Google Translate seems to think it’s Macedonian for “whole.”
We saw Dave Bautista very, very briefly in the last trailer—just the part of the fight where he tosses K through a wall with what feels like inhuman strength. This time around we get more dialogue.
“I thought you might be able to help me with a case. Any idea where I could find him?” asks K.
“You police?” asks Bautista. “Plan on taking me in?”
“I would much prefer that to the alternative,” says K, which pretty much confirms Bautista is a replicant and that K’s doing his job as a Blade Runner to “retire” him.
It goes well.
This feels like it’s still the opening scene and is the character-establishing moment for K, who is hunting down replicants but doesn’t shoot first, and then ask questions later. His big question about where “he” is probably has to do with Deckard, whom, the synopsis notes, has been missing since basically the end of the original movie. The implication here is that Deckard learned something then that caused him to leave.
From here we get shots we’ve seen in the previous trailer: future Los Angeles, Wallace’s house, and Wallace’s face.
Blade Runner featured the Nexus 6 model replicants. This is the Nexus 8.
We also get a slightly different version of Wallace’s speech from the first trailer. Back then it was “Every civilisation was built off the back of a disposable workforce” and now it’s “Every leap of civilisation was built off the backs of slaves.” I don’t know if both lines are part of the same speech or if they had alternate versions filmed.
“Replicants are the future, but I can only build so many,” Wallace continues.
On the one hand, you’d see this speech as an acknowledgement that replicants are slaves. On the other, Wallace seems to think it’s a necessary evil for the continuation of civilisation. Either that or he has the typical villain view of seeing something is the “future” and trying to replace the present with it.
Either way Wallace is upset he can’t make enough replicants for his purpose.
Sylvia Hoeks’ character lets out a single tear. If she’s not a replicant, I will eat my hat.
And again, we have minor variations on themes from the first trailer. Back then, Wallace said, “The key to the future is finally unearthed.” Now, it’s “I have the lock and he has the key.”
Both times, the “key” bit was synched to the unearthing of this “16-10-21" carving. Now we know it was made on the tree from the first shot. It’s got to be a date, right? It could literally a combination to a lock, I guess.
The colours are pretty good signifiers of locations. The orange and dust is Deckard’s Vegas hideout. The washed out white and grey is Bautista’s farm. And, of course, black and neon is Los Angeles. Also, the bee on his hand gives me “flies in Westworld” vibes.
Reddit has pointed out that in the original Philip K. Dick story that was the basis for Blade Runner, the whole thing took place after “World War Terminus” and there was an atmosphere full of irradiated dust—which could be what’s happened to Vegas.
The original Blade Runner didn’t make much mention of those things, so maybe they’re making their way into the sequel instead.
“I think I’ve found him,” says K.
“That’s not possible,” responds Robin Wright, who seems to be playing his commander in the LAPD. “If this gets out, we’ve bought ourselves a war.”
Again, that line echoes one from the last trailer, where Wright said, “The world is built on a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there is no wall, you’ve bought a war.” The difference implies that the secret is about that wall. And if the secret is that replicants are just genetically modified people and not androids, well...
Or, alternately, the society we’re seeing is all replicants who staged an uprising and everyone else is a human on the run. With so little officially confirmed, literally anything is a valid theory at this point.
“What’s left of civilization” indeed. This is one of the major additions in this trailer—this location and the people K finds there.
The look here could place it near Bautista’s farm, and the reception K gets makes me think this is the home of a group of replicants hiding out and living their own lives.
“I want to ask you some questions,” says K. “What happened?”
“I covered my tracks,” answers Deckard. “Scrambled all the records. We were being hunted.”
And that’s the line everyone is going to latch onto. Given the context—K is a Blade Runner hunting replicants and trying to figure out something for a man who makes them (Leto’s Wallace)—it’s real easy to assume that this is finally confirmation of Deckard’s replicant status.
That said, we still don’t know for sure if the movie will be answering this,and there have been conflicting statements on it. His statement would also be equally valid if, say, after Blade Runner he decided to start helping replicants. Or if replicants started hunting Blade Runners themselves.
This shot accompanied Deckard saying that he “scrambled all the records.” What records? I don’t remember paperwork being a big part of Blade Runner. Got to be replicant records, right?
K is here with Joi (Ana de Armas), whom we’ve seen as a billboard. She’s more than a model, though—her raincoat did briefly make me think she was wearing a futuristic lab coat.
“By who?” asks K. And then we have this proximity detector, a bit of retro-technology that I really love.
“They know you’re here,” said Deckard.
This is an extended bit of an explosion we saw in the first trailer, which takes out the spinner Deckard and K are headed toward.
Wallace: “You do not know what pain is yet. You will learn.” Yeah, he’s the villain.
He then says, “Bring it to me,” with “it” being very vague. The key? A replicant he calls “it”? And we also see another knife, which might be in Hoekstra’s hand as she goes looking for a bloody K.
The people behind him here look similar to the ones he fought in the piles of rubbish:
Another big addition is a look at Lennie James as what appears to be a leader of this group of maybe-replicants picking through refuse for... something. Parts to keep replicants going? Tech that will give them the upper hand?
Wright: “This breaks the world.”
And then Hoekstra: “WHERE IS HE?” She’s definitely superhuman. Does this mean that, for all her talk about the end of everything, Wright is partially on K and Deckard’s side?
This is followed by more quick cuts to footage we’ve seen before, and then...
Wallace: “The future of the species is finally unearthed.”
I think part of the trickery of these trailers is that they show Ford as Deckard so early. But it feels more like his appearance will be later in the film, and that K finding him, confirming the secret he’s discovered, and them being chased by Wallace’s people is closer to the climax than the first act.
Here’s how I think the movie goes: K goes to Bautista’s farm, is told something there, finds the key, uses that to find out the long-buried secret, goes to find Deckard to confirm it, is chased by Wallace’s people, and then... the climax, I guess. The secret is absolutely something to do with the nature of replicants and probably involves the people we haven’t seen much of yet, including Hiam Abbass and Barkhad Abdi, the latter of whom we know is playing a scientist.
This trailer, combined with the first, tells us a lot about the themes and shape of this movie, but specific specifics are still just out of reach.