Blade Runner 2049 takes place 30 years after the original movie and a lot has changed in those 30 years. To fill the gaps, director Denis Villeneuve recruited three filmmakers to make short prequel films in the Blade Runner universe.
The first is 2036: Nexus Dawn, directed by Morgan director (and son of Ridley Scott) Luke Scott. It introduces Jared Leto as the creepy replicant manufacturer Niander Wallace, debating the repeal of an anti-replicant law.
This scene hints at a lot of backstory that will hopefully be tackled in the actual movie. At this year’s Comic-Con, Warner Bros. revealed a timeline of events between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, including the “blackout” mentioned in this short film—a massive EMP detonation that led to a stock market crash in 2022. Many people blamed replicants, resulting in a wholesale ban on replicant production. Niander Wallace, a genius who got rich by developing genetically modified food, is one of the few people who wants replicants back on the market.
It’s an enigmatic and unsettling scene, and while it’s interesting to watch, we hope it’s not necessary to understand the main film. Blade Runner succeeded as a wholly standalone story with minimal explanation, and Warner Bros. shouldn’t expect viewers to look up the timeline before watching Blade Runner 2049.