Here's What You Need to Watch Before Seeing 'Blade Runner 2049'

The new generation of replicants live long, painful, subservient lives.

Matthew Gault

Matthew Gault

Image: Warner Bros./YouTube

In the trailers for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, Jared Leto's blind genius Niander Wallace paints a grim picture of the future. "Every leap of civilization," Wallace says. "Was built off the back of slaves. Replicants are the future."

After the events of the first movie, you'd think humanity would have learned not to mess with such problematic technology. A series of three short films that fill in the gap between the events of the original film and Blade Runner 2049 explain how people decided to revive replicants to save humanity and the Earth itself.

The first takes place in 2036 and centers on Wallace and his attempts to repeal the ban on the use of replicants. A decade after Deckard and Rachel fled persecution, an EMP hit the American West Coast and crippled the world economy. In the wake of the disaster, the government banned replicants. Years after that, Wallace gained fame and wealth by engineering new ways to feed the planet.

From Wallace's point of view, the only way forward for humanity is to use obedient replicant slaves to keep it alive. The film shows he's willing to break the law and take extreme measures to make that happen. His argument is convincing enough to see the ban lifted.

The second short is set just a year before the new film and depicts the typical life of a replicant on the run. Dave Bautista's Sapper is a heartbreakingly replicant trying to keep his head down and just survive, but it's hard when you're bigger and stronger than everyone around you. Getting involved in your community can mean getting recognized as a replicant.

The last of the three shorts is an animated short from Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe. It comes out on September 26 and will depict life during the blackout that caused so much chaos and led to the anti-replicant legislation.

Blade Runner 2049 will be in theaters on October 6.