The long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, debuts this weekend and it is a film you have to see to believe. Director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) delivered a film full of suspense, action and visual beauty that not only honors the original, but writes a brand-new chapter for the story, which could be expanded on even later down the road.
With that said, those of us who have already seen Blade Runner 2049 are well aware of how the story is continued from the original film. Villeneuve, with writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, answers quite a few burning questions left at the end of the first film. However, it's pretty safe to say that, by the time the credits roll on Blade Runner 2049, we're left with more questions than we began with.
It's obviously difficult to discuss what happens in #BladeRunner2049 without revealing spoilers, but it's essential that we talk about six of the most burning questions we're left with long after we've left the movie theater.
Note: This article contains significant spoilers for Blade Runner 2049.
1. What's The Deal With Niander Wallace's Eyesight?
We can chalk this question up to curiosity more than anything else, but it is a bit curious that we got absolutely no explanation as to how (or when) Niander Wallace went blind. Judging from the 2036: Nexus Dawn short film, it's obvious that he'd been blind for at least 13 years by the time the events of Blade Runner 2049 happen, but how did he lose his sight? Was it an accident? Was he blinded by someone else?
Not only do we have the question of how Wallace went blind, but it's also implied to some degree that he'd engineered himself to the point of being able to see with the aide of technology. Was this the case?
2. Does Officer K Die At The End?
The end of the story for Officer K (played by #RyanGosling) is open to interpretation. When we leave K, he had successfully brought Rick Deckard to meet his daughter, Dr. Ana Stelline, and he lays motionless at the building's entrance as the shot fades out. After the intense battle with Luv in Los Angeles, K was left badly injured after nearly drowning and suffering several stab wounds. The big question is: did K die at the end of the film?
Although we figured out K was a Replicant fairly early in the film, we must remember that Replicants do have a lifespan. Not to mention the fact that Wallace's newest models were engineered to appear and act more human than ever before. With Dr. Stelline's behavior in the final scene, it's almost as if she was mourning the loss of K by enjoying the serenity of the snow. After all, she was able to multitask creating a memory with talking to K, and she wasn't phased by him interrupting her. When Deckard comes to see her, she politely asks him to wait until she is finished looking at the snow.
3. Is Wallace Aware The Child Is Under His Nose The Whole Time?
We were introduced to the subplot that Wallace was trying to discover the key to allowing Replicants to successfully reproduce. We later learn that Deckard was indeed that key bit of information as he and a Tyrell Replicant, Rachael, successfully reproduced not long before the 2022 blackout.
Wallace uses his assistant, Luv, to capture Deckard and bring him to his headquarters, where he introduces a cloned version of Rachael in an attempt to get Deckard to reveal his secrets. Little did he know Deckard's hidden child was under his nose the whole time, working as a memory manufacturer for his Nexus models.
I wonder how Dr. Stelline became a subject of Wallace's interest and investment, and also how she managed to stay under the radar so long. Was Wallace aware the child born of a Replicant was one of his employees? If so, did he simply just want the answers from Deckard himself?
4. How Exactly Did Deckard and Rachael Reproduce?
During Officer K's research, we learn there was indeed a child who was born of a Replicant. While Lieutenant Joshi tried to bury the discovery to avoid another uprising, K continued to dig and eventually uncovered the truth. However, the biggest question of this entire investigation is: How exactly did Deckard and Rachael reproduce in the first place?
Coming into 2049, there were a lot of theories floating around regarding whether or not Deckard was actually a Replicant. While I would personally say this movie puts those theories to rest and proves that he is indeed human, the question now pertains to what Rachael's true identity was. We were led to believe by the end of Blade Runner that she was a Replicant, but you still can't help but wonder if she really was. After all is said and done, there really is no solid explanation as to how Dr. Stelline was conceived.
5. What Makes Officer K And Joi Connect So Deeply?
The connection between K and Joi raises a lot of interesting points. The dynamic of Replicant "sexbots" was hinted at with the Black Out 2022 anime short, and 2049 gave us a full introduction to Replicant prostitution and artificial companionship through the Wallace Corporation. While the concept of human to machine relationships has been explored before, the relationship between machine and machine hasn't been played out in quite the same way. Seeing the emotional connection between K and Joi left me wondering how these two machines managed to develop such a deep connection?
With the initial introduction of Joi, it appears as if she's simply a hologram used to give someone who is quite lonely an outlet to talk about their day or enjoy some basic companionship at the owner's house. After K buys an emulator to allow Joi to move freely and leave the house with him, the relationship becomes so much more realistic. It leaves you to wonder how it's possible for two machines able to fall in love with each other — especially when one of those machines was specifically created to eradicate rogue Replicants without emotional attachment. Was it simply by chance, or was Wallace influencing K's version of Joi to become a lover and not just an artificial companion?
6. Who Is The True Villain Of 'Blade Runner 2049'?
Personally, I have always found the concept of villains to be one of the most fun aspects of #BladeRunner. In the 1982 original, we didn't really have a clear-cut villain and were left to wonder whether the true antagonist was Roy Batty or Dr. Tyrell. 2049 is no different in the sense of villainy as we have a few different options as to who the top villain of the story could be.
We were influenced to think early on that #JaredLeto's mysterious character of Niander Wallace was the main villain of the film. Seeing how he was the new Replicant creator and appeared to be searching to find a way to replace humans with machines, he seemed to be a candidate for a role similar to what Dr. Tyrell was in the original. As the movie went on, we got a pretty good glimpse as just how mad and power hungry Wallace was (and how reminiscent he was to Dr. Tyrell), but was he really the main antagonist?
Wallace's assistant, Luv, is seen more throughout the film and definitely gives him a run for his money as far as villainous behavior. While the argument could be made that she rose to the occasion and was the film's main antagonist, we can't forget that she is a Nexus model and that the newer models are completely obedient to their masters. It's hard to say whether Luv was acting on behalf of Wallace via orders or mind control, or if she was truly that evil and believed in Wallace's ideals.
I think it would be safe to say that Wallace is to Dr. Tyrell as Luv is to Roy Batty. They're both bad, but at the same time blur the lines of good and evil. While Wallace might have started out with good intentions, perhaps he saw how easy life could be if all Replicants were like Luv and spiraled down the rabbit hole to try and achieve it. She was, after all, his "best angel."
What are some big questions Blade Runner 2049 left you with? Leave a comment and let us know!