(WARNING: This post contains potential spoilers for Blade Runner 2049, which comes out October 6th, 2017)
The #BladeRunner2049 trailer dropped recently and exceeded expectations. I was a little worried about this sequel to Blade Runner, the 1982 cult classic starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, but when I discovered #DenisVilleneuve (Arrival, Sicario) would be directing, my faith was restored. This trailer has only furthered my excitement for this film. In this post I will break it down frame by frame and try to find all the Easter Eggs and formulate potential theories.
Blade Runners And Replicants
For those who do not know, #BladeRunner takes place after a World War III-type event called World War Terminus in November 2019. An organization called the Tyrell Corporation has taken robot evolution into the Nexus phase. This means they are virtually identical to humans. These robots are called replicants and are used as off-world slave labor in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets.
The Nexus-6 replicants are superior to their creators in strength, agility, and intelligence. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus-6 combat team in an off-world colony, replicants were declared illegal on Earth under penalty of death. Special police squads — Blade Runner Units — had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing replicant. This was called retirement.
I will go through the trailer in themes and locations as opposed to in order of when the scenes appear.
I like how this trailer has evidently stuck very closely to the neo-noir concept art released in Entertainment Weekly earlier this year (which was very highly received). The concept art (top), closely resembles the first and last scene in the trailer. You can see the iconic domed umbrella from the original in the bottom left frame. The only big difference between the art and the trailer is the lack of rain. Denis Villeneuve and #RidleyScott have worked very closely on the film to make sure that it lives up to the legend of the original, and I think they have a very clear vision for the film and will stick to it for the duration of filming and editing.
The aesthetics, though impressive, are not everything when it comes to trailers, and the audio features very strongly in this trailer. You can hear a piece of music in the background throughout the trailer that resembles #Vangelis' soundtrack for the original film. I hope that music will be used well in this movie because the soundtrack to the original was so great. Voice-over also features heavily in this trailer, which I hope they will get rid of in the full film and replace it with the text that prefaced the original before the film.
When #RyanGosling's blade runner, Officer K, confronts Harrison Ford's Deckard they seem to have a brief conversation, but on a rewatch, this is obviously edited in. K says "things were simpler then" about the job of being a blade runner. This could mean that the replicants have evolved in some way or have formed together to make an elite squad or army (probably the former).
I think that Villeneuve has decided to take away the rainy aspect of the original film — where LA is shown to be raining pretty much 24/7 (you can see this in the top two frames) — and use the idea that the environment has changed over the 30-year long gap that the film provides. Villeneuve and Scott have evidently stuck to the signature clouded over, post-apocalyptic look of the original (left middle), but this desert area looks like more than 30 years of weather change. It closely mirrors the Voight-Kampff test of the opening scene of the original:
"You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and you see a tortoise."
Though no tortoise can be seen I think that this is a conscious reference to that scene. My first thought was that this is a dream, but then #HarrisonFord's Deckard turns up, possibly disproving this (though if K is a replicant, his dreams may be editable), in a very Force Awakens style that I am not so much of a fan of.
This scene does nicely resemble a scene from the original movie, with Deckard holding the blaster (the same weapon he uses in the original) in a similar fashion (top). The piano that Officer K plays is probably a nod to the unicorn dream in the director's cut of the original when Deckard falls asleep while playing piano (middle left).
I am not sure where this desert place is, but it does look similar to J. F. Sebastian's house (bottom left), which Deckard might have taken over. This is unlikely, however, because it would be in the center of Los Angeles. It could be an off-world colony, which has always been an interesting option that was only mentioned in the original. This would explain the weather, the head of a statue lying down (below), and fits with the plot description.
Are We Visiting An Off-World Colony In 'Blade Runner 2049'?
On this Mad Max-style planet there is Korean writing on the windows of this vintage casino, implying that it is not in Chinatown anymore (as in the original) but somewhere completely different that still mixes cultures and languages (shown by the Arabic in the background of the bottom left frame and English writing on the carpet of the bottom right frame). The casino is obviously some sort of holiday destination because luggage can be seen all around the place. I think that the bottom left frame could be on Earth, but the other three frames (the desert place) are on another planet.
We know that Earth cannot support life other than humans after WWT but other planets may be able to. The desert planet (if it is one) can support life because we see a dog behind Officer K when he meets Deckard (top left). I doubt this dog is mechanical because though many other mechanical animals appear in the original and graphic novels, dogs are never mentioned.
Official Plot Synopsis
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.
I hope you liked this post and please check out my movie review blog at Readers of the Lost Arc or my trailer breakdowns for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Spiderman: Homecoming. I also have a post on All You Need to Know for the Gotham City Sirens Movie.
If anyone has any ideas on what this logo is on the vintage casino (below) or if you think I have missed anything, leave a comment.