Before seeing 'Blade Runner 2049,' try this cyberpunk game

The “Blade Runner” aesthetic, created by director Ridley Scott[1], futurist Syd Mead and many others, has remained deeply influential for 35 years. Even during the initial shooting of the 1982 film, those working on it referred to its massive futuristi…

You won't see iPhones in 'Blade Runner 2049', director says

When you’re re-creating one of sci-fi’s most influential visions of the future, the first thing you’ve got to ask is: How do you deal with the stuff it got wrong?

Ryan Gosling looks to the future in “Blade Runner 2049”.

Stephen Vaughan

That was the question facing director Denis Villeneuve[2] and the team behind “Blade Runner 2049”, a belated sequel to the 1982 classic directed by Ridley Scott[3] and designed by Syd Mead[4]. The original film conjured a high-tech future of biomechanical androids, space travel and flying cars. But it also saw people calling each other on pay phones.

In the future world of “Blade Runner”, “there was no Steve Jobs[5]“, smiles Villeneuve when we meet in a London hotel suite to discuss the new film. “Apple[6] didn’t exist in the first movie. People didn’t have cell phones.” 

Villeneuve, the Oscar-winning French-Canadian director of “Arrival[7]” and “Sicario[8]“, is a thoughtful man, considering each question carefully before replying in his slightly gravelly, French-accented voice.

He describes how he decided to turn into a virtue the first film’s failure to foresee the information age. “The virtual world is a very powerful universe but is not necessarily very cinematic,” he says. “There’s nothing more boring than a detective behind the keyboard looking at Google.”

Director Denis Villeneuve dreams of electric sheep on the set of “Blade Runner 2049”.

Stephen Vaughan

Without going into spoilers, the sequel reveals why the “Blade Runner” world doesn’t depend on digital data the same way ours does. “That allowed me to put my [detective’s] hands in the mud,” Villeneuve says. “We need a man to travel in the world, identifying clues.”

The guy with his hands in the mud is Ryan Gosling[9], playing a new android-hunting Blade Runner. Investigating a deadly conspiracy, he goes in search of Harrison Ford[10]‘s character from the first movie. Set 30 years after the first film, the sequel extrapolates from the nightmarish future imagined by Ridley Scott and his team, and that posed some challenges now that modern technology has changed what the future will look like.

Villeneuve describes how he and screenwriter Hampton Fancher, who also co-wrote the first film, decided to “dream from the dream” rather than from reality. So the sequel, whose title Villeneuve stumbles on as he pronounces it “Blade Runner Two Thousand Forty-Nine”, is set in “an alternative future.” But the film does address modern concerns.

The future of “Blade Runner” features flying cars and realistic replicants in a high-tech city, but no-one has Apple products.

Getty Images

“2049” takes place in a reality Villeneuve describes as “a parallel universe linked with the first movie but driven by questions of the world today.” For example, the sequel touches on ecological themes found in the original Philip K Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” but largely ignored by the first film.

The divergence into a parallel world gives the sequel a timeless quality, and an unsettling detachment from reality.

“Sometimes I had a strange feeling that I was more doing a period movie than a sci-fi movie,” Villeneuve says. “For me, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ was like an edgy old sci-fi movie. It’s a movie that has the romanticism of old sci-fi.”

Apple shouldn’t be too miffed at missing out on being part of the “Blade Runner” world. Infamously, many of the brands seen in the first film became obsolete long before 2019, when the film was set. But those now long-lost brands, like Pan Am and Atari, are glimpsed again in the sequel’s alternate universe, like ghosts of an imagined future. “I insisted to add that,” says Villeneuve, “so it will really create a distance with the world.”

Villeneuve (left) discusses the film with Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling and Ridley Scott (second left), who directed the original film and produced the sequel.

Warner Bros

Ridley Scott’s original film is famous for its ambiguity, igniting debate among fans about whether Deckard is a replicant, among other questions. Villeneuve embraced that ambiguity, following Scott’s advice to imbue the sequel with the same sense of mystery. “I deeply love doubt; I love questions; I don’t like answers,” Villeneuve says. “I think it’s more interesting to be in a relationship with the unknown than to have certainty. I don’t like when the filmmakers are giving answers or showing too much things.” 

I end the interview asking Villeneuve if he has a favourite sequel, a question he answers with a long intake of breath and a longer pause. “Listen, apart from ‘The Godfather’…” he begins, before changing his mind. “No, it’s not true. There’s another one that I think is pretty powerful: ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Apart from that,” he admits, “I’m not a big fan of sequels.”

Maybe that’s because he hasn’t seen “Blade Runner 2049[11]” yet.

The film hits theatres worldwide starting 5 Oct.

Tech Culture[13]: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech. 

Batteries Not Included[14]: The CNET team shares experiences that remind us why tech stuff is cool. 


  1. ^ Enlarge Image (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ Denis Villeneuve (ww.metacritic.com)
  3. ^ Ridley Scott (www.metacritic.com)
  4. ^ Syd Mead (filmschoolrejects.com)
  5. ^ Steve Jobs (www.cnet.com)
  6. ^ Apple (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ Arrival (www.metacritic.com)
  8. ^ Sicario (www.metacritic.com)
  9. ^ Ryan Gosling (www.metacritic.com)
  10. ^ Harrison Ford (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ Blade Runner 2049 (www.metacritic.com)
  12. ^ 49 New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ trailer, dissected shot by shot (www.cnet.com)
  13. ^ Tech Culture (www.cnet.com)
  14. ^ Batteries Not Included (www.cnet.com)
  15. ^ Tags (www.cnet.com)
  16. ^ TV and Movies (www.cnet.com)
  17. ^ Harrison Ford (www.cnet.com)
  18. ^ Steve Jobs (www.cnet.com)

Gorgeous 'Blade Runner' anime short introduces new Replicants

[embedded content]

The animosity between humans and Replicants drives the original 1982 film “Blade Runner[1]” from Ridley Scott, and apparently, the upcoming sequel “Blade Runner 2049[2].” In a spectacular new animated short, “Blade Runner Black Out 2022,” we see what happens when Replicants fight back.

The full-length “Blade Runner” animated short[3], the third and final short prequel to “Blade Runner 2049,” was posted Tuesday. It’s so is so beautifully animated and directed that I wish we’d get a Blade Runner anime TV series from this team.

The almost 16-minute short is directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, best known for his work on “Cowboy Bebop[4].” It begins in 2022, three years after the original film and after the Replicant Nexus 6 models are expired, but Tyrell Corp has released the series 8 models into the local and off-world markets. 

Unlike the previous models that lasted only four years, these Replicants have a much longer natural lifespan. But humans aren’t happy about Replicants that live as long as they do, and they begin protesting their existence. 

The protests turn into violent riots with humans using the Replicant Registration Database to find, capture and kill the Nexus 8 models, often by burning and hanging them in public. But the Replicants fight back. 

Enter new characters Nexus 8 Replicants Iggy (a military combat model) and Trixie (a pleasure model), who team up with a pro-Replicant human Ren, and create a massive power outage dubbed the Great Blackout of 2022[5]

Iggy is a Nexus 8 military combat model of Replicant who decides to fight back against humans in “Blade Runner Black Out 2022.”

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The animated short has plenty of cool callbacks to the original “Blade Runner” film, including Trixie’s acrobatic skills, which are similar to the original pleasure model Replicant Pris[7]‘, and cameos from characters Harry Bryant[8] and Gaff[9] (voiced by the original actor who played him, Edward James Olmos) from the Replicant-Detect department of the LAPD. 

Previous short prequel films released to introduce “Blade Runner 2049” included background stories on the characters Sapper[10] played by Dave Bautista and Niander Wallace[11] played by Jared Leto. 

“Blade Runner 2049” is set to debut in theaters in Australia on Oct. 5, and in the US and UK on Oct. 6.

Tech Culture[12]: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.

Special Reports[13]: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.


  1. ^ Blade Runner (www.metacritic.com)
  2. ^ Blade Runner 2049 (www.metacritic.com)
  3. ^ full-length “Blade Runner” animated short (www.crunchyroll.com)
  4. ^ Cowboy Bebop (www.tvguide.com)
  5. ^ Great Blackout of 2022 (roadto2049.bladerunnermovie.com)
  6. ^ Enlarge Image (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ Pris (bladerunner.wikia.com)
  8. ^ Harry Bryant (bladerunner.wikia.com)
  9. ^ Gaff (bladerunner.wikia.com)
  10. ^ Sapper (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ Niander Wallace (www.cnet.com)
  12. ^ Tech Culture (www.cnet.com)
  13. ^ Special Reports (www.cnet.com)
  14. ^ 49 New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ trailer, dissected shot by shot (www.cnet.com)
  15. ^ Tags (www.cnet.com)
  16. ^ TV and Movies (www.cnet.com)
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