Blade Runner 2049 manages to be the rarest thing in Hollywood: a sequel that is just as good as the original movie and, in many ways, better. The film's moody visuals perfectly carry the legacy of Ridley Scott's original vision, and seeing franchise newcomers like Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto acting alongside returning veteran Harrison Ford is a genuine treat for fans.
There is another way that Blade Runner 2049 honors the original movie, though, and it's one that won't make everyone happy: this movie leaves you with a great many questions. Some of these questions revolve around seeming plot holes, while others are deliberately open-ended so that they can be explored in future movies, books, and games. In a weird way, these open-ended questions may be a blessing—the original Blade Runner was a box office bomb, but passionate discussion and debate from its fans helped it to achieve the status of a true cult classic.
Only time will tell if this sequel manages to achieve that same level of fan passion and subsequent decades of debate. In the meantime, we've got more question than Jared Leto's Wallace has replicants.
Don't believe us? Fortunately, you don't have to pass a Voight-Kampff test to get access... just check out our thorough guide to 15 Burning Questions We Have After Blade Runner 2049!
15 What was up with the dog?
The question of everyone's mind after seeing the movie is one that K is also curious about: what's up with Deckard's dog? Deckard himself seems unclear whether the dog is real or not, which is a mystery unto itself. If it's real, it's highly rare, and if it's a super-convincing artificial dog, then it is worth large sums of money. Nonetheless, the dog is left behind by Wallace's men when they show up to kidnap Deckard.
Like many things in Blade Runner 2049, the dog has metaphorical value. In not really being hung up on whether he is real or fake, the dog serves as a mirror of Deckard's own identity crisis (more on that later). The dog also highlights Deckard's need for companionship, especially for a man dedicated to otherwise living alone. However, questions about where the dog came from and where the dog ended up are ones we may never get an answer to.
14 Why would the police use a replicant as a blade runner?
The big "plot twist" about K is revealed very early in the movie: he is not only a ruthless and relentless blade runner, but he is himself a replicant. K works with the LAPD to hunt down his own kind (even though he scoffs at being lumped in with the bad replicants), and his enhanced strength and speed are definitely an asset.
However, we are still left wondering why the police would ever want a replicant on the force in the first place.
The movie quickly makes it clear that almost nobody on the force trusts K. He is viewed as a loose cannon that could go off at any time, and the LAPD underscores this by scanning his brain after every single mission.
Considering how important coordination and cooperation are to policework and how dangerous a runaway replicant can be, it makes no sense that they would use a replicant blade runner instead of a human one.
13 Why do people hate K?
To a large extent, it's understandable that the vast majority of the LAPD distrusts K. They are professional law enforcement who have had decades to internalize the idea that replicants are either criminals or criminals waiting to happen. However, what makes a lot less sense is just how much K is despised by everyday citizens.
We see him harassed on the street for being a replicant; we see him harassed at his apartment complex, and we see that his front door has been vandalized by anti-replicant graffiti. However, the movie makes it clear that modern replicants are considered safe and walk freely in society rather than being confined off-planet.
The only replicants K hunts down are decades-old models, but for reasons left unexplained, a society that has fully embraced replicants on the streets (which we see quite literally by way of the replicant prostitutes) and AIs in the home still hate K for being artificial.
12 Why will a replicant baby "break the world?"
The inciting incident of the movie's story is when K and the LAPD discover that the replicant Rachael has given birth to a child; something that is supposed to be impossible. Immediately, K's LAPD Lieutenant gives him new orders: he must track down and kill this replicant because public knowledge of replicant reproduction “breaks the world” that they live in. However, on the face of it, this seems to be completely wrong!
To be fair, the Lieutenant doesn't elaborate on the full chain of cause and effect that she fears. However, it seems to boil down to the idea that humanity might rebel at the idea that replicants are truly their own race and that humans have been using the as slaves for decades.
This ignores the fact that humans have fully internalized replicants as subhuman creatures, something solidified when Luv asks a client how intelligent she actually wants her replicant workers.
11 How the hell could a replicant ever have a baby?
It is probably churlish to chip away at the main plot of the movie, but let's face it: a replicant having a baby should be something that is completely impossible.
In mechanical terms, it would require replicants to be able to do something they were never designed to do: conceiving, carrying, and delivering a child would require extreme changes to the replicant body, and there were no signs that Tyrell made these changes, nor did she.
Furthermore, the biology in question is insane to ponder. We live in a world where it sometimes takes lengthy, expensive IVF treatments to help two humans who were biologically designed to create children to actually create a baby. It's bizarre to imagine that a replicant/human union could ever result in a pregnancy.
Finally, while some may argue that Rachael was specially-designed by Tyrell and that he secretly made this possible, Wallace has all of the files on Rachael. If her ability to bear children was a mechanical or biological addition, Wallace would know it... and without any such modifications to Rachael's body, the entire plot falls apart.
10 Why did the police let K keep his car?
While the Blade Runner movies are lauded as cerebral sci-fi explorations of our humanity, Blade Runner 2049 isn't afraid to explore the occasional movie cliché, including the cop getting too close to a case and getting suspended.
For K, this happens when he fails a baseline scan of his brain, and he is forced to surrender his weapon to the police Lieutenant. In exchange for his previous work, she promises to delay the inevitable pursuit of him as long as she can.
All of this is par for the course, except for one issue: they let him keep his car! Despite turning in his gun, K is seemingly allowed to keep his fancy police vehicle. We later see that these vehicles are armed, which makes it doubly absurd that he gets to keep it.
Finally, everyone at the station (including his Lieutenant) know that they will be tracking him down very soon. Why the hell would they let him keep an expensive, armed, and technologically advanced getaway car?
9 Why get rid of the expiration date?
As you'll recall, expiration dates on replicants was a pivotal aspect of the first movie's plot. Roy Batty and the other replicants could not live longer than four years, which is why they attacked their creator, Tyrell, in an attempt to live longer. This artificially short lifespan was intended as a safeguard for humanity, as living longer than that meant that these replicants might be able to pass for humans by deceiving any tests they are given.
In Blade Runner 2049, K does not hunt down Series 6 models like Roy Batty because those are all dead. Instead, he hunts down series 8 models such as Sapper Morton. We find out Sapper has been operational for decades, which forces us to ask... why take away the short lifespan? It was a decision made by Tyrell and, later, by Wallace, but this single decision ensured that the blade runners' job would never be done, with replicants capable of hiding on any planet for decades before they can be caught and retired.
8 Why does Luv attack the police (twice)?
Once he discovers the existence of a replicant offspring, K's mission becomes to find and destroy this creature. He dutifully investigates the case, falling further down a rabbit hole that forces him to ask hard questions about his own existence. At the same time, we see that Wallace is also investigating this matter through the replicant Luv, and she goes so far as to attack the police station— twice!-- and kill multiple people.
However, it's not clear why she would want to do this. First, they already have easy access to everything K finds because of their ability to track his every movement— it seems like Luv could find everything she needed without stepping foot into the police station. Furthermore, killing multiple members of the force (including a well-known Lieutenant) seems like a guaranteed way to drop public attention to this secret matter and drive a wedge between the police and Wallace.
7 What's going on with the replicant revolution?
Sometimes, the burning questions Blade Runner 2049 leaves us with are very deliberate. These are the kinds of plot points that are likely to be explored in any possible sequels to the movie. Alternately, they are meant to be open-ended questions that keep the audience talking, such as: what's going on with the replicant revolution?
As K's investigation deepens, he eventually finds out that there is a growing army of replicants who are ready to fight for their freedom, led by the mysterious Freysa. They consider the existence of a replicant child a kind of rallying call for the notion of replicant freedom and independence. They invite K to join them, but he instead works to reunite Deckard with his daughter.
This gives us an emotional and satisfying end to the movie, but what will happen with these revolutionary replicants (and whether Deckard and his daughter will ever join them) is something the movie leaves up for debate.
6 What does Wallace really want?
The original architect of the replicants, Tyrell, is long dead now. He was killed by Roy Batty before Roy's own death in the original Blade Runner. In his place is Wallace, a character played with perfect menace by Jared Leto. Unfortunately, most of Wallace's true motivations are somewhat opaque.
On paper, his plan involves finding the replicant offspring, dissecting it, and then using what he finds to make more replicants than ever before and spread humanity throughout the galaxy. However, the exact reason why replicant reproduction (complete with having to carry a baby to term for nine months) would be any quicker or more efficient than quickly manufacturing them.
Wallace claims he can only make so many of them, but the reason for that, too, is unclear—if this is tied to having enough material, then it is never explained. Finally, it makes no sense that he wants to breed an army of replicants to expand human interests, especially because he knows damn well that a single replicant child has been enough to spark a revolution in every replicant who hears about it.
5 Aren't the Joi holograms dangerous?
K's most faithful companion in the movie is actually a holographic woman named Joi. At first, she is confined to a holographic emitter at his home, but he gifts her with a mobile "emanator" that lets her go anywhere. While the role is played to perfection by Ana de Armas, the movie never really explains why the public would be so accepting of holograms.
As near as we can tell, Joi is not just a hologram... she is powered by an artificial intelligence that allows her to grow and to respond predictively to K's wishes. Considering that the entire Blade Runner universe is shaped by the fear of what happens when AI goes rogue, it's bizarre that people would be so accepting of mass-produced holographic AI in people's homes and on the streets.
While the holograms' ability to actually touch things is limited, they can “merge” with sympathetic replicants and are part of the home computer system used by K and others, giving them access to sensitive data. Forget the “skinjobs”-- the real danger comes from inviting holographic strangers home!
4 Is Deckard a replicant?
Believe it or not, but the question of whether Deckard is a replicant or not still manages to get Blade Runner fans riled up after all these years.
Part of the problem is that the character is definitively human in the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which is what the first Blade Runner was based on. Deckard was also definitively human in the original theatrical release of that movie, and there were not really strong hints about being a replicant until the release of the Director's Cut. If that's not weird enough, Harrison Ford himself insists Deckard is human while director Ridley Scott insists he's a replicant!
Because of that contentious history, many fans were hoping that Blade Runner 2049 would settle the mystery. However, the movie does nothing of the sort: Wallace hints that Deckard may be a replicant and he hints that he may be human. Deckard himself has made peace with his own existence, insisting that “I know what's real.”
While the movie gives a happy ending to Deckard, this decades-long debate will never really end.
3 Why is Luv relying on K?
In a movie filled with dark and mysterious people, the replicant Luv may be one of the most mysterious. At first, she seems like little more than a servant to Wallace. However, over the course of the movie, we see she is a skilled fighter who is just as adept at hand-to-hand combat as she is remote-controlling satellite weaponry. She is also skilled at tracking people down, like when she finds K and Deckard. So, the question remains: why is she relying on K in the first place?
It would be one thing if this was the traditional noir film and the shady corporation needed the access and information that only the police have. However, Wallace and Luv already have most of this info, and they seem itching to do much of the investigation themselves - hence Luv repeatedly breaking into the LAPD. Why not kill K and get the job done herself?
2 How much does Gaff really know?
In Blade Runner 2049, one of the most satisfying cameos is Edward James Olmost reprising his role of Gaff, the blade runner who once worked with Deckard in the first movie. Gaff is much more talkative in this movie, and he ends up talking the film into something of a plot hole!
Gaff is able to provide some of the first solid info K gets about what happened with Deckard. Furthermore, his origami sheep hints that he knows a lot about the secret plans they made regarding the baby and K's role in this. However, the movie makes clear that everyone else who had any knowledge of this is in hiding and in fear of their lives. Meanwhile, Gaff— a very obvious suspect given his relationship with Deckard— is just openly chilling in a futuristic retirement home.
The truth is that if Wallace really wanted to torture someone for info, they should have picked Gaff up immediately! We are left wondering both why Wallace did not do this and how much Gaff truly knows.
1 What's up with Deckard and Rachel's daughter?
Many people went into Blade Runner 2049 assuming that Deckard would die. Like Han Solo before him, this veteran character would be “retired” as a way of passing the torch on to other actors. The film completely flips our expectations, though, with K actually giving his life so that he can reunite Deckard and his daughter. The movie abruptly ends after that reunion, though, leaving us with so many unanswered questions about her.
The daughter is Dr. Stelline, and her story is that she has an auto-immune condition forcing her to live inside a futuristic bubble. She works as the premiere memory maker for replicants. So, our first question: does she really have this condition? Or is this a way of confining and protecting her? Also, if people are trying to protect her, why let her be a memory maker for Wallace? Deckard and the others basically hide her in plain sight, which is an insanely dangerous game.
Finally, K's revelation that his memory is actually Stelline's means she must have known he had some involvement in her life, but the movie is unclear how much she knows about the massive plot to hide her.
Got any burning questions about Blade Runner 2049 that we missed? Be sure to sound off in the comments!