What Happened Between Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049?

Rick Deckard and Rachel Escape (2019)

After Roy Batty's moving self-eulogy, Deckard is confronted with additional hiccups to his would-be happy ending. His cop colleague, Gaff (Edward James Olmos), warns him about his android love, Rachel, who may suffer the same fate as Batty. When Deckard returns home, he discovers one of Gaff’s origami unicorns, meant to symbolize either her unique nature as a replicant among humans... or Deckard's own true synthetic nature (in theory, since Deckard dreamt about a unicorn earlier, Gaff's predisposed knowledge of his dream is proof of Rick's replicant status)?

Debate aside, his colleague allows him to escape with Rachel, and the final shot consists of them leaving the apartment, although the theatrical ending features them flying to a lush field. In the Blade Runner 2049 trailers, though, Deckard appears to live alone, which doesn’t bode well for Rachel. Either other blade runners tracked them down at some point, or she did have a built-in shelf life. Hopefully, the sequel will address Rachel’s fate, as well as Deckard's in-between years. While the SDCC panel didn't shed any light on her fate or Deckard's true nature, fans were allowed a curious peek at what happens between the films.

The Nexus 8 Arrives (2020)

When Roy Batty, a Nexus 6 himself, killed Eldon Tyrell during Blade Runner’s climax, he certainly didn’t destroy the company. As the SDCC timeline notes, the megalithic corporation released the next artificial human, the Nexus 8, barely a year after their founder’s death. The latest group is also intended for use in the off-world colonies – where Batty and his cohorts first rebelled. This time, there’s no way the replicants could rebel against their masters, kill a shuttle crew, and fly to Earth... In any case, Tyrell seeks to avoid the whole existential quest with a side of murder by granting this batch unlimited life spans.

Nexus 8s also feature “ocular implants” that make them easy to identify. In the original film, blade runners identified Nexus 6 models by asking them roughly 30 questions, using the Voight-Kampff test. The test indicated, using pupil dilation and other autonomic responses, whether the subject was an artificial human or not. Yet an advanced model like Rachel was able to fool the test for well over 100 questions. This time around, Tyrell Corp also wants to make it very easy to identify Nexus 8s... just in case.

“The Blackout” (2022)

In 2022, an unknown group of individuals detonates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) somewhere on the West Coast of America. As a result, the world, mostly run by computers now, crashes. The pulse deletes or damages untold amounts of data and knocks out most of the planet's financial institutions and industries.

In the aftermath, food supplies (likely grown via electronic industry at this point) dwindle to a dangerously low level. No one is ever caught or takes responsibility for the blackout, and conspiratorial talk runs rampant. After Batty and his Nexus 6 cohorts dispatched an entire shuttle crew and murdered a number of others, replicant PR isn't looking too hot. As a result, a terrified and desolate populace turns any and all synthetic beings into scapegoats.

Although the timeline doesn't elaborate upon it, humans and their replicants may have engaged in additional skirmishes due to mounting tensions. No matter what happened, the end result is a push to outlaw artificial life.

Key Release Dates
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017) release date: Oct 06, 2017
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