Blade Runner Short Film – 2036: Nexus Dawn Reaction

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2036: Nexus Dawn is a short film by Luke Scott (who directed Morgan) for Denis Villeneuve and provides auxiliary context for the sequel to one of the best cyberpunk movies of all time, Blade Runner. It focuses around Jared Leto’s character, Niander Wallace, and his creation of new replicants, the Nexus 9 series. 2036: Nexus Dawn was posted exclusively on the Collider, here is their description:

Collider is happy to exclusively premiere a Blade Runner 2049 prequel short film “in-world” piece that explains what happened in the world of Blade Runner between the first movie, set in 2019, and this sequel, set in 2049. The short film “Nexus: 2036” takes place in the year 2036 and revolves around Jared Leto’s character, Niander Wallace. In this short, directed by Luke Scott (Morgan), Wallace introduces a new line of “perfected” replicants called the Nexus 9, seeking to get the prohibition on replicants repealed. This no doubt has serious ramifications that will be crucial to the plot of Blade Runner 2049.

At Comic-Con this summer, Warner Bros. unveiled a teaser that offered a bullet point rundown of the events that have occurred in the Blade Runner timeline since Ridley Scott’s original movie. This “in-world” piece, 2036: Nexus Dawn,  is one of three short films that will debut ahead of Blade Runner 2049, which will further flesh out the Blade Runner universe with even more information. In 2023, government authorities legislated an indefinite “prohibition” on replicant production, as a year prior a massive EMP detonated on the West Coast and is pinned on Replicants. So in this Wallace piece, we see the beginnings of the new Replicants that are created after the prohibition is lifted.

[Here is a full rundown of the timeline compliments of IGN:

  • 2019: Deckard escapes.
  • 2020: A new Replicant model.
  • 2022: A blackout on the west coast of the US.
  • 2023: Replicant Prohibition begins. Those who can go into hiding.
  • 2025: The rise of Wallace Corp, helps solve food shortage.
  • 2030: Prohibition repealed with help from Wallace (Now confirmed to be 2036, specifically).
  • 2049: Society divided between two classes, Replicant and humans.]

In Blade Runner 2049, 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.

On first viewing, the color scheme is what captured me as a viewer. Clearly a tone set in the first film, while adding a brighter palette. It is clear that the characters we are seeing are affluent members of some type of judiciary board and have been waiting. This sets the tone that we’re looking at some sort of organizational structure that has power.

The Judiciary Board

We meet Niander Wallace, Jared Leto’s character, as he walks in and immediately learn that he has some type of ailment (blindness) that not only makes travel difficult, but also serves as a motive for creating the Nexus 9, his perfected replicants.

As the the title states, Nexus Dawn takes place in 2036. It was mentioned in the introduction to the short by Villeneuve, himself,  that there are in total three shorts created as prologues. It was intriguing to see what the first contained, since this likely sets up something provocative for the other two. Overall, I think this achieved a compelling narrative, while staying clearly in the lines of the cyberpunk genre. We have a character who wants to provide the world with a technological advancement that he feels will help mankind, while a governing body is there to impose their will. In this case, prohibition of the creation of replicants which cannot be debated or repealed. “And yet, here we are debating,” says Wallace.

The Nexus 8

This is a fine addition to the trailers and TV spots that we’ve already seen come out for Blade Runner 2049 and I look forward to viewing the other two short films. Blade Runner 2049 comes out on October 6th.

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