Blade Runner Short Film – 2048: Nowhere to Run

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2048: Nowhere to Run is the second installment of three short films that bridge the gap between Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 and the original Blade Runner film by Ridley Scott. 2048 is directed by Luke Scott, just as 2036: Nexus Dawn was. So where does 2048 fit into the current established timeline?

[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. (An animated film from Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe will be set during this time called Blade Runner: Black Out 2022)
  • 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  • 2030: Prohibition repealed with help from Wallace (Now confirmed to be 2036, specifically).
  • 2048: Sapper goes into hiding.
  • 2049: Society divided between two classes, Replicant and humans.]

2048: Nowhere to Run is the story of how Sapper, played by Dave Bautista, is discovered as a ‘skin-job’ or Replicant and has to go into hiding. We know that in the-the full-length Blade Runner 2049 K is tracking down Sapper and we suspect that this is the opening of the film since this scene is heavily reminiscent of the originally intended opening to the first Blade Runner:

“We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film. We always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ – what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling – you can see for 20 miles. No fences, just ploughed, dry dirt.

Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up. It’s a bit like The Grapes of Wrath; there’s dust, and the tree is still standing. By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilising this ground. You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage. And now a spinner comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks.

The doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in to the cottage, opens the door, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder – a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison’s side. The cottage actually creaks; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else – you’ll have to go see the movie.” – Ridley Scott

In the short, we are given the impression that Sapper is haunted by his past (war-induced PTSD?) and this clashes with a man who is gentle and philosophical. A man who is struggling with being designed to be a killer. He is just trying to get by in this dystopian world by using a talent for genetically engineering nematodes and fostering a human relationship with a little girl and her mother. This all comes to a halt when these friends come under assault by a band of thugs and Sapper allows himself to come to their defense, his full killer instinct coming out. This leads to his new found friends not falling victim to the twisted whims of the thugs, but also terrifies them and as Sapper realizes what he has done, he flees with the knowledge that he has been found out. This is not left up to the imagination, as we see that an onlooker has reported him to the police as the film comes to a close.

Sapper in 2048: Nowhere to Run

The most touching moment of the film is when Sapper explains the plot of the novel The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene to the little girl.

“It’s about an outlaw priest who is trying to understand the meaning of being human.” – Sapper

This line immediately tells us how Sapper sees himself, and how the audience should view his plight. In a short 6 minutes, Scott tells us the story of Sapper and tells a better story than most of the big-budget films on screens today. The power of showing, not telling, is on full display in this short and it quickly creates a world, a backstory, and a future for a character we’ve only just met. Don’t worry though, we’ll be seeing Sapper again soon when Blade Runner 2049 hits screens on October 6th.

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