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Blade Runner 2049’s first trailer: a bounty-hunting Ryan Gosling, a sunny desert, and you-know-what

We still have more questions than answers.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the sci-fi android classic Blade Runner, is here, and in keeping with its predecessor, it leaves us with more questions than answers.

Warner Bros. / YouTube

The sequel is directed by recent sci-fi champ Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) and produced by original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, who’s been dining out for years on Blade Runner’s central unanswered mystery: Is Harrison Ford’s bounty hunter Rick Deckard one of the androids (known as replicants) he’s supposed to track down?

The 2049 teaser doesn’t provide us any clues to that giant question, but it does give us several shots of Ryan Gosling’s bounty hunter (whose name we don’t know) in cyberpunk fashion as he enters what looks like an abandoned Georgian mansion in the desert. (It’s kind of a Library of Alexandria throwback with fewer books; actually, the design reminds me of Scott’s looming Prometheus set crossed with a Fury Roadinspired landscape.)

Warner Bros. / YouTube

Is Gosling’s bounty hunter searching for Deckard because he’s a replicant? He finds Deckard hiding out in the desolate building, but we’re not too clear on either man’s purpose. Still, thanks to interviews Gosling has given, we know that the two men clash, so it’s safe to say their unexpected meeting has complicated repercussions. The teaser plays up the mysterious dynamic of its headliners, with no sign of the other Hollywood heavyweights with roles in the film, among them Jared Leto and Robin Wright.

Blade Runner 2049 features a story co-written by Hampton Fancher, who co-wrote with Scott the original Blade Runner, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s most famous novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The sequel is set 30 years after the original, which was set in 2019, in a futuristic dystopian version of Los Angeles modeled on Tokyo’s Shibuya district. The teaser offers glimpses of the original film’s famous blue noir, ad-saturated aesthetic, but the unexpected daylight and sand-swept desert is the most attention-grabbing element here.

Warner Bros. / YouTube
Warner Bros. / YouTube

And, hey, if Deckard has found a place where there’s sunlight, it’s gotta take some serious stakes to get him to come back to LA. Sign us up.

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