Blade Runner 2049 Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The meaning of Blade Runner 2049 repeats and complements the idea of ​​its predecessor, the 1982 film by Ridley Scott, also significantly expanding the originally created MCU.

Country : USA, Canada, Spain, UK, Hungary

Genre : fantasy, detective, drama, thriller, dystopia

Year of production : 2017

Directed by : Denis Villeneuve

Cast : Ryan Gosling, Sylvia Hoeks, Ana de Armas, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto

tagline : The key to the future has finally been found

Awards : Academy Award and 2018 British Cannon Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and Cinematography, Saturn Award 2018 for Best Science Fiction Film.

Plot summary of the film Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 takes place thirty years after the events of the first part, which was dedicated to police officer Rick Deckard (the hero of Harrison Ford), a hunter of replicants (artificially created creatures that are not much different from people who perform menial and dangerous work for the latter). ). Such hunters are called blade runners. Given the task of killing a group of replicants who escaped from a space colony, Ford’s hero faces a moral choice. At the end of the picture, he is saved by the enemy – the leader of the fugitives, Roy Batty. Rick himself falls in love with the replicant girl Rachel and hides with her.

Harrison FordRyan Gosling as Kay, Harrison Ford as Rick Descartes. Frame from the film.

What exactly happened in the life of mankind over the past time is not entirely clear from the content of the sequel, so the director, who until the end of filming himself could not read the script (it was written by other people, one of whom is the screenwriter of the first film), asked to shoot several short films , which would give an explanation of individual storylines.

The first shows a conversation between the main antagonist Niander Wallace and officials. From it, we learn that before the events of Blade Runner 2049, back in 2036, there was a strict ban on the production of replicants. However, the tycoon Wallace (the hero of Jared Leto), who saved humanity from starvation with the help of food larvae, persuades the authorities to remove him.

He demonstrates a ninth generation replicant who unquestioningly obeys orders and, even feeling pain and fear, is able to take his own life at the whim of the owner. In the full-length tape, it becomes clear that the persuasion worked, Wallace inherited the corporation of Endol Tyrell (the creator of the replicants from the first part) and all his developments.

The second short film explains why the farmer Sapper Morton was persecuted, whom the protagonist of Blade Runner 2049 kills at the beginning of the film. The replicant saves people dear to him (more precisely, also replicants) from the police.

Ana de ArmasAna de Armas played the role of Joy. Frame from the film.

The third short is an anime. Here is a description of the key event preceding the second feature, the blackout. It turns out that just three years after the story that took place in the first part, Tyrell Corporation launched the eighth generation of replicants on the market, which differed from the representatives of the sixth by a longer lifespan.

In the wake of this, a human domination movement began to grow, with its members tracking down Replicants using information from digital sources and ruthlessly killing them. In response, the replicants staged a catastrophe that led to the disconnection of human civilization from the digital network (similar to the Internet). After that, the production and release of artificial creatures were banned. Also, all the equipment of people has become analog, which we see in Blade Runner 2049.

In the sequel, we watch the main character – Kay (by the first letter of his serial number), who, like Rick Deckard once, works as a blade runner, that is, tracks down and kills replicants who violate the law. His story begins after the murder of Sapper Morton, who said before his death “You did not see a miracle.”

In the yard of a farmer’s house, Kay finds the buried remains of a replicant girl who died in childbirth. Probably, Morton was talking about this miracle, because until now it was believed that these creatures could not reproduce like people. Kei’s boss, Lieutenant Joshi, who everyone calls Madame, believes that such information is dangerous: it can completely erase the border between people and replicants, which may lead to new conflicts. Madame orders the hero to find and find the child.

Robin WrightRobin Wright as Lieutenant Joshi, Sylvia Hooks portrayed Love. Frame from the film.

Kei, starting his search, visits the offices of the Wallace Corporation, which is now a manufacturer of replicants. There he finds out that the remains belong to Rachel – the same girl with whom Rick fell in love and with whom Rick ran away at the end of the first part. The head of the corporation, Niander Wallace, is also interested in looking for their child. After all, the disclosure of the reproduction technology of replicants will allow them to globally scale their production and seize even more power. Wallace sends his faithful servant named Love to follow the main character, who, like Kay, is a ninth generation replicant.

The hero finds a child’s sock and a photograph of a woman with a child on the farm, which means that the birth took place here. Another clue for Kay is the date “10/6/21”, which was carved into the base of a dry tree trunk. The same mark was on a wooden horse – a toy that, in his childhood memories, Kay hid from other boys. Kei himself considers this memory artificial, because he is a replicant, although he is starting to doubt it more and more. Doubts are added by his girlfriend Joy – a digital version of the replicant that Blade Runner ordered from the Wallace Corporation. Joy says Kay is special.

Parsing the records in the archive, the hero learns about two children born on a key date – a boy and a girl with the same DNA. The girl died, and the boy was taken to a children’s work colony. Kay goes there, but cannot find the necessary documentation. But he finds a wooden horse where he hid it in his memories.

Next, Kay goes to Dr. Anya Stellin, a designer of memories. She creates them for replicants and sorts out which is false and which is not. Looking at Kei’s memory of the hidden toy, the girl cries and says that it is real – human. This convinces the hero that he is the very miracle, the son of Rick and Rachel. Kay is called in for another aptitude test. The purpose of the test is to confirm that the sounding phrases (they are inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire) do not evoke an emotional response, just as the Voight-Kampf test in the first part was supposed to detect the absence of emotions. This time, Kei shows feelings and fails the test.

Mackenzie DavisMackenzie Davis played the role of Mariette. Frame from the film.

Madam is upset by the results of the test, but believes the hero’s words that he found and killed the child, because the ninth generation replicants unquestioningly obey the owner and never lie.

At home, the girlfriend of the hero Joy, whom he gave an emanator (a device that allows you to create a semblance of a material shell anywhere), “synchronizes” (imposes its appearance on top of the physical body) with an invited replicant prostitute to make love to Kay. The same one throws up a tracking beacon before leaving.

Kay and Joy go to an expert who reveals that the wooden horse they found has received a dose of radiation. And this could only happen in Las Vegas, which was destroyed by an atomic bomb before the blackout.

Traveling to an abandoned entertainment city, Kay finds an aged Rick Deckard. He tries to kill the hero, but eventually calms down. Deckard reveals that he never tried to see his child so as not to compromise his safety.

Love tracks down Kay. She succeeded thanks to the police tracking system, which she used when she killed Madame. Love wounds Kay, kills Joy by breaking the emanator, and kidnaps Deckard. But, thanks to a beacon thrown by a prostitute, the hero is found by members of a secret organization of replicants. Her head Frase witnessed the birth of Rachel and Deckard’s child. She heals Kei and explains to him that he is not the child. His DNA and memories match the daughter of the characters from the first Blade Runner. Kei, on the other hand, was created as a decoy in order to cover the traces of the original child.

The rebels ask the hero to kill Deckard before he gives Wallace information about the child, but in the end, Kay saves him by killing Love. Before that, Wallace interrogated Rick, trying to bribe him with an exact copy of Rachel. But it doesn’t work out, so Deckard is sent in a spinner (flying car) accompanied by Love for interrogations and torture, where the protagonist overtakes them.

During the skirmish, Kay receives another wound, this time mortally, but manages to escort Deckard to his real child, Anya Stellin. After all, judging by her reaction, the memory shown by Kay belonged to this girl.

Ryan GoslingFrame from the film.

The meaning of the film Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a direct continuation of the first part. In the sequel, both the world itself and the meaning of the conflict are carefully transferred. The first part asked the question: “What does it mean to be human?”. After all, already there it was clear that in fact, replicants are not much different from people. They sometimes even behave more humanely. So, for example, the desperate fugitive replicant Roy Batty, who manifested himself as a villain throughout the film, ends up saving Rick Deckard.

The surrounding world emphasized the reigning injustice not only in relation to replicants, but also to people. In fact, it was an exaggerated capitalism, where there is a big difference between the tops holding power (heads of corporations) and everyone else, most of whom spend their whole lives on the streets in the rain.

The system was devouring itself, gradually destroying the Earth, as a result of which it was necessary to rapidly colonize other planets. In the second part, we see that the state of affairs has not changed: rather, everything has become even worse. Both humans and replicants before and now are just a resource.

That is why Niander Wallace so desperately needs a child, the technology of which would allow him to reproduce millions more unquestioningly obedient slaves. At the same time, colonization itself worries him not as much as the fact of absolute power. He takes pleasure in killing his own creatures. We can say that Wallace is the worst continuation of Andol Tyrell, the head of the corporation from the first part. It is ironic that Roy Batty gouged out Tyrell’s eyes, and Wallace, as if emphasizing this, is blind (his eyes are mini-drones flying nearby).

As a counterbalance to undivided power, those who are able to disobey the order and make a choice at the behest of their own conscience and in favor of love appear. In the first part, this is Rick Deckard. It was repeatedly hinted in the film that he, too, was a replicant. One of the biggest is his sleep. In it, Rick sees a unicorn – a symbol of the Tyrell corporation.

aging HarrisonFrame from the film.

Thanks to the shorts and the sequel, it becomes clear that Rachel is a seventh generation replicant, an experimental sample. Perhaps so is Deckard (although Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t directly answer the question of his origin either). The experiment, most likely, was that two replicants could fall in love with each other and produce a real child. That’s why Wallace asks Deckard if he thought he and Rachel might have been set up on purpose. And it seems that the scriptwriters of the first film conceived just such a development of events – it was not for nothing that they called the replicant girl Rachel. This name is a modified version of Rachel. In the bible, this is a mother whose birth of a child cost her life.

In the sequel, the power of the corporation is opposed by Kay. And this ability to disobey orders looks incredible, since he is a ninth generation replicant, whose representatives obey the master entirely and complete the task even against their own wishes. Suffice it to recall the “suicide” from the short film or another faithful servant of Wallace Love, who clearly sympathized with the replicants created and killed by the owner, but could not do anything.

She had to transform her desire for rebellion into anger towards Kei. The last insubordination succeeded, probably due to the belief (at first subconscious, and then conscious) that he was special and maybe even human.

Something unusual in Kei was seen by his boss Madame. We were shown this briefly, but she clearly sympathized with her subordinate and even died for him at the hands of Love (this also contains symbolism: the name “Luv” is consonant with the word “love” – ​​”love”). Confidence in the unusual origin of the hero was added by his digital girlfriend Joy (“joy” – “joy”), although her support was largely dictated by the programmed program, according to which the “product” should adapt to the owner.

Ford in the clubFrame from the film.

Kay does not confirm his miraculous origin, but goes through the path of knowledge, acting as a key to unraveling (the letter “K” sounds like the word “key” – “key”). He left his invisible cage beyond the system. Not surprisingly, Kay failed an aptitude test that asked questions such as “Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system?” “Have you spent a lot of time in a cage?” “What power do you have against darkness ? The text of the test is quite voluminous – it was posted by the creators of additional materials for Blade Runner 2049.

The fact that Kay is still a replicant by birth is irrelevant. Biological origin, in principle, does not matter (although the system thinks otherwise). This was also discussed in the first part. In the sequel, we also do not fully understand who is human and who is not. And that’s okay, because it doesn’t matter at all.

The meaning is different, and it boils down to the filmmakers’ answer to the question “What does it mean to be human?”. Initially, in accordance with the vision of the system, the correct answer was that people have emotions, and replicants do not.

But this is a conditional border, which was erased during the first part. As well as the fact of artificial or natural birth. In fact, the answer is simple: a person is free, he has the ability to choose. This is the essence of the film. And in that sense, both Rick Deckard and Kay are people. Deckard in the first part is told “You have no choice”, Kay in the second is completely programmed for complete submission. But both find a way to go beyond.

Blade Runner 2049 Ending explanation

The meaning of the ending of Blade Runner 2049 is consonant with the interpretation of the entire work (including the first part) as a parable about humanity and freedom. Kay went his way and felt free. He made the right choice, going against the will of those in power.

This is not the only explanation for the ending. The creators of the picture made the ending open, with some understatement, perhaps hoping for a sequel. Therefore, in their analysis, critics voice different points of view and hidden meanings. Someone talks about Kei’s disappointment that he supposedly felt at the end. After all, the hero received a refutation of his wonderful origin, and even Joy, whom he truly loved, turned out to be just a program playing along with the client. Just like the love of Deckard and Rachel was set up in the first part. But it is unlikely that the writers wanted to make such a pessimistic denouement. Rather, on the contrary, the point is that in the dying world of The Runner, there is still hope for love, humanity and freedom.

Ryan Gosling characterFrame from the film.

Similar films

  • Dune ( USA, 2021): comparable in beauty to Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve’s work, based on the science fiction novel of the same name;
  • “Equilibrium” (USA, 2002): an excellent dystopia about the victory of real feelings in a world where emotions are forbidden;
  • Drive (USA, 2011): Ryan Gosling’s silent character saves a girl while opposing a ruthless criminal system;
  • “Artificial Intelligence” (USA, 2001): a boy robot (brilliantly played by a young Hayley Joel Osment) is looking for his mother;
  • Her (USA, 2013): writer falls in love with the operating system;
  • “I, Robot” (USA, Germany, 2004): a fantasy about the uprising of robots based on the work of the same name by Isaac Asimov.

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