Before You See ‘Blade Runner 2049’, You Need to Watch these Shorts

These three shorts help bridge the gap between the 1982 cult classic and the highly anticipated sci-fi sequel.

Blade Runner 2049 comes out tomorrow night, which means it’s time to get excited. Even if you’re not of fan of the original Blade Runner (like me), that doesn’t mean you should easily dismiss this sequel.

With glowing reviews that have accounted for a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes as of this afternoon, there’s reason to be excited; even if you’ve never seen the original, you don’t have to have seen Ridley Scott’s cult classic to see and understand the cult classic. (I know because I saw it last night.)

However, with the help of director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Warner Brothers made three shorts, told over three different time periods, that help explain the smaller details in the highly anticipated sci-fi sequel that bridge the 30-year gap between the first Blade Runner, which takes place in the year 2019 and Blade Runner 2049, which takes place 30 years later (as shown in the title of the movie).

Before you see the highly anticipated sci-fi sequel this weekend, I recommend you watch these three shorts, which are not only good, but also give more backstory for the city of Los Angeles (the setting of the Blade Runner movies) and its smaller characters.

Black Out 2022

Featuring beautiful animation and characters that act as small pawns in the grand scheme of things of the Blade Runner universe, this outstanding anime short that details a climatic event in the city of Los Angeles (Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe of the classic anime series Cowboy Bebop) is easily the best of the three shorts.

2036: Nexus Dawn

Directed by Luke Scott (son of Ridley), this short introduces audiences to Jared Leto’s blind character, Niander Wallace, and how he changed the landscape of Los Angeles and the off-world colonies with the revival of the replicant program. If you have no idea about anything Blade Runner-related, blade runners are assigned to terminate bad replicants, who are bioengineered androids that look virtually identical to adult humans, but are superior in strength, ability, and intelligence.

2048: Nowhere to Run 

The final short (also directed by Luke Scott) looks closely at Dave Bautista’s character, Sapper Morton, whose actions seemingly set things in motion for Blade Runner 2049.