WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Blade Runner 2049.
There was a lot packed into Blade Runner 2049. Like its predecessor, 35 years earlier, there’s plenty in there for fans to debate. While the sequel answers some questions, and leaves others unresolved, it also opens up a whole new set of quandaries. FANDOM sat down with Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve and fired a bunch of fan theories at him. And despite initially saying that he might not give us answers… he actually does.
“It’s like poetry,” says Villeneuve. “You read a poem, you will see something; I will see something different; the poet has something [that he sees]. And it’s beautiful to leave interpretation alive and not to crystallise ideas with answers. So sometimes I don’t give answers. It’s just for the pure pleasure of giving people the freedom to stay excited.”
Read on to find out the truth behind your favourite theory — but first a quick reminder of the plot.
Ryan Gosling’s K, also known as Joe, is working as a Blade Runner. His job is to retire Nexus-8 model replicants. He’s a replicant himself, but a new type — Nexus-9 – designed by Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace to be unable to resist orders given by a human and unable to lie. This makes it impossible, in theory, for the model to rebel.
When he’s assigned the task of tracking down and retiring a Nexus-8 in hiding, he uncovers a buried secret that sets him on a trail of discovery, leading to a whole mess of existential angst. He learns that a baby was born to a replicant mother, later revealed to be Rachael (Sean Young in the original film), and Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard. The child is wanted by both Wallace, who is desperate to create replicants able to procreate, and the replicant resistance.
Believing himself to be that child, K is devastated to learn that he’s not. The child in question was a girl whose DNA was reproduced to create a boy ‘twin’ — who apparently died — in order to throw authorities off the scent. The girl was placed in hiding, and is later revealed to be the ‘Memory Maker’, a contractor working for Wallace building memories to insert into replicants’ minds. She exists inside a glass cell as a result of a genetic condition.
Mark Millar Weighs In
The first fan theory broached actually comes from comic book writer Mark Millar.
“That’s a bit frightening,” laughs Villeneuve. Mark posited a theory in the forums of his blog, MillarWorld, that Ryan Gosling’s character’s story is actually a fake memory implanted in Deckard’s mind by his daughter to engineer a reunion between them.
“That’s a nice story. It’s interesting,” says Villeneuve before adding enigmatically, “I cannot comment on that. I understand why he came to that conclusion but I like the ambiguity, I will say.”
It Was All By Design
Another theory posits that K was set on the path to uncover the whereabouts of the child on purpose by either the replicant resistance, or Wallace.
Villeneuve discounts this: “Personally, I don’t think it was planned. I think it’s an accident.”
Audrey Hepburn Coming from Hell on Acid
Wallace has a female replicant, called Luv, in his employ who operates as his right-hand woman. There is a line of thinking that suggests Luv is a failed replicant of Rachael. The evidence to support this? Mainly the fact that she cries after Wallace slashes a newborn female replicant across the stomach where the womb would be, killing her.
“Wow,” says Villeneuve. “For me, Luv was Audrey Hepburn coming from hell on acid. It’s true that they have similarities aesthetically, in the design and the rigidity of behaviours. I love these theories — some of them are sometimes things that we talked about, others are new things. I deeply love this.”
He’s a lot less enigmatic about the next theory – that Luv is actually Deckard’s daughter, and not Memory Maker, Ana.
“No, that’s… I’m sorry. I don’t know how you can come to such a conclusion,” he says. But he adds, “I deeply love that, again.”
Ana and K Theories
He’s open about the notion that Ana’s immune system isn’t actually compromised, and that it’s just a ruse to keep her hidden away. “I think so,” he says simply when we put this one to him.
And what about the snow Ana is creating at the end? It’s visually linked with what K is experiencing simultaneously outside. Is she making the memory and implanting it into K’s mind as she constructs it?
“I think that the way the Memory Maker works, the memories are implanted before the birth so I don’t think that she can simultaneously create them,” says Villeneuve. “But I like the ambiguity of that question.”
He also dismisses theories that K is the copied twin of Ana, and that K is human: “K is obviously a replicant. To survive [those] injuries, he needs to be an artificial being with [an AI’s] strength.”
So there you go. That should at least lay some of those brainteasers to rest.
Blade Runner 2049 is available in the US on digital download now and on Blu-Ray and DVD from January 16. In the UK, you can own it on download from January 29 and on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 5.