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New Blade Runner 2049 Short Film Starring Jared Leto Sets Up The Sequel's Story

Blade Runner 2049's marketing is kicking it up a notch from stunning trailers to actual mini-movies, with a new short film setting up the sequel released exclusively by Collider.

The new short, 2036: Nexus Dawn, stars Jared Leto's character, Niander Wallace, setting up the new status quo we'll see when Blade Runner 2049 begins. In it, the audience gains crucial insight into Wallace's motivation as a creator of the new phase of Replicants. He does this despite being strictly forbidden to by law, because in his mind, he's saving the world—even though past development of the Replicants resulted in a lot of people getting killed.

"This is an angel," says Wallace, introducing a mysterious Replicant to a group of magistrates that oversee his work. "and I made him."

In the short, Wallace drops some important clues as to the nature of these so-called perfected Replicants. "My Replicants will live as long or as short as a customer will pay," Wallace says. "My Replicants will never rebel, they will never run—they will simply obey." He then proceeds to demonstrate this obedience—violently.

He commands the Replicant to cut his own face with a shard of glass, and asks if it hurts. "Yes," the Replicant replies. And then, to the horror of the magistrates, he commands the Replicant to stab himself in the heart.

The film sets up threads that Blade Runner 2049 will no doubt follow up on, and is one of the most exciting pieces of marketing we've seen come out of the film yet. The best part? According to Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, who introduces the short film, there are still two more to come, from different directors, before the film's release.

"I decided to ask a couple of artists that I respect to create three short stories that dramatize some key events that occurred after 2019, when the first Blade Runner takes place, but before 2049, when my new Blade Runner story begins," Villeneuve said. 

2036: Nexus Dawn was directed by Luke Scott. Blade Runner 2049 hits cinemas on October 6, and we'll have much more new footage to go off of as the film gets closer to release.