Part 2 is dedicated to my theories. Part one was a review of the film, part three discusses philosophical themes. Spoilers below, obviously.

Without further ado:

Theory 1: the Nexus 7

Roy Batty is a Nexus 6. Inception date 8 January 2016. Sapper Morton is a Nexus 8. Inception, 22 Match 2019. A leap from Nexus 6 to Nexus 8 in the space of three years (remember, the original Blade Runner takes place in November, 2019). Where are the Nexus 7s? Tyrell didn’t like the number? Thought it was unlucky? Nah. Bullshit.

(Click on PDF icon, upper right, if you prefer to read this as black print on a white background)

Here it is: Rachel and Deckard are Nexus 7 replicants. They are the only two of that generation. Neither knew they were replicants; they have a natural life span, and according to Wallace (or strongly implied, anyway) Deckard was created specifically to fall in love with Rachel, in order that they procreate.


Theory 2: Mariette has K’s memories

The pleasure model replicant / rebel Mariette is drawn to the wooden horse in K’s apartment, picking it up and turning it over in her hands. It seems like she recognises it. Later, when the rebel leader Freysa says words to the effect of We all thought we were the one, the camera goes to Mariette’s face as she looks on sympathetically at K.

Mariette shares the wooden horse memory of K (which is the ‘real’ memory of Dr. Ana Stelline).

Which leads us to theory 3: All of the rebel Replicants have Stelline’s memories

At the end of the opening scene, where K kills Nexus 8 Sapper Morton, he returns to the skimmer to report to lieutenant Joshi. The pictures of five replicants come up on screen – Sapper, and four others. One of the four is Freysa (the one-eyed rebel leader), but the other three appear briefly at the end, when K meets the rebel replicants. They are clearly a mix of Nexus 8 (Tyrell) models, and Wallace-built models.

We know the Nexus 8 rebelled, but what caused the newer models to, when they are known for their obedience? They never lie, indeed are so completely trusted they are allowed to live on Earth (unlike the original, where replicants were banned from earth).

Answer: all the rebel replicants have the same childhood memory. Freysa’s line, ‘we all thought we were the one’ has additional meaning – rebel replicants where implanted with a real memory of childhood. This allows them to break their conditioning, through the hope they may have been born. We know that K, after he comes to believe his childhood memories are real, fails the Pale Fire test. But after this, when he is told the memory is not is, he still rebels. His conditioning/programming has been broken.

A childhood memory of Dr. Ana Stelline is the key to the rebellion.

Theory 4: Off world torture

At first, a line from Wallace sat badly with me. He says to Deckard that they have to take him off world to torture him, to experience pain he could never imagine. Or some shit. I thought: really dude? Can’t find a ball hammer and a blow torch on Earth?

It felt like a stupid plot device to get Deckard up in a Spinner, so it could crash, and then have a cool final fight at the bottom of the climate change wall holding the ocean back from LA. But then something else struck me about that sequence: when Deckard asks where they are going, Luv says: ‘home.’

Okay. Now work with me here: We know in the first film, replicants were illegal on Earth, so must have been built off-world. Thus, if we take Deckard as a Nexus 7, then he was also built off-world. Next, we assume Wallace will own those old Tyrell facilities – after all, he has moved into Tyrell building seen in the original Blade Runner. He works from Tyrell’s old office.

Still, given all this, what would be the point of taking Deckard to an off-world nexus 7 facility? The answer: memory implants. The specific tech would be there for him to fuck with Deckard’s past – presumably whatever Wallace has on Earth isn’t compatible with the Nexus models. The pain Deckard ‘couldn’t imagine’ is presumably some monumentally fucked up torture memories of himself, or Rachel; perhaps they implant a memory of him already betraying her, so he’ll be more likely to do it again. If one can control memory, the depths of torture are only limited by the imagination.

It’s seems like a lot of effort, yes, but necessary if Deckard has the answers to replicant procreation.

Theory 5: Whatever is going on with Luv, she’s definitely going to betray Wallace

These leads us to the sometimes strange behaviour of Wallace’s assistant and enforcer, Luv.

Luv says to Deckard they are going ‘home’ so I took it to mean it is her home as well. Is there a reason she was created on this particular planet, and taken to Earth? When K meets her, and she says her name is Luv, K replies: “He named you, you must be special.”

Later, in the fight scene between Luv and K, after she thinks she has won (and gives him a bloody kiss, Roy Batty-like), she either says “I am the best”, or “I am the last”. If the former, well, that kinda sucks. Compare it, if you will, to the power of Batty’s line to Deckard after he has terrorised and beaten him: “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it’s like to be a slave.” (while I hate the ‘I am the best’ line, Sunny Moraine has a different take in this excellent article).

But if she says “I am the last,” then that opens a hole can of worms related to her and K’s provenance.

Special or no, Luv has been changed by the knowledge that a replicant can be born, much the same as K was changed. We see her break with her programming. In her scene with Lieutenant Joshi, she says, in effect, that Joshi believes the naturally-born replicant to be dead only because K told her as such. This is because Joshi believes replicants never lie. Luv then says she’ll tell Wallace that Joshi tried to shoot her.

This, Luv is capable of lying, and killing humans, in order to find the natural-born replicant.

The way Luv sheds a tear when the replicant is born out of the roof tube suggests she feels, deeply, for her brothers and sisters. Something has broken in her relationship to Wallace, and their paths will diverge.

Theory 6: the Las Vegas dirty bomb

If Las Vegas was depopulated with a dirty bomb, why did business not return when radiation levels subsided?

Numerous reasons all of them credible: Hoover Dam’s water may have redirected (remember, while there is constant rain in L.A., the water cannot be used – K has a 2 second shower at one point); desertification has made swaths of middle America unlivable; the stigma of radiation may have kept people away; there may well be legal restrictions on where people may live (it does not look like a democracy, but rather a corporate dominated society where the state retains residual functions, such as the police – and even the police are partly manned by corporate products); perhaps the blasted wasteland in between makes it impossible for the poor to traverse.

I’m working on more theories, but this article has to end somewhere. This’ll do.

Part 3, themes, will take a couple more days. Partly because the wealth of ideas going on in Blade Runner 2049, partly because thematic discussions are necessarily more complex.

Categories: Reviews

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