There’s no denying that both “2036: Nexus Dawn” and “2048: Nowhere to Run” are cool. The short films were created and recently released as part of the marketing for Blade Runner 2049 is cool. Both offer a bit of backstory that sets the stage for the new movie and fill in some of the in-world histories between the original and the sequel.
While I’m a fan of transmedia storytelling, there are two kinds of stories that are generally told with these executions: Those that engage in a bit of world-building on the side of the primary story and those that fill in plot holes in that primary story. My problem is that these two are very much the latter.
It’s possible the information in both films would have been otherwise shared in the full movie, especially considering it’s over two-and-a-half hours long. So at best these shorts are duplicative, helping to build anticipation for the movie. At worst, though, it’s backstory that not everyone will have (because not everyone is going to be aware of, much less watch, this short) and which therefore might cause some confusion or create the appearance of a plot hole.
Again, I enjoy a good transmedia execution. But the best ones, in my experience, aren’t straight prequels to the main story. If this is so essential, my thinking goes, why isn’t it in the movie/book/show? This might just be personal preference, but in this case it actually has me more concerned about the content of the movie than I was before.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.