Curious how the Blade Runner comics timeline fits with the movies? We’ve got you covered.
On July 12th, 2018 Alcon Media Group and Titan Publishing announced comic tie-ins for the Blade Runner universe. This announcement came a year after 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 film.
While the original film Blade Runner takes place in 2019, the sequel took place 30 years later. Hence the title, Blade Runner 2049. Titans Comics created a canon Blade Runner comics timeline for those thirty years.
These comics tell original stories, showing the world of Blade Runner as it changes through the years. What follows is an explanation of where each tie-in comic released so far fits into the Blade Runner comics timeline.
What is Blade Runner?In 1982, Ridley Scott directed a film version of Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, retitled Blade Runner. At first, the film did not make a lot of money at the box office.
However, it later became praised as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. Other works went on to expand the lore in a collective Blade Runner universe, and other stories have discussed the humanity of androids.
While it is not the first entry in the Blade Runner comics timeline, the lore begins with the first film. The audience first learns about the world of Blade Runner through the eyes of the main character Rick Deckard. He is a member of the Blade Runner Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Blade Runners track down and “retire” replicants.
In other words, they kill them.
A replicant is an artificial human, like a clone. They’re also known as a Nexus-6. Humans call Nexus-6s “Skin Jobs” because you cannot tell them apart from humans. The only difference is that they possess less empathy. For example, they cannot pass a Voigt-Kampff test.
The Voigt-Kampff is an advanced polygraph that tests emotional responses to a series of questions. Therefore, the emotional reactions to these questions show the empathy of the test takers.
You’ve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar.
Lawmakers created the Blade Runner Unit because of a Nexus-6 revolt. Thereafter, Nexus-6s became banned on Earth. As a result, any Nexus-6 living on Earth is an illegal alien. Deckard’s job is hunting down these illegal Nexus-6s.
The Far Future of Los Angeles in 2019
The Los Angeles of the future is tough to live in. As a result of global warming, most humans no longer live on Earth, fleeing instead to live on other planets. Those who couldn’t afford to flee moved to packed-in cities. They live in slums. In fact, most species on earth are extinct as a result of global warming.
The wealthy, though? They live far away.
These wealthy colonies require labor, and because of this, they need Nexus-6 workers. The Tyrell Corporation created Nexus-6’s for labor and profit off of this slave labor.
Because of the previously mentioned uprising against human masters, the Tyrell Corporation revised their models. Thereafter, they started selling Nexus-6 models that live for only four years. Plus, in order to replace these extinct species the Tyrell Corporation also creates machine animals.
In conclusion, while technology is getting better, society is getting worse. The Blade Runner comics timeline includes all of these elements and further expands upon the timeline and world. It shows us how technology and society change many years later.
Blade Runner Comics Timeline: 2009Blade Runner Origins is the earliest entry in the Blade Runner comics timeline. It takes place in 2009.
This comic shows how LAPD detective Cal Moreaux became the first blade runner. Basically, this is an origin story for the Blade Runner Unit.
Before the Nexus-6, in 2009 the latest model is the Nexus-4. Unlike previous models, they possess greater than human strength. One example of their strength is when two Nexus-4 models rescue soldiers from a war zone by killing all enemies.
In the comic, the Tyrell Corporation is testing the more advanced Nexus-5 model. Nexus-4 models lack intelligence compared to Nexus-5 models. A Nexus-5 becomes a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation because of this greater intelligence. The LAPD assigns Cal Moreaux to the investigation because of these strange circumstances.
The comic also depicts a world before Nexus-4s became banned. The wealthy use them for many tasks, for example, firing paid human workers in favor of unpaid Nexus-4s. Therefore, human workers begin hating Nexus-4s. Events like these will later lead to the banning of Nexus-4s on Earth, and the creation of blade runners.
In addition to this, the comic brings up the idea of “transference.” Transference copies a person’s memories into a Nexus-5 and as a result, leaves your body in a coma. This contrasts with Rachel, a Nexus-6 in the original movie who carries fake memories of Eldon Tyrell’s niece.
In conclusion, Origins tells of a world before 2009, adding new lore separate from the movies.
Blade Runner Comics Timeline: 2019After Origins, the next entry is Blade Runner 2019. It takes place in the same year as the first movie but follows the original character Aahna “Ash” Ashina. The story begins when the rich Alexander Selwyn hires blade runner Ash to find his missing wife and daughter.
Ash is an example of a disabled person living in the world of Blade Runner. She requires a machine spinal brace to walk, because of a genetic disease. She is also, technically a cyborg making her similar to the Nexus-6s she hunts.
Her employer Selwyn is testing new fake animals. These new fakes age and grow, unlike previous fakes. His daughter is in danger because she owns a gene that can extend the lives of Nexus-6s.
In addition to fake animals, the comic shows new Nexus-6s. For example, Selwyn’s current wife Isobel is a Nexus-6 copy of his dead wife. Therefore she remembers everything the original does.
Another example is Hythe, a Blade Runner who is a Nexus-6 that believes it is human. Compare this to the original movie where “Deckard is a Replicant” is just a fan theory. Not only is Hythe a Nexus-6, but multiple copies of her also exist. These Hythes do not know they are Nexus-6s, therefore each thinks of themselves as the real one.
Also, the comic brings the audience to new locations. As a result of her investigation, Ash travels to space worlds unseen in the movies. Another place on her journey is the mines where Nexus-6s labor in.
Ash’s story does not finish here, rather comic book sequels continue following Ash throughout her life. She is, in short, the central character of the Blade Runner comics timeline.
Blade Runner Comics Timeline: 2029The third entry in the Blade Runner comics timeline is Blade Runner 2029. This next comic continues following Ash in her life as a Blade Runner in Los Angeles.
A lot happened during the past ten years, to put it mildly.
For example, in 2020 the Tyrell Corporation released the Nexus-8s. The newer models possess longer lives compared to the Nexus-6. They also possess serial numbers in their eyes showing them as Nexus-8s.
Another important event is the 2022 Blackout, which wiped out all electricity in Los Angeles for ten days. This is shown in the animated film Blade Runner Black Out 2022. The government suspected Nexus-8s of causing this and therefore banned the production of Nexus-8 models. Afterward, Tyrell Corporation went bankrupt and put the world’s economy in crisis.
In 2029 Nexus-6 models no longer exist because of their short lives. All except Yotun, a Nexus-6 who drinks Nexus-8 blood because he believes it will prolong his life. Several Nexus-8 units join him in a revolt due to his radical ideas. Unlike other Nexus-6s, Yotun believes he is better than humans.
Replicants are here to protect you. Not as servants to be bought and sold, but as benevolent gods.”
Yotun’s group believes Nexus-8s should rule over humans rather than submit to them. He also brings up the possibility of Nexus-8s cheating death. Therefore, living forever in their clone bodies.
Similarly, in Bladerunner 2019 Tyrell shows interest in Elwyn’s daughter because of a gene she owns that could extend their lives. Replicants may eventually live far longer lives than their human creator because of this.
However, Yotun and his group fail at making their lives longer by the end of the comic. In conclusion, the story does not side with Yotun on his ideas. Instead, Nexus-9s are just as mortal as their creators.
Blade Runner Comics Timeline: 2032Next in the Blade Runner comics timeline is Blade Runner Black Lotus. Black Lotus is an animated series with a follow-up comic, Blade Runner Black Lotus: Leaving LA.
The Wallace Corporation buys out the Tyrell Corporation due to them going bankrupt. Thereafter, The Wallace Corporation continues producing Nexus-8s in spite of the ban. Wealthy people still use Nexus-8s because they believe they cannot harm humans anymore.
However, the main character, Elle, is still capable of fighting back against humans. Beginning with no memories of her past, she learns she is a Nexus-8. After she quests for the truth of her existence. During this quest, she finds horrors such as rich people hunting Nexus-8s.
Following this, we meet her creator Niander Wallace Jr. Wallace. He designed Elle for the purpose of killing his father. While his father is currently CEO, Wallace will inherit the position after his death. He is the CEO in the movie Blade Runner 2049 because of the events here.
The comic follows Elle leaving Los Angeles while leaving her life as a killer behind. Therefore she travels to Fracktown a community living off the land. While the movies take place in the city, they show little of the outside world.
This may be a short series, but the ending teases future comics that will tell the next stop in Elle’s journey.
Blade Runner Comics Timeline: 2039The currently running comic Blade Runner 2039 is the latest entry in the Blade Runner comics timeline. This is the last entry with Ash as the main character. Ash delves into the future world of Los Angeles once again.
In 2036 new Nexus-9s are legal because of the Wallace Corporation. This is because Niander Wallace ordered Nexus-9 to ta kill itself in front of world leaders showing they always obey. Afterwards, world leaders made their production legal.
As a result, the LAPD began using Nexus-9s as Blade Runners. For example, Luv a character in Blade Runner 2049 is the first Nexus-9 working with the LAPD. Other LAPD officers do not trust her despite her high number of Nexus-8 kills. Therefore, Luv is an experiment to see if Nexus-9s can join the force.
Ash, herself left both her career as a Blade Runner and the city behind. Afterward, she began helping Nexus-8s flee the city of LA. If Luv is an “experiment” to test the idea of Nexus-9 blade runners, then Ash desires for her to fail.
While the comic is not over yet, Luv will most likely succeed. As a result of Luv joining the force, in Blade Runner 2049 the LAPD employs Nexus-9 Blade Runners.
The comic so far further tells us Niander Wallace’s goals. Both Black Lotus and Blade Runner 2039 suggest that Wallace considers himself a “prophet.” He shows care for his creation Luv and creates Nexus-9s for more reasons than just profit.
In conclusion, the comics use ideas and characters from the movies and expand on them. In addition, they create their own characters such as Ash who we follow through three decades of her life. Therefore understanding the Blade Runner comics timeline will help fans understand the movies as well.
The Blade Runner comics timeline extends from 2009 to 2039. It shows the history of the world that the movies made fans everywhere love.
Beginning with Origins which tells us the story of the first Blade Runner. Next, 2019, 2029, and 2039 then follow the story of one character as she witnesses the changing world around her. In addition, Black Lotus Elle’s journey sets up characters and worldbuilding details important in 2049.
Hopefully, in the future, Titans Comics will bring even more entries into the Blade Runner comics timeline.