In the trailers for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, Jared Leto's blind genius Niander Wallace paints a grim picture of the future. "Every leap of civilization," Wallace says. "Was built off the back of slaves. Replicants are the future."
After the events of the first movie, you'd think humanity would have learned not to mess with such problematic technology. A series of three short films that fill in the gap between the events of the original film and Blade Runner 2049 explain how people decided to revive replicants to save humanity and the Earth itself.
The first takes place in 2036 and centers on Wallace and his attempts to repeal the ban on the use of replicants. A decade after Deckard and Rachel fled persecution, an EMP hit the American West Coast and crippled the world economy. In the wake of the disaster, the government banned replicants. Years after that, Wallace gained fame and wealth by engineering new ways to feed the planet.