Blade Runner 2049 is already looking to answer some of the biggest mysteries about the world of the iconic movie (although maybe not Blade Runner’s most enduring mystery). But a new rumor swirling around the sequel about one potential returning star opens a whole new can of worms for 2049 to tackle.
New York Daily News reports that, after some hardcore lobbying on her part, Sean Young—prototype replicant Rachael from the original Blade Runner—has filmed scenes in secret to be included in the new movie. At first, that’s a cool and wonderful touch for 2049 to honor the original film’s legacy. But at the same time... shouldn’t Rachael be dead by 2049?
In the first movie, set in the far-flung future of 2019, it was established that Replicants had a four-year lifespan, just as they did in the original Philip K. Dick short story. But, depending on which of the approximately seventeen billion cuts of Blade Runner you watch, there’s the implication that Rachael’s nature as an advanced prototype replicant (after all, she could fool the Voight-Kampff test well beyond its typical parameters) meant that the four-year lifespan that marked other replicants for an early death did not affect her. If Rachael is still indeed running around 20 years later to appear in the new film, then that at least throws a wrench into what is and isn’t canonical about the cuts of the first film going into the new movie.
But maybe the Rachael we could be seeing in 2049 is simply a new, updated model of the original, having perished at some point between the two films. Thanks to the teasers we’ve had of the timeline between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, we know that Replicants went through a period of prohibition, before Jared Leto’s creepy new villain, Niander Wallace, pitched a new line of Replicants who could both think and feel like humans that were totally loyal to his control. Could the 2049 Rachael be one of these new and improved replicants, designed as a throwback to the original experimental model?
We’ll have to wait and see—this is still a rumor after all, rather than confirmation of Young’s return. The answers will be revealed when Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters October 6.