“K, being a Blade Runner, the only time he has been touched, it’s with violence,” explains Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, gesturing with an energy not matched by his soft Quebecois drawl. “He’s never had real affection, he cannot be in contact with real human beings because they don’t like Replicants. And other Replicants don’t like Blade Runners because they are killing their own kind.
“So he’s alone – the only being he can have a relationship with is Joi, and he can’t have contact with her, physical contact, so it’s a very limited relationship. In fact, it’s a strange, profound relationship, but it’s not complete.”
Around halfway through the movie, Villeneuve and his screenwriters, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, find a way for K (Ryan Gosling) to complete it.