Sounds like an interesting project!
I haven’t watched your edit, but I think Blade Runner 2049 is perfect as-is. I don’t think it’s too long (and I’m a proponent of 90 minute films). I think K’s relationship with Joi is important. Spoilers:
Joi insists that K is special in regards to finding the matching dates on the tree and the horse. It reinforces his false discovery that he was born, not created. Which strengthens his disappointment when he realizes that he is not the offspring of Rachel.
It’s also interesting to see how Joi is treated by others. Humans don’t like replicants and treat them poorly (i.e. K’s fellow officer calling him a skin-job at the police station). And then replicants treating AIs like Joi poorly (Mackenzie Davis’ character disparaging Joi, Luv destroying Joi).
I think removing Joi also weakens K’s character development. He has more interaction with Joi than any other character. And his interaction with the billboard at the end of the film is part of a catalyst for him running off to find/“kill” Deckard. Joi seemed almost human (calling him Joe instead of a serial number, telling him that she loved him despite K telling her she didn’t have to say those things). Then after her demise he interacts with the billboard that calls him Joe. So did the AI have actual feeling for him? Or was it just her programming? Does K have actual feelings? Or is he just a product like Joi?