Blade Runner 2049 didn’t exactly set the world on fire when it hit theatres in October of 2017. The film made money (but underperformed domestically) and impressed critics but wasn’t recognized in the Academy Award’s most prestigious categories. Now the Blade Runner property is getting another shot at improving its legacy.
Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, and Alcon Entertainment have joined forces to create a new anime series based on Blade Runner 2049 titled Blade Runner: Black Lotus. The 13-episode half-hour series which will air on Adult Swim in the United States will expand on the Blade Runner universe. The show will take place between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, in the year 2032. And while everyone involved remains tight-lipped about the details, we do know that Black Lotus will include familiar characters from the Blade Runner universe.
Animation studio Sola Digital Arts will produce the series. Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Kenji Kamiyama (the Ghost in the Shell series reboot) are set to direct all 13-episodes of the first season. Blade Runner Black Out 2022 director Shinichiro Watanabe will act as creative director.
Adult Swim has the worldwide rights (excluding Asia) to distribute the English-dubbed version and will run these English-dubbed episodes on its Toonami programming block. Crunchyroll is set to handle worldwide streaming rights.
The Blade Runner universe is one of the most iconic settings in cinema’s history. What Blade Runner means to cinema transcends the movie’s story and characters. Right from the onset, Blade Runner’s universe felt so much larger than the concerns of the film’s protagonist, Rick Deckard. Ridley Scott’s 1982 neo-noir stands apart from most other films for its dystopic vision the future and incredible sense of place. The action takes place on rain-soaked streets, as neon lights cut through the smog-filled LA skyline like lightsabers. Most works of sci-fi released after 1982 credit Scott’s film as a major influence. It’s not often we see a cinematic world that feels so lived in, rich with history, and bristling with storytelling potential. Perhaps that’s why Scott keeps releasing alternate cuts.
Much like a couple other classics from the era, The Shining (1980) and The Thing (1982), Blade Runner (1982) bombed at the time of release but would later be regarded as a masterpiece. It’s strange that in the 37-years since, Hollywood has failed to tell Blade Runner stories that live up to original’s legacy. As it stands, I’m down for any film, TV series, or video game that lets me dive back into a world where androids dream of electric sheep.
There’s currently no air date for Blade Runner: Black Lotus.