Blade Runner is returning to our screens - well, the small ones at least - in a new anime series that’s expected to launch later this year, named Black Lotus.
Set in between the two live action Blade Runner movies, Black Lotus is expected to explore a new space in the Blade Runner canon, helped by a stellar cast and some pretty legendary anime creators rounded up by Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. We round up what you can look forward to in Blade Runner: Black Lotus.
When is the release date for Blade Runner: Black Lotus?
Blade Runner: Black Lotus is expected to debut "this fall" - or autumn if you prefer - so there's not long to wait.
Watch the Black Lotus trailer
At San Diego Comic-Con 2021 the first trailer for Black Lotus was dropped online, so watch it right here:
The same panel also saw this great poster drop for the show:
If that's not enough for you, Crunchyroll has also dropped the show's opening credits sequence, which you can watch in full below, featuring the same Alessia Cara song used in that first trailer:
What’s the plot of Blade Runner: Black Lotus?
Most of the actual story of Black Lotus remains a secret at the moment, but we have had some clues as to what might happen. In terms of how the show fits into the franchise’s timeline, we know the original Blade Runner was set in 2019, followed by Blade Runner 2049, which has the year in its title.
Between these was a short, animated film called Blade Runner: Blackout, set in 2022, which explored an attack by replicants on the Tyrell Corporation that built them, involving detonating a nuclear bomb far above Los Angeles so that the electro-magnetic pulse would disable the electricity grid and wipe Tyrell’s servers, destroying information about the replicants. The effect lasted for ten days and was called the Blackout.
This resulted [spoilers] in the fall of Tyrell, causing the end of replicant production and a global financial crash that enabled the Wallace Corporation (as featured in Blade Runner 2049) to buy Tyrell and start work on its own replicant technology.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus picks up the story ten years after the Blackout, in 2032, placing it right between the two movies and directly linked to the events of Blackout.
The main character in Black Lotus is a replicant called Elle who has been created for ‘a secret and unknown purpose’, who will no doubt be pursued by the ‘deadly Blade Runner’ Marlowe. It’s not much, we know, but hopefully more will be revealed very soon.
Who are the cast and crew of Blade Runner: Black Lotus?
The show is a joint project between anime service Crunchyroll and Adult Swim, the former of which released this list of characters and the actors that will play them. Note that two actors are listed in each case, with this being for the English-speaking and Japanese-speaking voice tracks.
- Elle: Jessica Henwick / Arisa Shida - A female replicant created for a secret and unknown purpose.
- Joseph: Will Yun Lee / Shinshu Fuji - A mysterious figure who owns a spare parts junkyard in Los Angeles.
- Alani Davis: Samira Wiley / Takako Honda - A fresh LAPD recruit.
- Niander Wallace Sr: Brian Cox / Takaya Hashi - Founder and CEO of the Wallace Corporation.
- Niander Wallace Jr: Wes Bentley / Takehito Koyasu - Brilliant scientist working for his father.
- Marlowe: Josh Duhamel / Taiten Kusunoki - a deadly Blade Runner.
- Josephine Grant: Peyton List / Yoshiko Sakakibara - The wife of the police chief.
- Earl Grant: Stephen Root / Hochu Otsuka - Police Chief of the LAPD.
- Doc Badger: Barkhad Abdi /Takayuki Kinba - A black market dealer.
- Senator Bannister: Gregg Henry / Masane Tsukayama - A politician with strong feelings on replicant production.
- Doctor M: Henry Czerny / Akio Nojima - A brilliant doctor and professor of medicine.
- Hooper: Jason Spisak / Kazuki Yao - A journalist in the pocket of the Wallace Corporation.
Directing duties will be handled by Shinji Aramaki (Ultraman, Appleseed Ex Machina) and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045, Akira), with Shin’ichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, The Animatrix, Blade Runner: Blackout) acting as the creative producer. As you can see, those are some heavyweight anime figures there, which promises to make Blade Runner: Black Lotus something to which you should be paying attention.
The show will run for 13 episodes, each thirty minutes long, giving us around six and half hours of new content in the Blade Runner universe.
Crunchyroll recently released an interview with the two directors, explaining their thoughts on Blade Runner and their addition to the canon. Here’s the interview:
Where can I watch Blade Runner: Black Lotus?
As this is a collaboration between Crunchyroll and Adult Swim, it makes sense that you’ll be able to watch the show on either platform. Crunchyroll requires a subscription but does offer a 14-day free trial. You can check out the various tiers on the Crunchyroll site.
Viewers in the US that want to access Adult Swim will need a cable subscription that they can link to the service. Adult Swim has many of its shows free in the UK, via All 4 or E4, such as the latest series of Rick and Morty. But if Blade Runner: Black Lotus doesn’t make that cut, then you can read our guide on how to watch Adult Swim in the UK, which will also apply for most territories outside North America.