The events of last year's Blade Runner 2049 hinted at more stories to come in the series' universe, and sure enough, a follow-up project has been announced. But Blade Runner: Black Lotus isn't a vehicle for the continued tales of Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.
Instead, it will take viewers back in time—and back to anime.
Black Lotus, announced on Thursday, will launch as a 13-episode prequel anime series as a first-of-its-kind partnership between two Western anime-distribution titans: Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. No release date has been announced, but work begins with some pretty nimble hands on the deck. Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama will direct all episodes, having done that kind of work with seminal mid-'00s series Appleseed and Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex, respectively.
Additionally, Shinichiro Watanabe will oversee the project as creative producer, and that name will likely stand out for three reasons. First, he's known for directorial work on the series Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo; second, he is apparently also overseeing the live-action Cowboy Bebop series announced merely one day earlier by Netflix.
Watanabe is no stranger to Blade Runner-related anime productions, either. The run-up to last year's 2049 included a "prologue" anime short, Black Out 2022, which connected the timelines of the original film and the 2017 follow-up. This, directed by Watanabe and drawn in part by Aramaki, was exactly the kind of tone-perfect glimpse at the series that whet our appetites for the eventual film. The short makes us excited to see what returning crew members can do with more episodes and another back-in-time dive into the series universe. All we know for now is that this prequel series will take place in the year 2032 and will "include familiar characters from the Blade Runner universe."
That 14-minute short is embedded below, and if you missed it last go-round, carve out a few minutes today to breathe its dark weirdness in. It will have to tide you over until Crunchyroll and Adult Swim eventually reveal art or videos of Black Lotus.