‘Blade Runner’ Anime Series Set at Adult Swim, Crunchyroll
“Blade Runner” is coming to the small screen as an animated series.
Variety has learned that Alcon Television Group has partnered with Adult Swim and Crunchyroll to produce and distribute a new anime series inspired by “Blade Runner 2049.”
“Blade Runner-Black Lotus,” as it will be called, will consist of 13 half-hour episodes. Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, but it is known that the story will take place in 2032 and will include some established characters from the “Blade Runner” universe.
“I first saw ‘Blade Runner’ in 1982, at age 11,” said Jason DeMarco, SVP and creative director of Adult Swim on-air. “It has remained one of the defining films of my life. To be able to explore more of this universe, with the incredible talent we have on board, is a dream come true.”
The series will be produced by animation studio Sola Digital Arts. Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama will direct all episodes of the premiere season, which will follow their current directorial work on the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell” series reboot. Shinichiro Watanabe will serve as creative producer. Watanabe previously wrote and directed the anime short film “Blade Runner Black Out 2022,” which served as one of three anime short prequels to “Blade Runner 2049.” Aramaki also worked on “Black Out 2022” in the art department.
Alcon’s Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Laura Lancaster, Al-Francis Cuenca, and Sola Digital Art’s Joseph Chou will executive produce. Alcon’s Ben Roberts will serve as co-executive producer. Production IG’s Mitsuhisa Ishikawa is participating as production adviser.
“’Blade Runner’ is a seminal work, and its influence permeates the genre,” said Sae Whan Song, head of business development for Crunchyroll. “Adult Swim shares our excitement to bring this new series to fans, and we’re looking forward to building on this franchise together.”
Adult Swim will have the worldwide rights to distribute the English dubbed versions of the series excluding Asia, and will air the English dubbed episodes of the series on its anime programming block, Toonami. Crunchyroll will handle worldwide streaming for its community of more than 45 million registered users and 2 million subscribers. Adult Swim and Crunchyroll are both divisions of WarnerMedia.
“Blade Runner 2049” debuted in theater in Oct. 2017. Produced in part by Alcon Entertainment, the film starred Ryan Gosling and saw the return of Harrison Ford in the role of Rick Deckard, which he originated in the first “Blade Runner” film. It went on to gross over $250 million worldwide.
“The ‘Blade Runner’ universe is an incredibly deep well for story and character with its world and mythology that audiences have been debating and talking about since inception,” said Kosove and Johnson. “We are excited to continue exploring that world via this anime series.”