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Cowboy Bebop director working on a short anime prequel to Blade Runner 2049

Watch a brief tease below

One of anime’s most prolific directors will contribute his own short film to the Blade Runner universe, adding to Warner Bros.’ ongoing mission to bridge the events that occurred in the 30 year gap between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner: Black Out 2022,” directed by Shinichirô Watanabe, best known for the 1998 Cowboy Bebop anime series and his contributions to The Animatrix, takes place three years after Blade Runner. In the above clip, Watanabe can be seen working on concept art for the film, which can be seen below.

2022 may seem like an inconsequential year, but according to Warner Bros.’ official timeline of the events that occurred between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, in 2022 “an EMP detonation caused a global blackout that has massive, destructive implications all over the world.”

Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 concept art Sony Pictures Japan
Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 concept art Sony Pictures Japan

It’s difficult to determine whether Watanabe’s short film will focus on the events leading up to the black out, the actual EMP detonation or the after effect of the explosion. Based on Warner Bros.’ timeline, we know that a year after the black out, replicants were officially prohibited. By 2025, Wallace Corp., a new company led by Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), discovered a way to end world hunger and breath new life into the dark city.

Warner Bros. has released a couple of other short films to help explain the 30-year gap between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. One focused on Wallace’s character and the other, released yesterday, introduced Dave Bautista’s Sapper. Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 will be available to watch on Sept. 26.

Blade Runner 2049 will be released on Oct. 6.

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