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Anime prequel for Blade Runner 2049 will be exclusive to Crunchyroll (update)

But you don’t need to pay for it

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Blade Runner 2049’s third and final prequel short film, an anime from Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirô Watanabe, will be exclusive to Crunchyroll for the first 24 hours. The anime will exist as part of Crunchyroll’s free service, meaning you won’t need a subscription to watch.

This is a departure from the first two Blade Runner 2049 short films, which focused on Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace and Dave Bautista’s Sapper, and were uploaded to YouTube. The third short, Blade Runner: Black Out 2022,” is set just a few years after the events of the first Blade Runner movie and 27 years before the sequel. 2022 marks the year that an “EMP detonation caused a global blackout that has massive, destructive implications all over the world.”

Director Dennis Villeneuve has said that he worked with directors on the prequels as a way to help bridge the gap between the first movie and the sequel. One of those directors, Luke Scott, told Polygon that it’s a way to help directors evolve the original scripts into better narratives.

“It’s sort of cheating,” Scott said. “It fills in the gaps where the narrator doesn’t have to worry about the genesis of the narrative. You could rely possibly on these short films and other assets that roll a few weeks before the main event to do that part of the storytelling for the director.”

Warner Bros. teased a look at the third prequel short last week, which included concept art and a brief glimpse at how it all came together. “Blade Runner: Black Out 2022” will be released on Sept. 29 at 7:49 a.m. ET.

Blade Runner 2049 will be released on Oct. 6.

Update: The new Blade Runner 2049 short, “Blade Runner: Black Out 2022” is available to watch on Crunchyroll. We will update this story again once it goes live on YouTube.

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