Adult Swim began their Comic-Con@Home panel for Blade Runner: Black Lotus in the most Adult Swim way ever: white text on a black background that gave a fall release window for the upcoming series. If that weren’t enough, they also brought with them the first official trailer.
With rain-soaked neon streets and hectic chases on foot and in vehicles, it sure does look like a Blade Runner series. But it's the differences that are more stark. Directed by Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama, who previously worked on Ghost in the Shell, the series features a new protagonist, a replicant named Elle (voiced by Jessica Henwick in the English dub and Arisa Shida for Japanese), who will have a big role in how the world changes in time for Blade Runner 2049. Assuming she survives being hunted down, of course.
"I was blown away by what they did because it doesn’t feel animated," Josh Duhamel, who voices a Blade Runner named Marlowe (most likely a nod to Raymond Chandler's noir hero, Philip Marlowe), told SYFY WIRE Friday. "It almost feels like live-action, but it’s not. It’s a weird sort of hybrid of the two ... It’s sort of a mix between animation and mo-cap. It is really dope what they did there."
Check out the trailer below:
During the panel, Toonami co-creator Jason DeMarco said that the journey to create Black Lotus has been a long one –– about five years long, from initial conversations to actual creation. But in a way, that’s not entirely true: executive producer Jason Chou wanted to develop an anime for the cult classic sci-fi film after he finished work on The Animatrix, an anthology film set in the universe of the Wachowskis' cyberpunk movie. To him, Blade Runner felt like a great follow up, largely because of the circular cyberpunk nature that it had with larger pop culture, including Ghost in the Shell.
“Always, the answer was Blade Runner,” Chou recalled. “Why not go back to the source?”
Check out the Blade Runner: Black Lotus panel below:
Eventually, Chou got his shot to create the animated short Black Out 2022, directed by Shinchiro Watanabe, best known for Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. From there, the pieces fell in place to bring on Aramaki and Kamiyama, who were more than excited to work on a film they loved as children.
Aramaki revealed in the panel that his career was in reverence of the film. “He wanted to try and realize what he saw and the impact it had on him,” he said, via Chou’s translation. Now that he’s in the director’s chair, Aramaki admitted to being a little intimidated. “There’s so many things that you could do with it... it’s almost like a kid in a candy store.”
Check out the first official poster below:
Set in 2033, Black Lotus intends to follow up on the anti-capitalist themes of the original movie, while also having a different focus. To Kamiyama, the series will keep the anti-capitalist themes of the original movie. “It’s somewhat reflected of what might be going on right now,” he said. “But we wanted to focus on the struggle of the individual against the world. How do you find your own identity in a world like this?”
The answer to that question will be held for when the show releases this fall on both Adult Swim in Crunchyroll.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2021.
Additional reporting by Josh Weiss