The Blade Runner anime has an amazing cast, and sounds true to the movie

A woman looks up at an airship in a futuristic city in Blade Runner 2049.
(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Crunchyroll has unveiled a star-studded cast for Blade Runner: Black Lotus, a CG anime series based on the movies and set in 2032 – 17 years before the events of Blade Runner 2049. The show will feature Succession's Brian Cox, Josh Duhamel and The Handmaid's Tale's Samira Wiley, among others.

Not a lot has been said about the story of the show, which takes place after the Blade Runner Black Out 2022 short movie that was released to tie in with Blade Runner 2049, but the cast details give a fair amount away. The show sounds like it features a similar mix of noir and sci-fi, with shady journalists, black market dealers, cops and replicants. It'll comprise 13 episodes in total – so it's a massive undertaking. 

The series has no release date yet, but it was unveiled last year, so hopefully it won't be too long a wait. A first look at the series – which presumably means a trailer – will be released at the Comic Con@Home 2021. 

The show's lead is Elle, a female replicant built for a secret reason that she's unaware of – she's played by Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist) for English-language audiences. Brian Cox plays Niander Wallace Sr, CEO of the Wallace Corporation, which is the main manufacturer of replicants in the era of Blade Runner 2049. That's the father of Jared Leto's character in the movie – who here is voiced by Wes Bentley. So it sounds like a fairly major part of the series' canon

Samira Wiley plays an LAPD officer called Alan Davis, while Josh Duhamel plays a particularly dangerous replicant called Marlowe.

Adult Swim will air the show in the US via its Toonami block, while Crunchyroll will stream it globally. 

Is more Blade Runner a good thing?

Blade Runner: Black Lotus has all the ingredients for a good story set in the universe on paper – hopefully it looks as nice in motion as it does in the screenshot above. 

While the 1982 Blade Runner movie is arguably sacred ground, there are actually a few additional stories set in that same universe before you even get to Black Lotus. Back in 1997, an acclaimed game based on the movie was released on PC, and featured a concurrently-running storyline with returning actors Sean Young, William Sanderson, James Hong, Joe Turkel and Brion James.

Then, of course, Denis Villeneuve made Blade Runner 2049 in 2017 – which disappointed at the box office, but was critically acclaimed for how it reprised themes from the world. Short film Blade Runner 2022: Black Out is another. 

Two other short movies tied in to 2049, directed by Ridley Scott's son Luke – 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere To Run. 

Sure, it's nothing compared to the bloated morass of Star Wars projects, but it clearly shows they're keen to build on the universe glimpsed in the movies. 

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.