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Blade Runner: Black Lotus - What We Know So Far

An exciting update about the next installment in the long-running "Blade Runner" franchise has been announced. Back in 2018, Deadline reported to the world that a new chapter in the "Blade Runner" franchise was greenlit. That new chapter in question was a 13-episode anime series titled "Blade Runner: Black Lotus," which would air an English-language version on Adult Swim's anime-focused block of programming called Toonami, while a Japanese-language version with subtitles would air on Crunchyroll. The anime was announced more than a year after the Denis Villeneuve-directed "Blade Runner: 2049" starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford had been released. "Blade Runner: 2049" was a highly anticipated sequel to "Blade Runner," a genre-defining sci-fi thriller starring Ford as he neared the peak of his prominence in the early '80s. 

1982's "Blade Runner" took audiences into the future — 2019 Los Angeles, California, to be precise — and introduced us to Rick Deckard (Ford), a former police officer who works as a "blade runner," a person tasked with hunting down bioengineered humanoids known as replicants and retiring them (to put it mildly). "Blade Runner: 2049" transported audiences 30 years into the future, where a blade runner known as K (Gosling) learns about a replicant with ties to Deckard who carries a secret so shocking, it threatens to rewrite the decades-long antagonistic relationship between replicants and humans. To help answer the question of how "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" will fit into the narrative begun in "Blade Runner" and continued in "Blade Runner: 2049," here's what we know so far about the show.

What is the release date of Blade Runner: Black Lotus?

An official release date for "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" has yet to be announced, but we have some clues that could help us narrow down the window. For starters, the anime show's IMDb page lists 2021 as the release date. This could certainly be the case, especially now that we're learning more details about the project. If "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" did arrive in 2021, it's highly likely the show would premiere in late 2021. However, release dates listed on IMDb aren't always set in stone, so we can't consider that an official confirmation. 

It's also unclear if the show will premiere simultaneously on Adult Swim's Toonami programming block and Crunchyroll at the same time, or if a unique release strategy will be crafted for this big TV event. The best guess we can make, without an official confirmation in hand, is that "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" will premiere somewhere between late 2021 and mid-2022.

Who is in the Blade Runner: Black Lotus voice cast?

If we had to assign one word to describe the voice cast of "Blade Runner: Black Lotus," that word would be in-freaking-credible. If you don't believe us, here's the official breakdown of both the English-language and Japanese-language cast that has been lined up for the new Adult Swim/Crunchyroll show (via Deadline). Plus, we can reveal which characters each actor will be voicing. We'll start with Jessica Henwick ("Iron Fist")/Arisa Shida as the voice of Elle, a female replicant created for a secret and unknown purpose. There's also Will Yun Lee ("Altered Carbon")/Shinshu Fuji playing Joseph, a mysterious figure who owns a spare parts junkyard in Los Angeles, and Samira Wiley ("Ready or Not")/Takako Honda as Alani Davis, a fresh LAPD recruit.

Many more cast members join them. Brian Cox ("Succession")/Takaya Hashi will voice Niander Wallace Sr., founder and CEO of the Wallace Corporation. Wes Bentley ("Yellowstone")/Takehito Koyasu is Niander Wallace Jr., a brilliant scientist working for his father. Josh Duhamel ("Jupiter's Legacy")/Taiten Kusunoki portrays Marlowe, a deadly Blade Runner; Peyton List ("Star Trek: Picard")/Yoshiko Sakakibara plays Josephine Grant, the wife of the police chief, and Stephen Root ("Barry")/Hochu Otsuka voices Earl Grant, Police Chief of the LAPD.

Rounding out the list is Barkhad Abdi ("Blade Runner: 2049")/Takayuki Kinba as Doc Badger, a black market dealer, Gregg Henry ("Guardians of the Galaxy")/Masane Tsukayama as Senator Bannister, a politician with strong feelings on replicant production, and Henry Czerny ("Mission: Impossible")/Akio Nojima as Doctor M, a brilliant doctor and professor of medicine. Finally, we have Jason Spisak ("The Powerpuff Girls")/Kazuki Yao in the role of Hooper, a journalist in the pocket of the Wallace Corporation.

What is the plot of Blade Runner: Black Lotus?

Plot details for "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" are still largely unknown. What little we do know is thanks to Deadline's 2018 announcement. At that time, the industry outlet confirmed the anime would be set in the year 2032, 13 years after the events of "Blade Runner" and 17 years before "Blade Runner: 2049." Based on the character descriptions listed above, it also seems like part of the series (if not all of it) will once again be set in the grim, futuristic vision of Los Angeles, California, as was the case with both the 1982 and 2017 feature films. 

Beyond these details, however, we have no idea what "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" has in store for us yet. There is a chance curious fans will learn more about the plot very soon, thanks to a recently announced "Blade Runner: Black Lotus" panel at the 2021 Comic-Con@Home event. Per io9, the panel will premiere on Friday, July 23 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.