Stunning anime 'Blade Runner 2049' prequel reveals major moment in dystopian future

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Thirty-five years after Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner redefined our collective vision of the future, Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is set to transport us three decades further into that dystopia. But you can’t fully comprehend the future without understanding the past. That’s why Villeneuve has filled in the timeline gap separating 2019 and 2049 with three short films, the latest of which premieres online today. Directed by famed anime director Shinichiro Watanabe — best known for gifting the world with Cowboy Bebop — Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 depicts a key event that will have major ramifications for the world of tomorrow that moviegoers glimpse when Blade Runner 2049 opens in theaters on Oct. 6. (Watch a trailer for Black Out 2022 above, and stream the whole short on Crunchyroll.)

Previous Blade Runner shorts (both directed by Luke Scott, aka Ridley’s son) have introduced viewers to Jared Leto’s replicant maker Niander Wallace in 2036 and Dave Bautista’s fugitive replicant, Sapper Morton, in 2048. Taking place three years after the original film (and five years ahead in our own future), Black Out follows a successful replicant plot to shut down the Los Angeles power grid, dimming all those giant video billboards and bringing the flying vehicles crashing to the ground. It’s a seismic moment in human-replicant relations that leads to the immediate prohibition of replicant production, as well as the fall of the Tyrell Corporation. You can bet that it’s a piece of history that will feel very present to the citizens of L.A. in 2049.

Watch Ryan Gosling photobomb Blade Runner buddy Harrison Ford:

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