Third ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Short Prequel to Be Unveiled in Japan on Tuesday

Blade Runner 2049
Courtesy of Warner Bros

Ahead of the release of “Blade Runner 2049,” an official short-film prequel by Japanese director Shinichiro Watanabe (“Cowboy Bebop”) is to be unveiled Tuesday.

“Blade Runner Black Out 2022” is the last of three short prequels commissioned by Alcon Entertainment to help bridge the gap between the end of the original “Blade Runner,” whose events wrapped up in 2019, and the highly anticipated sequel set 30 years later. The first prequel, “2036: Nexus Dawn,” was released Aug. 30, and the second, “2048: Nowhere to Run,” dropped Sept. 15. Both were directed by Luke Scott, the son of original “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott.

Unlike the first two prequels, “Blade Runner Black Out 2022” is an animated short. It is scheduled to premiere Tuesday in Japan, following which it will be released worldwide.

Watanabe says in a trailer shown in Japan that “Blade Runner” was the biggest inspiration for him to work in the animation industry. Watanabe also says that he was eager to direct a prequel that gave maximum respect to “Blade Runner” but did not simply imitate it.

Shukou Murase, who worked with Watanabe in “Samurai Champloo,” served as a character designer on “Blade Runner Black Out 2022.” Japan’s Cygames Pictures handled animation production.

“Blade Runner 2049” will be released Oct. 6 in the U.S. It will bow in Japan on Oct. 27.