Blade Runner: Black Lotus Reveals Its Place on the Timeline

Over the past few years, the universe of the highly influential 1982 film Blade Runner, based on Phillip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, has grown. The futuristic world has been explored with the sequel Blade Runner 2049 and a few short film tie-ins. Now Crunchyroll and Adult Swim will be producing the first anime series set in the universe with Blade Runner: Black Lotus

A common tradition of the different Blade Runner stories is to begin with a title card stating the city and year it takes place in. In the trailer for Black Lotus, the franchise's usual location in Los Angeles is given out followed by the year 2032. Just by that title card alone, the show reveals it takes place 13 years after the original film and 17 years before the sequel.

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But perhaps most importantly of all, Black Lotus takes place a decade after Blade Runner: Black Out 2022, an anime short film directed by Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop fame. The short was released shortly before 2049 to reveal what's occurred in the 30 years between the two films. Its story follows two Nexus-8 replicants (enhanced replicants who can live as long as humans) named Iggy and Trixie who destroy the Tyrell Corporation's database of registered replicants. Meanwhile, their human friend Ren Dus, a technician at the Tyrell Corporation, detonates a test missile over Los Angeles which causes the city-wide blackout.

Los Angeles descends into darkness and chaos after the blackout, resulting in replicant production being prohibited and the end of the Tyrell Corporation. It also reveals that it took over a decade for Wallace Corp., led by Niander Wallace, to be allowed to create his new breed of replicants. This event is chronicled in another short film released as a promotional tie-in to 2049 called 2036: Nexus Dawn

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The trailer for Black Lotus confirms that the series will take place in the year 2032, a decade after the blackout but four years before Wallace's replicant production is legalized. The preview shows the series' main character, a female replicant, chased by the authorities. She doesn't know who created her or why, but it was likely during the period in the past ten years when replicant production was illegal.

It is certainly possible that Wallace created her as a prototype replicant, four years before presenting his perfected version to the world. An unknown voice familiar to Wallace's is heard in the background during the trailer saying "don't forget me."

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It's also possible that the replicant Iggy from Black Out 2022 could appear in the series, since he's the only character from the short to officially survive the blackout. The character would be a helpful ally to the protagonist in her quest to figure out where she came from. He could also be a part of the mysterious entity that created her and not Wallace after all, since he would want more rebellious replicants like Iggy made to fight humans.

While the short films provide clues for what could happen in Black Lotus, the mystery of the setting should spark curiosity for fans of the franchise. There is not a lot of content about what occurred between 2019 and 2049, and the creators of Black Lotus have plenty of room to tell a compelling story.

KEEP READING: Blade Runner: Black Lotus Reveals Key Art, Opening Clip

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Michael McCarrick (244 Articles Published)

Writer for CBR.com since January, 2020. You can find him on Twitter @mike_mccarrick Super fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra and BoJack Horseman. Spends October scaring people at the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride. Also loves Studio Ghibli, Wrestling, Shakespeare, Video Games, some Broadway and '80s Thrash Metal.

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