Shinichirō Watanabe’s Blade Runner short hit the internet this week. The short follows two replicants hellbent on causing a city-wide blackout
Blade Runner’s Mythology Expands
The original Blade Runner is a beloved classic that revolutionized science fiction film making forever. And that was it. The film feels complete on its own. Yes, the end is ambiguous, but Deckard’s arc has a clear destination. But, the world of Blade Runner is rich. The grimy cyber-punk setting captures the imagination. Naturally, any director would jump at the chance to revisit Los Angeles at its most futuristic.
However, the sequel potential for Blade Runner‘s character isn’t inherent. So, Denis Villeneuve set the sequel 30 years in the future and relegated Deckard to a second fiddle role. It’s a smart decision, but bridging the gap between the first and second films is vital to the sequel’s success. Somehow, Villeneuve determined the film’s 163-minute runtime wasn’t enough to connect the two film. So, he looked for a little help from his friends.
Villeneuve enlisted the help of Luke Scott and Shinichirō Watanabe to flesh out the 30 years between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. Luke Scott’s first two shorts flesh out the back stories of Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), and Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista). Wallace is an evil businessman who wants to produce new Replicants. Morton is a replicant on the run. The short films don’t follow a strict continuity. However, they both reference an event known as “The Black Out.” The Black Out caused a ban on new Replicants, and a genocide on existing “Skinjobs.” Important as the event is, we never get the full details of the event. Until now.
3, 2, 1, Let’s Jam
The third Blade Runner short film is a horse of an entirely different color. Villeneuve enlisted the help of Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirō Watanabe. Obviously, Watanabe’s short is animated, and nearly runs the full length of a Bebop episode. The short takes place three years after the first Blade Runner and depicts two Replicants exacting their revenge on human kind following the death of Roy Batty. Holy moly this thing is gorgeous. The first two shorts featured cool character back stories and decent performances, but they looked cheap. Watanabe’s short moves at a breakneck pace and uses every element of its visual and auditory medium. The end result leaves the audience wanting more and serves as the perfect lead-in to the new film.
Blade Runner Black Out 2022 is only available on Crunchyroll. But, the good news is, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial and watch the short in its entirety! Meanwhile, check out the trailer below!