A live-action, limited-run TV series based within the "Blade Runner" universe has been given the go ahead on Amazon Prime.
Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott, who directed the original "Blade Runner" film, will act as an executive producer on the new show. Based on the series title, the series will be set 50 years after the last installment, the epic movie sequel "Blade Runner 2049" brought to the big screen by Denis Villeneuve in October 2017.
You may remember that the first news of this surfaced back in February, but now the project has officially moved into pre-production.
- Want to try Amazon Prime? Sign up for a free 30-day trial here. (opens in new tab)
- Subscribe to Amazon Prime for $12.99 a month (opens in new tab)
Silka Luisa wrote the script and will act as showrunner. Luisa wrote "Shining Girls," currently on Apple TV+ and she was supervising producer on the underrated "Halo" for Paramount Plus. "Blade Runner" has a fervent fan base and if you recall, from the moment (opens in new tab) Harrison Ford was confirmed for the sequel in early 2015, devotees of the 1982 movie were quite understandably concerned. Just about every sci-fi aficionado and their dog were worried that it wouldn't be worthy of the first film and would ultimately end up resembling "Demolition Man" rather than the cerebral cinematic sensation that was the original.
And then look what happened: The sequel turned out to be at least as good as the first movie. So, while Luisa might not be as well-known as others, thankfully, we've all had doubts proven wrong in the past. Moreover, look at the investment Amazon is making in "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" — a mind-boggling, wallet-crippling $456 million on just one, eight-episode season. That works out at around $57 million per episode. That's approximately six times the budget of "Star Trek: Discovery."
So, the potential is nothing short of dizzying.
It will be particularly interesting to see how the world looks in 2099, according to the "Blade Runner" universe. We've already seen a significant difference between Los Angeles 2019 and 2049, with a considerably more dystopian and climate-ravaged world appearing in the latter.
Michael Green, who co-wrote the "Blade Runner 2049" screenplay, is also currently associated with this project in a non-writing executive producer role.
According to Warner Brothers, the series of events (opens in new tab) within the "Blade Runner" universe between the two movies unfolds as follows:
2019 — After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an off-world colony, Replicants are declared illegal on Earth, under penalty of death. A prototype Replicant, Rachael, and Officer Rick Deckard, a Blade runner, escape Los Angeles together.
2020 — After the death of founder Eldon Tyrell, the Tyrell Corporation rushes a new line of Nexus 8 Replicants onto the market for use off-world. Unlike previous Nexus models, built with 4-year lifespans, the Nexus 8s have open-ended lifespans, as well as ocular implants for easy identification.
2022 — The Blackout. An EMP of unknown origin detonates somewhere in the West Coast. Cities are shut down for weeks. Electronic data is corrupted or destroyed over most of the United States. Finance and trade markets crash worldwide. Food supplies become dire. Theories spread as to the cause of the blackout, but none are proven. The most popular blame Replicants.
2023 — Replicant Prohibition. The governing authorities legislate an indefinite "prohibition" on replicant production. Nexus 6 models are now all decommissioned due to their programmed 4-year lifespans. Surviving Nexus 8 models are to be retired. Those that can, go into hiding.
2025 — Idealistic scientist Niander Wallace pioneers advancements in genetically modified food and shares his patents for free, marking an end to a global crisis. His company, the Wallace Corporation, expands across the globe and into the off-world colonies.
2028 — Wallace acquires the remains of the bankrupt Tyrell Corporation.
2030s — Wallace improves upon Tyrells' genetic engineering and memory implantation methods to make replicants obedient and controllable.
2036 — Prohibition is repealed. Wallace reintroduces a new line of "perfected" Replicants, The Nexus 9.
Early 2040s — The LAPD commits additional resources to bolster its existing Blade Runner unit, tasked with locating illegal Replicants and retiring them.
2049 — When we return to Los Angeles, 30 years after the original movie, climate change has caused the sea level to rise dramatically. A massive sea wall has been built to protect the city from the Pacific Ocean and San Diego is little more than a municipal waste processing plant. Los Angeles is even more uninhabitable than before and filled with poverty and sickness. Humans, who were not well enough to leave for the off-world colonies are left behind. There is no fresh food, and inhabitants survive on Wallace's genetically modified food products sold from vending machines at street markets.
"The original 'Blade Runner' film, directed by Ridley Scott, is considered one of the greatest and most influential science-fiction movies of all time, and we’re excited to introduce 'Blade Runner 2099' to our global Prime Video customers," said Vernon Sanders, head of global television, Amazon Studios in a statement (opens in new tab).
"We are honored to be able to present this continuation of the 'Blade Runner' franchise, and are confident that by teaming up with Ridley, Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, and the remarkably talented Silka Luisa, 'Blade Runner 2099' will uphold the intellect, themes, and spirit of its film predecessors."
According to Deadline (opens in new tab), Alcon Entertainment co-founder and co-CEO Andrew Kosove has revealed that the company has two people on the show's crew dedicated entirely to keeping the franchise's timeline and continuity intact.
One assumes this automatically includes events in the animated series "Black Runner: Black Lotus," which was also produced by Alcon, together with Adult Swim and Crunchyroll, not to mention the comics and role-playing games.