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'Blade Runner 2' release date set as the present catches up to the future

The original classic with Harrison Ford was set in 2019, and the sequel will open in a 2018 still lacking widespread flying cars or bitter Replicants.

The future is set to collide with the present and Rick Deckard will be there.
Warner Bros.

Now that Han Solo has fallen on hard times (oops, was that a spoiler?), Harrison Ford's schedule has been freed up to reprise his other iconic role as Rick Deckard in the long-awaited sequel to "Blade Runner." Deadline reports that "Blade Runner 2" is scheduled for a theatrical release on January 12, 2018.

Around the same time he was showing us what the past looked like "in a galaxy far, far away" a young Ford also gave us a glimpse of the future here on Earth in the classic 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

The original "Blade Runner" depicts the world of 2019, filled with the requisite flying cars and bio-engineered Androids called "Replicants" that may have just returned from exile in search of revenge on their creators.

The sequel will pick up where the first film left off, meaning filmgoers will be watching a depiction of life in 2019 from a 2018 that's likely to look quite different than what director Denis Villeneuve imagined more than three decades ago.

Some of the touchscreen and voice-activated computer interfaces we have today are actually better than the unwieldy system Deckard had to use for his investigations in the original film, but we're still lacking flying cars and off-planet colonies. While the film successfully predicted the coming of the Nexus 6 in the 2010's, the real thing turns out to be a large and unwieldy Android phone rather than a handsome and aggressive humanoid Android played by the likes of Rutger Hauer.

So "Blade Runner 2" may require us to suspend our disbelief more in 2018 than the original did in 1982, but I don't think that will be a problem. There's plenty of reason to come back for more "Blade Runner," even after 35 years, because Villeneuve has promised to finally address one of the central mysteries of the original -- whether or not Deckard himself is a Nexus 6.

That's right folks, Harrison Ford may have been playing a phablet this whole time. Stay tuned.