Skip to main content

The Replicant Debate






With Blade Runner 2049 fast approaching and Harrison Ford returning to yet another of his most famous roles, an old debate is once again being refueled. Is Rick Deckard a replicant?


If you look to those responsible for creating this definitive piece of sci-fi, you'll get different answers. In the original book by Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) Deckard is human. Ridley Scott is convinced he's a replicant, whereas Harrison Ford argues that Deckard is human. Hampton Fancher, the original screenwriter would prefer the answer remain ambiguous. 


In the original cut of Blade Runner it was unclear as to whether he was or wasn't, however the Director's Cut and Final Cut - thanks to Ridley - indicate that he is. The evidence is still ambiguous in places, but it's there:

  • There's no mention of Deckard's life between stints as a Blade Runner, except for his failed marriage.
  • Deckard's apartment is full of photos, something replicants like to collect.
  • He doesn't answer Rachael when she asks if he passed the Voight-Kampff test.
  • Deckard's eyes glow like a replicant.
  • He somehow endures beatings from three different replicants without any visible sign of impairment.
  • Roy Batty knows his name without being told.
  • Using a metal pole, he manages to wound a replicant who (without injury) has just opened a hole in a wall with his head.
  • He climbed a building rapidly with two broken fingers.
  • Gaff (Edward James Olmos) tells Deckard: "You've done a man's job, sir!" And after Roy Batty expires, he not only lets Rachael live he let's them both leave.
Click here to see the Quora page that helped with the above evidence.

Here's my problem with the whole debate; what use is a replicant Blade Runner who isn't aware of what he is? Why would you want your hunter to think he's human? Replicants are stronger, faster and in some cases smarter than humans, surely you'd want Deckard aware of what he can do so he can be more efficient at his job. RoboCop, the Terminators, Major from Ghost in the Shell, Bishop from Aliens, even Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, they are all aware of what they are and what they are capable of. And at the same time they are all learning to be more human. Whereas our veteran Blade Runner continually gets his arse kicked by almost every replicant he goes after. Leon (Brion James) would have killed Deckard if Rachael (Sean Young) hadn't shot him - using Deckard's gun. This all suggests to me that Deckard is human.



Now, with the sequel on the horizon there are new variables in the equation. There's 30 years between Blade Runner and 2049, but according to the first movie the lifespan of a Nexus 6 - the most advanced model - is 4 years. So if Deckard is a replicant, how is he still alive? Tyrell (Joe Turkel) told Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) that there was no way to extend the life of a replicant. Also why has Deckard aged like a human? Surely he would remain the same or gradually break down like the other replicants. Is this the part where you tell me that Deckard is a special prototype or somehow unique?



There's little doubt that it's Deckard that has something Neander Wallace (Jared Leto) wants: "I had the lock, and he has the key." But Wallace could easily be talking about Rachel, she was the special prototype. Now as far as we know Sean Young won't be appearing in 2049, in this day and age it would be very difficult to conceal her involvement, but not impossible. Could it be possible that the numbers K finds carved in wood are in fact the date of her death, marking the place where she's buried? Maybe it's her body that Wallace wants, or maybe there's something buried with her.




In a recent interview, Ridley Scott claimed that 2049 would finally answer the question. However, director Denis Villeneuve insists that it'll remain ambiguous. It's interesting to note what Ryan Gosling said in a recent interview with Empire Magazine: "The world has become even more brutal. People are trying to survive. (K) discovers a mystery that makes him question his own identity, and Deckard is the only one who can answer those questions." Does this mean all Blade Runners are replicants? Or by re-igniting this old debate, are they just trying to generate interest in the new movie?



There's no denying the evidence that supports the claim that Rick Deckard is a replicant, and that most of it was added to the movie by Scott years after the initial release. The question we should be asking is; does it make sense? I find it interesting that Ridley Scott seems to be the only one involved in Blade Runner that thinks Deckard is a replicant. Harrison Ford thinks he's human, as do the original screenwriter and the author of the source material. I find myself agreeing with them, it just makes more sense to me. As I said before what use is a replicant Blade Runner who isn't aware of what he is and what he is capable of? Now I may be proven wrong in the next few months when Blade Runner 2049 hits cinemas. But as it stands, I'm convinced that Rick Deckard is very much human.



Where do you stand on this debate? Do you think Deckard is human or a replicant? Would you prefer that the whole thing remain ambiguous? Let us know by leaving a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter. Check out our reaction to the latest Blade Runner 2049 trailer here.

Blade Runner 2049 Trailer #2:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Breathe Easy: Average Guy Movie Review

Breathe Easy is an independent film, shot in multiple locations throughout ten countries. This global accomplishment took more than 20 directors roughly a year to make. Strange clouds have appeared in the sky across the globe and people are starting to behave in very strange ways. Governments are scrambling to deal with the crisis, but without knowing the cause, what can they do except...Breathe Easy? 



In a time when Hollywood studios can afford to film all over the world, it's easy for us to become indifferent. But an independent film shooting in ten countries including the UK, US, Australia and Hong Kong is an incredible achievement. And the results speak for themselves. Instead of focusing on one region or group during a global disaster - with small updates of events occurring elsewhere - the action is shared pretty much equally across all locations. It's an interesting look at how different people react to the same situation. Some will run, some will hide. Some will just ge…

Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 | Moustache Reaction

If you weren't excited about Blade Runner 2049 before, you certainly should be now. The longest and most informative of the three shorts, Black Out 2022 tells the story of a major event that had global consequences.
The roll out of the Nexus 8 - a new replicant with full human lifespans - saw the rise of human supremacy movements. These groups used the Replicant Registration database to identify and kill replicants. In response, a group of replicants sought to destroy the records, their actions led to the prohibition of their kind causing many to go into hiding.
Black Out 2022 is a brilliant piece of filmmaking! Not only is it well written, but the use of multiple animation styles make it both visually stunning and perfectly grounded in the Blade Runner universe. This spectacular short is a perfect bridge between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.
Don't forget to check out the other two Blade Runner 2049 shorts:


What did you think of the three Blade Runner 2049 prequel shorts? Ar…

Anticipated Movies of 2017

2017 promises an excellent line up of movies, will they live up to expectations? Only time will tell. These are some of my most anticipated movies of 2017:

Assassin's Creed - 1st January



I know it's in cinemas already but it deserves a place on this list. In what could possibly be the first truly successful adaptation of a video game, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the memories of his ancestor Aguilar - a member of a secret society of assassins - thanks to Abstergo, a Templar controlled corporation and their revolutionary technology that unlocks 'genetic memories'.

Live by Night - 13th January



Ben Affleck directs and stars in this crime drama about organised crime in Prohibition Era America and the hunt for the 'American Dream'.

Lion - 20th January



The true story of an Indian boy who loses his family and is adopted by an Australian couple. Years later he uses Google Maps to find his village and make his way home to his family.

Jackie - 20th January



The s…