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14. Is Deckard a replicant? (Blade Runner)


This article is from the Blade Runner FAQ, by Murray Chapmanmuzzle@cs.uq.oz.au with numerous contributions by others.

14. Is Deckard a replicant? (Blade Runner)

This question causes the most debate among BR fans. The different versions
of BR support this notion to differing degrees. One might argue that in the
1982 theatrical release, Deckard is not a replicant but in BRDC, he is.

There is no definitive answer: Ridley Scott himself has stated that, although
he deliberately made the ending ambiguous, he also intentionally introduced
enough evidence to support the notion, and (as far as he is concerned),
Deckard is a replicant. [See section 9.]

The "FOR" case

- Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford have stated that Deckard was meant to be a
replicant. In Details magazine (US) October 1992 Ford says:

"Blade Runner was not one of my favorite films. I tangled
with Ridley. The biggest problem was that at the end, he wanted the
audience to find out that Deckard was a replicant. I fought that
because I felt the audience needed somebody to cheer for."

- The shooting script had a voice-over where Deckard says, "I knew it on the
roof that night. We were brothers, Roy Batty and I!"

- Gaff knew that Deckard dreamt of a unicorn, therefore Gaff knew what dreams
that Deckard had been implanted with. (BRDC only)

- Replicants have a penchant for photographs, because it gives them a tie to
their non-existent past. Deckard's flat is packed with photos, and none of
them are recent or in color. Despite her memories, Rachael needed a photo
as an emotional cushion. Likewise, Deckard would need photos, despite his
memory implants. Rachael plays the piano, and Deckard has a piano in his

- Gaff tells him "You've done a man's job, sir!". Early drafts of the script
have him then add: "But are you sure you are man? It's hard to be sure
who's who around here."

- Only a replicant could survive the beatings that Deckard takes, and then
struggle up the side of a building with two dislocated fingers.

- Bryant's threat "If you're not a cop, you're little people" might be
an allusion to Deckard being created solely for police work.

- Deckard's eyes glow (yellow-orange) when he tells Rachael that he wouldn't
go after her, "but someone would". Deckard is standing behind Rachael,
and he's out of focus.

- Roy knew Deckard's name, yet he was never told it. Some speculate that
Deckard might have been part of Roy's off-world rebellion, but was captured
by the police and used to hunt down the others. In tht case, Bryant is
including Deckard among the five escaped replicants.

- The police would not risk a human to hunt four powerful replicants,
particularly since replicants were designed for such dangerous work. Of
course Deckard would have to think he was human or he might not be willing
to hunt down other replicants.

- Gaff seems to follow Deckard everywhere -- he is at the scene of all the
Replicant retirings almost immediately. Gaff is always with Deckard when
the chief is around. This suggests that Gaff is the real BR, and that
Deckard is only a tool Gaff uses for the dirty work.

The "AGAINST" case

- A major point of the film was to show Deckard (The Common Man) the
value of life. "What's it like to live in fear?" If all the main
characters are replicants, the contrast between humans and replicants is

- Rachael had an implanted unicorn dream and Deckard's reverie in BRDC was a
result of having seen her implants. Gaff may have seen Rachael's implants
at the same time Deckard did, perhaps while they were at Tyrell's.

- Could you trust a replicant to kill other replicants? Why did the police
trust Deckard?

- Having Deckard as a replicant implies a conspiracy between the police and

- Replicants were outlawed on Earth and it seems unlikely that a replicant
would have an ex-wife.

- If Deckard was a replicant designed to be a Blade Runner, why would they
give him bad memories of the police force? Wouldn't it be more effective
if he were loyal and happy about his work?

- Deckard was not a replicant in DADoES, although he has another Blade Runner
test him at one point just to be sure.


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