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So, the end result of about 19 different versions of Blade Runner seems to be that all indicators point to Deckard being a Replicant himself.

If you do indeed hold to this theory, what was the purpose of creating him?

Was he a test model like Rachel, or is it explained somewhere that he was commissioned by the military like Roy?

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3 Answers 3

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Whether Deckard is himself a replicant is left deliberately ambiguous.

In the original novel, a security force exists in addition to the regular police force in Los Angeles, whose operatives are termed 'blade runners' and who are actually replicants, created to do that special job of locating and terminating replicants that go 'rogue'. It's a kind of 'set a thief to catch a thief' arrangement.

This force of replicants did not make it into the movie; it is one of several elements in the novel which were lost in the process of adapting the original story for the screen.

But the notion may have persisted, in the mind of the director, that 'blade runner' is a job carried out by replicants.

He hints at this in the movie, by including - in the 2007 director's Final Cut - the Unicorn scene, implying that Deckard is having artificial dreams, one of the hallmarks of a replicant (an element which echos the original title of the novel: 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?')

Also, Deckard treats the replicants very badly, executing all of them (except Rachael) - thus showing himself to be less human than they. For when the opportunity arises for a replicant to kill Deckard, the one called Roy saves his life. Morally, this implicitly elevates the replicants over Deckard.

Yet there is no indication in the movie of Deckard having a limited lifespan, something which all the replicants suffer from, beyond the fact that the police allow him and Rachael to ride away into the sunset together, unmolested, at the end of the picture; thereby implying that the police believe the couple have too little time left to cause any further problem.

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I think one of the keys to the idea that Deckard is not a replicant is more point about the replicants being more compassionate than Deckard. That idea loses it's value if Deckard is not human. –  scott.korin Jan 16 at 13:56

There is no indication he was anything special in terms of replicant creation (a test subject etc). I think he was made to do a job, Bladerunning and was customised to have abilities and skills which suit that role. That is what he does, he was given a personality as well which fuzzes things up.

However, the question we really should be asking is how many of the other people that we saw are replicants?!

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The fictitious kind. Deckard was human. : )

Philip K. Dick himself, Hampton Fancher (the screen writer), Harrison Ford (Deckard), and the producers of the film (the people that hire the director) all state clearly, and consistently, that Deckard was human. They have stated that from the beginning of production on through to this very day. Think about that for a moment and let it sink in.

To say he is NOT human undermines much of the movie when you think about it. As nifty an idea as it is, the notion detracts much more than it adds. But the argument has been around since the beginning. Harrison Ford actively argued against it at one point during shooting and stormed off. Ford has stated clearly his red-eye scene was a mistake, and that on set the effect was intended solely for Rachel.

Ridley is the revisionist, by adding the unicorn after the theatrical release (he admits the footage was shot for a different movie entirely) and stating blithely in his 2007 Final Cut special features (twice) that Deckard was a replicant – 25 years AFTER THE FACT! He thus backed away from his long standing, ~“There is no correct answer to that”, or, ~“To answer that misses the point.”, etc., which supports the notion of an intentionally polysemous art.

All things considered, it seems to me that to flatly insist: “Yes, Deckard was a replicant”, is the worst of all possible answers.

To my mind Scott's use of a unicorn [spliced in, after the fact] says much more about his sublime trolling skills to spur confusion and debate than it does proving Deckard a replicant.

Besides, I hear Leni Riefenstahl prepared a director's cut of Triumph of the Will before she died. In the special features she will explain the newly introduced shot of her behind a camera filming, where her feet are in shackles.

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I like to think that too - so do you not subscribe to the 'official' take by Sir Ridders that he is a replicant, hinted at by the inclusion of the unicorn dream? –  Nobby Aug 3 '12 at 21:04
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By watching the film I don't think you can tell. That was the point, where do artificial and organic life forms meet. –  Stefan Aug 3 '12 at 23:55
    
@Nobby - I edited the original ^ to make the full point on Ridley's "official" take. ; ) –  ipso Jan 1 '13 at 22:21

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