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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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The tag is/was incorrect. The correct spelling is philip with one 'l'. –  wbogacz Aug 3 '12 at 14:52
This would indicate that the ToTW name needs correction, too. –  wbogacz Aug 3 '12 at 14:58
Yep, thanks for correcting my correction that I made after seeing the incorrect version on the right :) –  Nobby Aug 3 '12 at 18:07
ToTW corrected now. Thanks @wbogacz –  iandotkelly Aug 3 '12 at 20:21

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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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. : )

EDIT - below

@Nobby - PKD himself, Hampton Fancher, Harrison Ford, and the producers of the film all state clearly, and consistently, that Deckard was human, from the beginning and to this very day. Think about that. To say he is not human undermines much of the movie when you look closely. As cool as it is, the notion detracts much more than it adds - in many authoritative people’s estimation. Harrison Ford actively argued against it during the shooting, when Ridley overshot the mark. Ford states clearly his red-eye scene was a mistake, and that the effect was intended for Rachel alone.

Ridley is the revisionist, 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. – then in the same breath embracing an intentional design of a polysemous art. It seems to me that to flatly say: “Yes – Deckard was a replicant”, is the worst of all possible answers.

(I can actually prove the fact mathematically – I can prove it to you – but that’s proprietary. I’ve said too much already. You’ll have to suffice.)

It’s a very old debate, and it was fully sorted until Ridley pranced back onstage in 2007 to rekindle the controversy (…the nerve. He’s just yanking our chains.) This does however get deep into the philosophy of aesthetics. It’s a well-worn philosophical quandary: can an author’s intention preclude the validity of millions of patron’s differing response to the art? Can his opinion 25 years after the fact be taken seriously? I don’t think so. And I’ll bet there are plenty of Nazi artists that would have you believe in their revisionist opinion as well. That’s a terrible analogy, but what the hell. I’m a victim.

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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
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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