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I've heard it said that Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Blade Runner is a replicant. I don't remember it being made clear either way.

Is Deckard a replicant? What evidence is there either way?

  • possible duplicate of What kind of Replicant is Deckard? – phantom42 Jan 29 '15 at 1:33
  • @phantom42 That question is different to mine, that question assumes that Deckard is a replicant and asks about the nature of his programming but the evidence doesn't consistently to point to him being a replicant. Even the answers to that question aren't in agreement as to Deckard's humanity or otherwise. My question is what is the evidence either way. – Coomie Jan 29 '15 at 1:42
  • I swear we had this exact question here already but I don't see it now. This question covers similar ground: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/2720/… – DisgruntledGoat Jan 29 '15 at 2:04
  • @DisgruntledGoat I was surprised that there isn't a question that focuses directly on Deckards humanity. There are so many questions that float around it but I couldn't find any that ask directly if he is or not and say why either way... – Coomie Jan 29 '15 at 4:04
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    @Walt Then for each statement by Scott there are equally many people, including Ford and the guy from the duplicate answer, who come and say that he was planned ambiguously or even not as a replicant and only retconned later by Scott. I'm not saying we're not to take Scott's word for granted, just that the matter is way more difficult than a clear statement from Scott might suggest. – Napoleon Wilson Jan 29 '15 at 9:56
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According to Ridley Scott, yes, he is a replicant.

In the Director's Cut version, the biggest clue for analysts was the appearance of a unicorn on screen while Deckard is lost in thought. The image of the mythical creature appears again towards the end of the film when he picks up an origami model discarded by another character, Gaff. As the replicants had no memories of their own, they had to be implanted, and fans interpreted the appearance of the model as a sign that Gaff knew what Deckard was thinking because it was an image shared by other non-humans.

In Channel 4's documentary On The Edge Of Blade Runner, Scott discusses the scenes and asked what they mean, he confirms with a grin: "He's a replicant".

Another hint in the film comes from the number of replicants which Deckard is hunting. We find out that six had made their way to earth, one of whom was killed. Deckard is looking for four, begging the question: "Who is the fifth replicant?".

You can see the relevant clip here:

  • I never picked up on the number of replicants thing. That must mean that Deckard was captured and reprogrammed. Also that everyone he interacts with who "recognises" him must be working with the police. I need to watch the film again to see how people interact with Deckard. – Tim Oct 6 '17 at 1:27
  • Interesting that this is a point of contention between Scott and Ford. Also, that "hint" about the numbers is not implying that Deckard is a replicant. There were many changes to the script and that detail was simply not cleaned up, apparently. Certainly not going to down-vote, because Scott seemed enamored by the idea, and who has more control over the story than the director? – PoloHoleSet Nov 2 '17 at 15:52
  • The more pertinent point, perhaps, is whether the film's director, Ridley Scott, is in contention with the author, Philip K Dick. Harrison Ford will naturally support the original script of the movie, since this is what he based his performance on. But we are left to ponder whether it is the original script, or perhaps Scott's final cut, that reflects what Dick actually intended in his actual book. – Ed999 Mar 3 '18 at 10:51
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I just watched Blade Runner 2049 for the second time and I came up with an interesting theory that addresses the is Deckard a replicant? discussion.

It is mentioned earlier on in the film that replicants can't reproduce, and is further reaffirmed by Wallace who makes some cryptic remarks that boil down to replicants being barren and that Tyrell was the only one who figured it out and did so with Rachel.

Now, even though male replicant reproduction is never explicitly addressed, we know that there is a clear delineation between humans and replicants, in that replicants can't reproduce. If they could, it would be definitive proof that there is no meaningful difference between replicants and humans.

Thus, we can now assume that because Rachel was the only reproductive replicant, and that Deckard had a child with her, he must be (a) a human (b) a replicant who can also reproduce.

(b) seems unlikely given that Wallace would probably find a way of using his genetic code to make a reproductive female and thus eliminate the need for finding his daughter.

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    Even if replicants can reproduce, there still remains a meaningful difference between androids and humans, in that an android's lifespan is significantly shorter. Indeed,there is also a second difference, in that android memories are wholly artificial, and, in a sense, identical: they appear to all share the same initial memory patterns, hence lack the individuality of humans. And their short lifespan gives them insufficient time to mature psychologically: they remain, in all essentials, children, as they lack the time in which to 'grow up', which requires about 15 years in humans. – Ed999 Mar 3 '18 at 11:06

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