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In both Blade Runner and its sequel, it is hard to be sure who is or is not a replicant.

For example, the exact nature of Deckard is one of the central questions of both movies.

Certainly there are some characters who are definitely replicants. However is there anyone, in either film, we can be sure is human?

  • from my understanding of the source material, that kind of the point, not really being certain of anything or anyone – DForck42 Nov 30 '17 at 16:03
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    This question should remain open. "The audience is not told who is human" ≠ "primarily-opinion based". This question is asking if there is anybody who the audience can be definitely sure is not a replicant. It can be definitively answered as "no", without resorting to opinion-based speculation. – Thunderforge Dec 1 '17 at 6:43
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Anybody without an eye code who can pass the Voigt-Kampff test is human (but unfortunately we don't see this in either film)

There are two ways to detect a replicant that we see in the films: the Voigt-Kampff test and the Nexus-9 eye code.

Humans will pass the Voigt-Kampff test, but the audience is never shown anybody who does

In Blade Runner, Nexus-6 replicants and older are identified via the Voigt-Kampff test, which is a series of questions that are designed to provoke an emotional response. When Tyrell is discussing it with Deckard, he expects that it can result in a negative (i.e. not a replicant) if done on a human.

Tyrell: I want to see it work on a person [i.e. human]. I want to see a negative before I provide you with a positive.

Deckard: What's that going to prove?

Tyrell: Indulge me.

Later, once Rachael is revealed to be a replicant, she asks Deckard if he ever took the test to prove that he was human.

Rachael: You know that Voight-Kampf test of yours? Did you ever take that test yourself?

So it's clear that this test is expected to be reliable enough that anybody who passes it will be identified as a human. Unfortunately for the audience, nobody is shown to do this.

Nexus-9s have an eye code, and there is no evidence that there are "unmarked" Nexus-9s

2036: Nexus Dawn, one of the promotional short films for Blade Runner 2049, shows that Nexus-9 replicants do have an eye code.

Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn - Replicant eye code

We don't see an eye code for every Nexus-9, but those we do see like K are in positions where their eye codes would certainly have been checked at some point (e.g. during the psych screening).

While it's certainly possible that Wallace created an off-books Nexus-9 replicant that lacked an eye code, there is no evidence to suggest that this ever happened, nor that anybody had any motivation to do so. Indeed, Wallace's attitude, especially in 2036: Nexus Dawn, suggests that he wants others to be aware of his replicants and what they do in order to demonstrate how they are fully under his control.

Thus without further evidence to the contrary, it would appear that anybody who lacks an eyecode is not a Nexus-9 replicant.


In the source material, Deckard and a few others are proven to be human

While not a part of the movie universe, the novel the film is based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, makes it very clear from the Voigt-Kampff test that Deckard is a human.

Rick [Deckard] said, "I'm not an android. You can administer the Voigt-Kampff test to me; I've taken it before and I don't mind taking it again. But I know what the results will be. […]"

When he takes it again later "on-screen" to test if he has an emotional response towards androids (i.e. replicants), Deckard provides a suitably empathic response that only a human could produce.

Rick said, "A female android."

"Now they're up to 4.0 and 6. respectively."

"That's high enough," Rick said; he removed the wired adhesive disk from his cheek and shut off the beam of light. "That's an emphatically empathic response," he said. "About what a human subject shows for most questions. Except for the extreme ones, such as those dealing with human pelts used decoratively . . . the truly pathological ones."

This is corroborated by the similar Boneli Reflex-Arc Test being run on him earlier, which also identifies him as a human.

While there is discussion about how new androids will eventually be able to pass these tests, and that there may be a small subset of humans who might fail it (such as due to mental instability), everyone views the Voigt-Kampff test as a very reliable way to detect androids.

  • I don't think you can use the source story to answer questions about the movies. There are far too many clear differences. – matt_black Feb 8 '18 at 12:30
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    @matt_black That’s why it’s after several pieces of film-universe evidence. It’s more of an addendum and curiosity than evidence for the films. I’ve edited it slightly to make that clearer. – Thunderforge Feb 8 '18 at 14:05
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In movies the thing is that androids knew they are androids. What they do is they don't tell that to humans (and viewers of the movie). They are raised as androids and equipped with memories so they will be capable of making decisions on their own and cope with other humans.

So, IN the film universe you can be sure you are android or human (that's why K was thrown off when he thought he could be born because that was one thing that was impossible). What you can't be sure is, that if you are human, someone would take you for android and wipe you off.

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    In the first movie Rachael didn't know she was a replicant, until she meets Deckart. – Arsak Mar 18 '18 at 11:40

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