In this article, I will use the Final Cut version of Blade Runner (1982) as the source material. That is by far the superior version to the original theatrical cut, and also the preferred version of the director Ridley Scott.
Does Deckard know that he’s a replicant?
That’s the question that has been on my mind ever since I sat down a while ago with my friend to have a beer. We started talking about Blade Runner (1982), which is my all time favorite film, and pretty soon both came to the conclusion that Deckard is a replicant. What we didn’t agree on, however, was whether or not Deckard himself knows this.
I’ve always thought that Deckard and Rachael are Nexus 7 replicants who don’t know about their true origins. We find out relatively soon in the film that Rachael is a new generation of replicant who they have given memories to in order to make her more human. Now, could it be possible that Deckard is part of this experiment by the Tyrell Co.? Maybe it’s like an Adam and Eve sort of thing. Create a woman to do god know’s what with her, and create a man to make him into a killing machine. This would explain why, if Deckard is a replicant, he wasn’t given superhuman strength like the earlier replicants. Obviously they don’t want Deckard to find out.
But did he? My friend pointed out a certain scene to me. After Rachael has first been in Deckard’s appartment, he finds a photograph she left behind. In the picture there is a mother and daughter outside of an old house. Rachael thinks it’s her and her mother but we know that it’s not as we see Deckard explain this to her. But after Rachael leaves, Deckard looks at the picture and suddenly, and just for a few frames, it starts to move.
This raises the idea that Deckard was given the memories of the little boy who took that photograph. And judging from the lack of reaction by Deckard, this could mean that he is already aware of the fact that he has implanted memories.
Also, my friend thinks that because Deckard has such a cynical and mean spirited approach to Rachael’s realization of her true origin, it is implied that Deckard has actually taken the Voight Kampf test himself and found this all out.
However, I don’t believe this. The film’s emotional climax at the end, when Deckard finds the little origami unicorn, leads me to think that he doesn’t find out that he’s not human until the very end. There’s a sense of discovery and realization in Harrison Ford’s face during the ending scene that, to me, echo the intended reaction of the audience. Now, it’s possible that the ending is purely symbolic and the scene is there to only provide the realization to the viewer, but I don’t buy that.
What do you think? First of all, is Deckard a replicant? Second, has he himself found this out? And third, does the police force know that he’s found it out?
I’ve always fancied the idea that the first time we see Deckard waiting for his noodles is the first time he’s alive. To explain:
Maybe the Blade Runner Unit got really scared after Holden dies at the beginning and then decide to go along with this plan of programming a replicant to kill the rest of the replicants. They then give Deckard all the memories from hid childhood and all the memories of some other Blade Runner so that he’ll feel like he’s done this all his life, take him outside to the rain in front of a noodle bar, and turn him on.
How ’bout them apples?
-Aleksi Mörttinen (Student at the University of Tampere)