With Blade Runner 2049 releasing this weekend, some fans of Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic are wondering whether the sequel will resolve one of the “mysteries” of the original: Is Deckard a replicant?
Ridley Scott has already answered the question in the affirmative, while Harrison Ford has insisted that his character is human.
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, however, is playing coy. In a recent interview, he referred fans to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, upon which Blade Runner is based:
“I felt that the key to deal with that was in the novel of Philip K. Dick, which was that, in the novel, the characters are doubting about themselves. They are not sure if they are replicants or not. They are like, from time to time, the detectives are having to run a Voight-Kampff [test] on themselves to make sure that they are humans. I love that idea.”
Villeneuve makes a valid point about ambiguity in the story. Deckard’s journey is equally tragic either way; it is just as horrifying for him to be a human who starts to question his humanity because he empathizes with his replicant victims, as it is for him to realize that he is a replicant who is killing his own kind, and therefore equally a slave.
But why weren’t we told specifically either way?
Perhaps we were. Film is, after all, a visual medium, and Sir Ridley showed us in pictures, rather than telling us in dialogue (with a few exceptions).
Here’s your guide to what to look for in the 1982 original. In case you’re wondering which version to watch— other than the infamous unicorn scene— you’ll find any of these hints in every cut of Blade Runner.
Also, perhaps to make things easier for viewers, Scott seems to have clustered most of these clues in or around Deckard’s apartment.
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