How will Blade Runner 2049 handle the first film's central mystery?

Ben Bussey
·UK Movies Writer
Rick Deckard lives in 'Blade Runner 2049' [Credit: Warner Bros]
Rick Deckard lives in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (credit: Warner Bros)

Film fans everywhere have been wowed by the recent teaser trailer for ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited follow-up film to Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction classic ‘Blade Runner.’ However, devotees of the original film are likely to have one key question they’re dying to get an answer to.

An adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Blade Runner’ follows Harrison Ford’s cop Rick Deckard as he hunts down illegal replicants – artificial human beings – in a dystopian future of 2019 (which seemed so far away at the time).

However, it has long been theorized that Deckard is in fact a replicant himself, and that various clues exist to indicate this throughout the film.

This notably includes Deckard’s bizarre unicorn dream sequence featured in the Director’s Cut, which his fellow Blade Runner Gaff (Edward James Olmos) indicates awareness of by leaving an origami unicorn outside Deckard’s apartment; and a shot of Deckard alongside replicant Rachael (Sean Young) in which he appears to have the same reflective retinas which all replicants have.

The eyes have it... (credit: Warner Bros)
The eyes have it… (credit: Warner Bros)

Of course, ‘Blade Runner’ establishes that the Tyrell Corporation, manufacturers of the replicants, give the synthetic beings a lifespan of four years – so if Deckard is indeed a replicant, this naturally makes us wonder how he could still be around 30 years after the events of the first film.

The question has long been a divisive one, even among the makers of the film itself, with director Ridley Scott stating that Deckard is a replicant, whilst Harrison Ford and screenwriter Hampton Fancher insist that he’s human.

It seems inevitable the question will in some way be addressed in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ – but naturally, the filmmakers are playing their cards close to their chests right now.

Quizzed on the matter by Entertainment Weekly, Ford says, “I’m happy to censor myself on this one. I can tell you that it was a question that was of interest to me when we made the first film, and I’m not sure I ever got a straight answer from the people I was working with at that point.

“I think the answer to your question is worth the price of admission.”

Ford as Deckard in 1982's 'Blade Runner' (credit: Warner Bros)
Ford as Deckard in 1982’s ‘Blade Runner’ (credit: Warner Bros)

We’d expect hardcore fans of the 1982 original to agree; and we’d also imagine said fans would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall at a dinner between Ford, Scott and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ director Denis Villeneuve, at which the matter was debated.

Villeneuve enthuses, “It was very funny, I must say, to find myself in the literal crossfire of Harrison and Ridley, arguing as to why Deckard should be a replicant and why he should be human.

“As a fan, that’s a dinner I will remember for all my life.”

Also starring Ryan Gosling, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is due to hit UK cinemas on 6 October 2017.

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