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Rick Deckard was a Blade Runner of the Los Angeles Police Department who was assigned in 2019 to retire four replicants who stole a ship and illegally landed on Earth to find their creator, Dr. Eldon Tyrell.

After finishing his assignment, he left Los Angeles with the replicant, Rachael, who later died during a caesarean section delivery of their child. Deckard left the child in the care of the Replicant Freedom Movement and scrambled the birth records to protect her identity. Deckard went into hiding in Las Vegas.

In 2049, his location was discovered by the replicant Blade Runner, K, and he was captured by the Wallace Corporation. After being rescued by K, Deckard was united with his daughter.

Biography

Sometime prior to 2019, Deckard retired from his job as a Blade Runner.

2019

Coming Out of Retirement

In 2019, the LAPD sent out Blade Runner Eduardo Gaff to pull Deckard out of his retirement in the light that six rogue Nexus-6 models had arrived on Earth for unknown purposes. Deckard, while seated at Howie Lee's, eating noodles, was interrupted by Gaff who arrested Deckard and took him to his spinner and headed for LAPD headquarters.

Back in Business and Mission Briefing

"I was quit when I came in here Bryant. I'm twice as quit now." - Deckard to Bryant

Deckard met with his former boss, Harry Bryant, and was given an ultimatum - track down a rogue Nexus-6, or live the rest of his life as a "little person" and forever be harassed by the LAPD. Deckard questioned why fellow Blade Runner Holden had not been given the task, only to find out that Holden tried and failed already. Concluding that he had no choice, Deckard sat down with Bryant to discuss the six renegade replicants.

Sitting in a dimly lit projector room, Bryant explained that out of the six replicants, two were fried in electrical traps after trying to infiltrate the Tyrell Corporation while the other four escaped. Leon was shown first, whose encounter with Holden was documented during his Voight-Kampff test. Roy, the leader of the rogue group, Zhora, and Pris were shown to Deckard as well. Bryant also gave Deckard information on Nexus-6 models; namely, replicants that were dangerous because their emotions were child-like, given their raw strength and mental intelligence. A fail-safe was given to Nexus-6 that would only allow them to live for four years, negating any worry that they would be around to cause damage. Bryant ordered Deckard to go to the Tyrell Corporation and test a Nexus-6 model with a Voight-Kampff test that would allow the Blade Runner to understand how to spot them in the field.

Meeting Rachael and Eldon Tyrell

"She's a replicant isn't she... she doesn't know... how can it not know what it is?" - Deckard to Tyrell about Rachael

Deckard and Gaff flew over to the immense Tyrell Corporation pyramid. Deckard held a brief conversation about the nature of the owl in Tyrell's meeting room with his secretary, Rachael. Their conversation was interrupted by Tyrell himself, who asked Deckard to demonstrate the Voight-Kampff test on a human, namely Rachael, before he provided him with a Nexus-6.

Deckard-and-Rachel

Deckard converses with Rachael about the risks of a Blade Runner

Rachael answered over one-hundred questions before being asked to step outside of the room by Tyrell. Deckard concluded that she was a replicant that did not know she was one. There, Deckard learned from Tyrell that Rachael was an experiment in providing replicants with memories to control them better. He left with Gaff to investigate Leon's apartment.

1187 Hunterwasser and Rachael's Visit

"Okay. Bad joke. I made a bad joke. You're not a replicant... go home." - Deckard to Rachael

After crossing the street in heavy rain, Deckard and Gaff were taken to Leon Kowalski's apartment by the owner of the Yukon. Deckard found a scale in the bathtub of the apartment while Gaff creates an origami man with an erect penis. Deckard continued to search for anything useful and came across a handful of photos belonging to Leon.

Deckard returned to his apartment, only to find Rachael waiting for him in the elevator. He attempted to make her leave, but eventually gave in when Rachael told him that Tyrell wouldn't see her. After offering her a drink, Rachael attempted to convince Deckard that she wasn't a replicant by showing him a picture of herself as a child with her mother. Deckard brushed this off and explained specific memories that only she would know, telling her they were implants from Tyrell's niece. Seeing that she was visibly shaken, Deckard attempted to retract his statements and get her a drink but Rachael stormed out, leaving her photo behind.

The Dream, Esper Analysis, and Animoid Row

Some time after Rachael left, Deckard played the piano and began to fall asleep, dreaming of a unicorn galloping through a forest. This prompted him to grab Leon's photos from earlier and analyze them in his Esper machine. After perusing the photo, he came across a mirror and used it to find Zhora, with a snake tattoo and sleeping on a couch. He concluded that the scale belonged to her, and headed to Animoid Row to investigate the scale further.

Upon reaching Animoid Row, Deckard asked the fish vendor if the scale he found was from a fish. The woman informs him that it was not fish, but snake, and pointed him in the direction of Abdul Ben Hassan, the creator of the snake. Deckard made his way through Animoid Row and threatened Hassan to give up who he sold the snake to, learning that the snake belonged to someone working at Taffey Lewis' nightclub in First Sector, China Town.

Taffey Lewis' and Zhora

"I'd had people walk out on me before, but not when I was being... so charming." - Deckard to Rachael

Deckard proceeded to Taffey Lewis', speaking with the owner personally about Zhora. Lewis merely dismissed Deckard and he was left with a drink on the house. Deckard attempted to call Rachael with the number on the back of her photo, but failed to get her down to Taffey Lewis'. Rachael told Deckard it was not her kind of place and hung up on him. Deckard was present for Miss Salome (Zhora) and her snake dance, visibly uncomfortable by the spectacle. He noticed, however, that she was the replicant he'd been looking for.

After the performance, Deckard hung around near the dressing rooms, waiting for Zhora. He found her and went into her dressing room under the guise of a member of the American Federation of Variety Artists. His attempted at hiding his identity only make Zhora more suspicious and, after her shower, she punched him after asking him to dry her. Zhora attempted to strangle Deckard but was interrupted by more performers coming into the room. Zhora fled, with Deckard following shortly after.

Deckard kills zhora

Deckard aims at Zhora, about to kill her

Zhora nearly succeeded in losing Deckard among the crowded streets of Los Angeles, but was eventually hunted down and shot twice in the back. She crashed through several glass panes before succumbing to her injuries. Deckard, visibly shaken, showed his identity to the responding officers and looked on as Zhora is taken away. Moments later, Gaff took Deckard to Bryant's spinner to inform him that four replicants still remained; Rachael being included among them.

Confrontation With Leon

Deckard caught glimpses of Rachael in the crowd of onlookers, and attempeds to find her. Before he could, Leon grabbed him and demanded to know how much life he had left. Deckard answered him honestly, and the two fought. Leon slapped Deckard's gun out of his hands and easily beat down Deckard. As he prepared to gouge Deckard's eyes out, Leon was shot in the head by Rachael with Deckard's gun, causing him to collapse, dead.

Leon and Deckard

Leon confronting Deckard after Zhora's retirement.

Rachael and Deckard

Deckard and Rachael left the streets and returned to his apartment. There, Deckard told Rachael that he would not hunt her down, but that eventually the LAPD would send another. Before falling asleep, Deckard was asked by Rachael if he'd ever taken the Voight-Kampff test himself, But he fell asleep before he could answer. Rachael began to play the piano, and Deckard woke. He joined her at the piano, complimenting her that she played beautifully. Deckard attempted to kiss Rachael who, not yet understanding who or what she was, attempted to leave. Deckard forced Rachael to stay and the two shared an intimate moment together.

Rachel-deckard-2

Deckard telling Rachael someone will eventually hunt her.

Hunting Pris and Roy's Arrival

Learning of the death of Tyrell and J.F. Sebastian, Deckard called Sebastian's vidphone, only to encounter Pris as she answered the call. She immediately hung up and Deckard moved towards the Bradbury Building to retire her. Pris hid among all of Sebastian's creations, ambushing Deckard and nearly breaking his neck. As Pris prepared to attack him again, Deckard shot, but failed to kill Pris. As she writhed on the ground, it took two more shots to finally put her out of her misery. Deckard was visibly uncomfortable by this confrontation and moves to a location to ambush Roy Batty.

Meanwhile, Roy returned from his confrontation with Tyrell to find Sebastian's apartment broken into and Pris shot dead on the ground. After Deckard failed to ambush Roy, he got his fingers broken by the replicant leader and was told to run.

Rooftop Finality

Roy, near the end of his life, chased Deckard throughout the Bradbury Building. Because of his broken fingers, Deckard dropped his gun and continued to head for the roof. Roy followed closely, counting up from one and becoming increasingly erratic and more animalistic. Deckard was eventually able to reach the roof, but was confronted by Roy as he attempted to flee. Deckard leapt from the Bradbury Building to a nearby rooftop, but failed to grab hold of anything stable and hangs hundreds of feet above the streets.

Roy, now with a dove in his hands, made the jump easily and turned to stand above Deckard. Before slipping, Deckard spat at Roy and was shockingly saved from his death by the replicant. Roy placed Deckard back onto the roof and gave one final speech about his life experiences before smiling at Deckard and dying peacefully. Deckard was left to contemplate the importance of life while Gaff arrived and gave Deckard his gun back, implying that Deckard's job was done and that it was too bad that Rachael would not live.

Fleeing Los Angeles

Deckard returned to his apartment, battered and broken. His door open and fearing the worst, Deckard was relieved to find Rachael alive and well in his bed. He asked her if she loved and trusted him, and prepared to leave Los Angeles. Before leaving, Deckard noticed that Rachael knocked something over in the hallway. Deckard picked up an origami unicorn, presumably left by Gaff. Deckard nodded in understanding and got in the elevator with Rachael, leaving Los Angeles behind for a new life.

2020-2048

On June 10th, 2021, Rachael gave birth to a daughter. Considered a miracle by those present for the birth, the child was taken away to protect her from the machinations of those who would try to get rid of a replicant child or use her for nefarious purposes. Rachael died as a result of the birth, and Deckard showed those who took the child (namely Freysa) how to scramble the records and cover their tracks. The DNA registry was given two births, a son and a daughter, with the daughter labeled as deceased. The birth records, at some point, were taken from the orphanage in San Diego.

Deckard's role was to flee; he was not present for the birth, and he was to stay as far away from the child as possible in order to protect her. Deckard eventually made his way to the ruins of Las Vegas, staking out a home among the dead and decaying city. Eventually, he came to possess Bo, a dog whose own nature was questionable. Deckard lost Rachael, never met his child, and was forced to live life alone and far away from anyone else to protect the one he loved most and the only person he had left - Ana.

2049

K's Discovery

By 2049, Deckard had successfully eluded the authorities and remained in isolation. The discovery of Rachael's body by LAPD Blade Runner K led an investigation into what happened to her child. After approaching the Wallace Corporation, K was shown a memory bearing by Luv that indicated the replicant Rachael was interviewed by Deckard in 2019. Luv met with company head Niander Wallace, who desired to find Rachael's child to unlock the secrets of replicant reproduction. He ordered Luv to find the child, and in turn, find Deckard as well.

Because of specific circumstances involving a memory of a wooden horse and the date carved under it matching the date found at Sapper Morton's tree, K began to believe that he was the replicant child the LAPD was searching for.

After finding the physical wooden horse, K took it to Doctor Badger in order to attain its' place of origin. The wood and the radioactive material on it was traced to Las Vegas, and so K headed to the ruins of the city to find out more. Unbeknownst to K, he had left enough of a trail behind him that Luv and the Wallace Corporation could follow in order to capture Deckard and find out more about his child.

Meeting K

"You mightn't happen to have a piece of cheese about you now, would you boy? Many a long night I dream of cheese - toasted." - Deckard quoting Treasure Island to K

K arrived in Las Vegas, finding it completely devoid of life save for a colony of bees. He traces the bees deeper into the city, and was surprised to hear the sound of a piano coming from a casino. Implying Deckard knew K had been here for some time, he confronted K in the upper levels of the casino. After quoting Treasure Island, Deckard asked why K was there. K responded that he wanted to ask some questions, prompting Deckard to shoot at K. The latter fell off the balcony and hid inside a lounge.

Deckard played the decrepit holograms of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and dancers as he and K had a cat and mouse hunt in the lounge. Eventually, K disarmed Deckard and took Deckard's punches to prove he was not there to harm him. Deckard relented and offered K a drink with him.

Ambushed in Las Vegas

"Sometimes, to love someone, you gotta be a stranger." - Deckard to K

K and Deckard then got into a heated conversation about who Deckard's wife was and what happened to the child. Deckard revealed to K Rachael's name, and why Deckard was hiding. Deckard claimed they were being hunted, and they didn't want their child to be found and studied or dissected. Deckard left K to be on his own for some time, until K realized that he led the Wallace Corporation right to Deckard.

As Deckard attempted to flee, he failed to make it to his spinner in time before Luv destroyed it with a drone missile. Regaining consciousness, Deckard attempted to escape his captors but was overcome and placed in Luv's spinner. K was severely beaten by Luv and his lover, Joi, was destroyed. Beaten and left for dead, K was powerless to stop Luv from taking Deckard back to Los Angeles.

Deckard Interrogated

"I know what's real." - Deckard to Wallace, on his true nature

Deckard awoke to find himself in Niander Wallace's Earth Headquarters, a room surrounded by water and artificial life. Wallace entered and proclaimed how he has wanted to meet Deckard for some time. Wallace toyed with Deckard's true identity; he played back his Voight-Kampff audio when he first meant Rachael and questioned whether or not it was love or mathematical precision that brought the two together. Deckard held fast, although shaken, and was at a loss for words when Wallace brought out an exact clone of Rachael to coax the whereabouts of his child and the replicant resistance movement to him. Deckard, although humbled by Rachael's presence, claimed that her eyes were green and stepped away. The clone of Rachael was shot in the head by Luv, and Deckard was removed to be taken Off-world for torture.

The Sea Wall

"You should have let me die out there!"

"You did."

- Deckard and K after his rescue

Deckard, resigned to his fate and in captivity inside a spinner, was rescued when K intercepted Luv's spinner escort and took them all out of the sky near the Sepulveda Sea Wall. Unknown to Deckard, K had orders to kill Deckard in order to protect the resistance movement and the child. However, K had decided to save Deckard instead and get him to his child. K killed Luv and saved Deckard. Deckard exclaimed that K should have let him die out there, but K insisted that he did and now he was free to meet his daughter.

Meeting His Daughter

"What am I to you?"

"Go meet your daughter."

- Deckard and K

True to his word, K took Deckard to meet Ana Stelline at her memory creation facility. Deckard asked why K saved him and what he was to him. K merely smiled and told Deckard to go meet his daughter. K died on the steps of the memory facility, and Deckard put his hand on the glass separating him and Ana, meeting his daughter for the first time.

Behind the scenes

Deckard's Identity

Deckard as a Replicant

Blade Runner (1982)

Is Deckard a Replicant? The question has been asked since Blade Runner was first released in 1982. Many people, including the director Ridley Scott and writer Paul M. Sammon, regard Deckard is a replicant.

  • With the 2007 release of the Final Cut, some say the argument can be finally put to rest. Ridley Scott, with full control of the media, has put/left in the unicorn dream sequence as Deckard is sitting at the piano daydreaming. Thus, at the end of the movie, Deckard's knowing nod when he picks up Gaff's origami unicorn and recollection of Gaff's last comment concerning Rachael signifies Deckard's own realization of the facts.
  • One interesting point that comes up is what Bryant really knows. Does Gaff know that Deckard is a replicant while Bryant does not? Or is it okay with Bryant that a replicant retirer is a replicant himself? As Deckard is looking over the Replicant profiles, the camera shows Bryant giving him strange looks as they discuss the four-year expiry of the Nexus-6.

Ridley Scott has mentioned this matter in several interviews. BBC News ran a story about this in 2000, where he concludes that Deckard is a replicant. [1]

Also in a interview Ridley Scott did in Wired magazine in 2007[2], he explained this matter:

Wired: It was never on paper that Deckard is a replicant.
Scott: It was, actually. That's the whole point of Gaff, the guy who makes origami and leaves little matchstick figures around. He doesn't like Deckard, and we don't really know why. If you take for granted for a moment that, let's say, Deckard is a Nexus 7, he probably has an unknown life span and therefore is starting to get awfully human. Gaff, at the very end, leaves an origami, which is a piece of silver paper you might find in a cigarette packet, and it's a unicorn. Now, the unicorn in Deckard's daydream tells me that Deckard wouldn't normally talk about such a thing to anyone. If Gaff knew about that, it's Gaff's message to say, "I've read your file, mate." That relates to Deckard's first speech to Rachael when he says, "That's not your imagination, that's Tyrell's niece's daydream." And he describes a little spider on a bush outside the window. The spider is an implanted piece of imagination. And therefore Deckard, too, has imagination and even history implanted in his head.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

The cameo by Edward James Olmos as Gaff provides us with hints at Deckard's identity. He tells K that there was "Something in his eyes" and how Deckard was "not one for this world".

Deckard is shown to be living in the wastes of Las Vegas. Because it was made inhabitable by a dirty bomb, one could assume Deckard a replicant due to his ability to survive in such a hostile environment. However, this can be countered by the fact that K's readings of the area prove that life can exist in Vegas once again. His response to K about whether his dog Bo is real ("I don't know. Ask Him.") seems to fall in line with the idea that Deckard's own nature, and the nature of others such as K, doesn't matter.

The conversation between Deckard and Wallace in the third act of the film mirrors the questions we ask ourselves about Deckard. Wallace offers up the idea that Deckard may have been designed to fall in love with Rachael in order to create a replicant child as part of Eldon Tyrell's grand plan. He immedietly puts doubt into Deckard's own self-identity by questioning his own statement:

"Did it never occur to you that is why you were summoned in the first place? Designed to do nothing short of fall for her then and there? All to make that single perfect specimen. That is, if you were designed. Love, or mathematical precision? Yes? No?"
Thus, the writing provides us with no clear answer and only serves to remind us that there isn't a clear answer and, perhaps, that the question might not matter much in the first place. Jared Leto, who portrayed Niander Wallace, did have this to say about his knowledge of Deckard:
"Denis gave me a great gift. I see inside of Deckard, and [I asked] Denis, ‘Well, what do I see?’ And he takes a long pause, and he goes, ‘It’s your decision to make.’ So in a funny way, besides Deckard himself, I may be the only person who knows. [Denis] says, ‘You can decide. It’s up to you to decide.’
"I know Ridley has one opinion. Harrison has another. Denis has another. But he said to me, since I’m the one who actually scans his brain and looks inside, that I can make the decision, so now I get to hold this secret with me.”[3]

Deckard as a Human

Many people involved in the original movie maintain that Deckard is human including Harrison Ford and the screenwriter Hampton Fancher. In the original Philip K. Dick novel, Deckard seems to be human and passes the Voight-Kampff test. Ford and Scott continue to argue about the issue to this day.

The original theatrical release did not include the unicorn daydream, so the evidence for Deckard as a replicant is weakest in this version. This version also had an extensive voice over by Harrison Ford, further adding to Deckard's character and history. With this, the original indicates he is a human.

Deckard has a history with the LAPD, and he retired from the police force some time before the events of 2019. This can be attributed as falsified memories as well, and so can be counted as evidence for both.

Denis Villeneuve, the director of the sequel, declined to take sides in the debate, saying "I enjoyed the ambiguity and I did not want to ruin the mystery for fans."

Gallery

References

  1. BBC News: Blade Runner riddle solved
  2. "Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined" Wired Magazine, Sept. 2007
  3. https://moviepilot.com/p/jared-leto-knows-answer-to-biggest-blade-runner-mystery/4386939

External links