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Rick Deckard is a veteran Blade Runner and fugitive appearing in Ridley Scott's 1982 film, Blade Runner (in which he is the lead character) and Denis Villeneuve's 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049 in a supporting role. The character originally appeared in Philip K. Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" on which the movie is based. Rick Deckard is played by Harrison Ford.

Biography

Events of 2019

Rick Deckard was a Blade Runner, a special member of the L.A. Police Department who is employed to hunt down and retire replicants (genetically manufactured humanoids). Since they were declared illegal on Earth, it is up to Blade Runners to retire any that find their way to Earth.

At some point prior to 2019, Deckard retired from his position as a Blade Runner.

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, seated at Howie Lee's eating noodles, is interrupted by Gaff who arrests Deckard and takes him to his spinner, headed for LAPD headquarters.

Back in Business and Mission Debrief

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

Deckard meets with his former boss Harry Bryant, and is given an ultimatum - track down the rogue Nexus-6, or live the rest of his life as a "little person" and forever be harassed by the LAPD. Deckard questions why fellow Blade Runner Holden had not been given the task only to find out Holden tried and failed already. Concluding that he had no choice, Deckard sat down with Bryant to discuss the six renegade replicants. Gaff creates an origami chicken and places it in Bryant's office prior to the debrief.

Sitting in a dimly lit projector room, Bryant explains that out of the six replicants, two got fried in electrical traps after trying to infiltrate the Tyrell Corporation while the other 4 escaped. Leon is shown first, and his encounter with Holden documented during his Voight-Kampff test. Roy, the leader of the rogue group, Zhora, and Pris are shown to Deckard as well. Bryant also gives Deckard information on Nexus-6 models; namely, replicants are dangerous because their emotions are 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 4 years, negating any worry that they would be around to cause damage. Bryant orders Deckard to go to the Tyrell Corporation and test a Nexus-6 model with a Voight-Kampff test that will 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 fly over to the immense Tyrell Corporation pyramid. Deckard holds a brief conversation about the nature of the owl in Tyrell's meeting room with his secretary, Rachael. Their conversation is interrupted by Tyrell himself, who asks Deckard to demonstrate the Voight-Kampff test on a human, namely Rachael, before he provides him with a Nexus-6.

Deckard-and-Rachel

Deckard converses with Rachael about the risks of a Blade Runner

Rachael answers over 100 questions before being asked to step outside of the room by Tyrell. Deckard concludes that she is a replicant that doesn't know she is one. Here, Deckard learns from Tyrell that Rachael is an experiment in providing replicants with memories to control them better. He leaves 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 are taken to Leon Kowalski's apartment by the owner of the Yukon. Deckard finds a scale in the bathtub of the apartment while Gaff creates an origami man with an erect penis. Deckard continues to search for anything useful and comes across a handful of photos belonging to Leon.

Deckard returns to his apartment, only to find Rachael waiting for him in the elevator. He attempts to make her leave, but eventually gives in when Rachael tells him that Tyrell wouldn't see her. After offering her a drink, Rachael attempts to convince Deckard that she isn't a replicant by showing him a picture of her as a child with her mother. Deckard brushes this off and explains specific memories that only she would know, telling her they are implants from Tyrell's niece. Seeing that she is visibly shaken, Deckard attempts to retract his statements and get her a drink but Rachael storms out, leaving her photo behind.

The Dream, Esper Analysis, and Animoid Row

Some time after Rachael leaves, Deckard plays the piano and begins to fall asleep, dreaming of a unicorn galloping through a forest. This prompts him to grab Leon's photos from earlier and analyze them in his Esper machine. After perusing the photo, he comes across a mirror and uses it to find Zhora, with a snake tattoo sleeping on a couch. He concludes that the scale belongs to her, and heads to Animoid Row to investigate the scale further.

Upon reaching Animoid Row, Deckard asks the fish vendor if the scale he found is from a fish. The woman informs him that it is not fish but snake, and points him in the direction of Abdul Ben Hassan, the creator of the snake. Deckard makes his way through Animoid Row and threatens Hassan to give up who he sold the snake to. He fins out the snake belongs 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 proceeds to Taffey Lewis', speaking with the owner personally about Zhora. Taffey Lewis merely dismisses Deckard and he is left with a drink on the house. Deckard attempts to call Rachael with the number on the back of her photo, but fails to get her down to Taffey Lewis'. Rachael tells Deckard it's not her kind of place and hangs up on him. Deckard is present for Miss Salome (Zhora) and her snake dance, visibly uncomfortable by the spectacle. He notices, however, that she is the replicant he's been looking for.

After the performance, Deckard hangs around near the dressing rooms waiting for Zhora. He finds her and comes into her dressing room under the guise of a member of the American Federation of Variety Artists. His attempts at hiding his identity only make Zhora more suspicious and, after her shower, she punches him after asking him to dry her. Zhora attempts to strangle Deckard but is interrupted by more performers coming into their room. Zhora flees, with Deckard following shortly after.

Deckard kills zhora

Deckard aims at Zhora, about to kill her

Zhora nearly succeeds in losing Deckard among the crowded streets of Los Angeles, but is eventually hunted down and shot twice in the back. She crashes through several glass panes before succumbing to her injuries. Deckard, visibly shaken, shows his identity to the responding officers and looks on as Zhora is taken away. Moments later, Gaff takes Deckard to Bryant's spinner to inform him that 4 replicants still remain; Rachael being included among them.

Confrontation With Leon

Deckard catches glimpses of Rachael in the crowd of onlookers, and attempts to find her. Before he can, Leon grabs him and demands to know how much life he has left. Deckard answers him honestly, and the two fight. Leon slaps Deckard's gun out of his hands and easily beats down Deckard. As he prepares to gouge Deckard's eyes out, Leon is shot in the head by Rachael with Deckard's gun. He collapses, dead.

Leon and Deckard

Leon confronting Deckard after Zhora's retirement.

Rachael and Deckard

Deckard and Rachael leave the streets and return to his apartment. There, Deckard tells Rachael that he won't hunt her down, but that eventually the LAPD would send another. Before falling asleep, Deckard is asked by Rachael if he'd ever taken the Voight-Kampff test himself. He falls asleep before he answers. Rachael begins to play the piano, and Deckard wakes up. He joins her at the piano, complimenting her that she plays beautifully. Deckard attempts to kiss Rachael who, not yet understanding who or what she is, attempts to leave. Deckard forces Rachael to stay and the two share 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 calls Sebastian's vidphone only to encounter Pris as she answers the call. She immediately hangs up and Deckard moves towards the Bradbury Building to retire her. Pris hides among all of Sebastian's creations, ambushing Deckard and nearly breaking his neck. As Pris prepares to attack him again, Deckard shoots but fails to kill Pris. As she writhes on the ground, it takes two more shots to finally put her out of her misery. Deckard is visibly uncomfortable by this confrontation and moves to a location to ambush Roy Batty.

Meanwhile, Roy returns from his confrontation with Tyrell to find Sebastian's apartment broken in to and Pris shot dead on the ground. After Deckard fails to ambush Roy, he gets his fingers broken by the replicant leader and told to run.

Rooftop Finality

Roy, near the end of his life, chases Deckard throughout the Bradbury Building. Because of his broken fingers, he drops his gun and continues to head for the roof. Roy follows closely, counting up from one and becoming increasingly erratic and more animalistic. Deckard is eventually able to reach the roof, but is confronted by Roy as he attempts to flee. Deckard leaps from the Bradbury Building to a nearby rooftop, but fails to gran hold of anything stable and hangs hundreds of feet above the streets.

Roy, now with a dove in his hands, makes the jump easily and turns to stand above Deckard. Before slipping, Deckard spits at Roy and is shockingly saved from his death by the replicant. Roy places Deckard back onto the roof and gives one final speech about his life experiences before smiling at Deckard and dying peacefully. Deckard is left to contemplate the importance of life while Gaff arrives and gives Deckard his gun back, implying that Deckard's job is done and that it's too bad Rachael won't live.

Fleeing Los Angeles

Deckard returns to his apartment battered and broken. His door open and fearing the worst, Deckard is relieved to find Rachael alive and well in his bed. He asks her if she loves and trusts him, and prepares to leave Los Angeles. Before leaving, Deckard notices that Rachael knocks something over in the hallway. Deckard picks up an origami unicorn, presumably left by Gaff. Deckard nods in understanding and gets in the elevator with Rachael, leaving Los Angeles behind for a new life.

Events of 2020-2048

2021-2040's

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 posses Bo, a dog whose own nature was questionable. By 2049, 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.

Events of 2049

K's Discovery

In 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 is shown a memory bearing by Luv that indicates the replicant Rachael was interviewed by Deckard in 2019. Luv meets with company head Niander Wallace, who desires to find Rachael's child to unlock the secrets of replicant reproduction. He orders 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 takes it to Doctor Badger in order to attain its' place of origin. The wood and the radioactive material on it is traced to Las Vegas, and so K heads 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.

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

Deckard plays the decrepit holograms of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and dancers as he and K have a cat and mouse hunt in the lounge. Eventually, K disarms Deckard and takes Deckard's punches to prove he is not there to harm him. Deckard relents and offers K a drink with him.

Ambushed in Las Vegas

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

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

As Deckard attempts to flee, he fails to make it to his spinner in time before Luv destroys it with a drone missile. Regaining consciousness, Deckard attempts to escape his captors but is overcome and placed in Luv's spinner. K is severely beaten by Luv and his lover, Joi, is destroyed. Beaten and left for dead, K is 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 awakes to find himself in Niander Wallace's Earth Headquarters, a room surrounded by water and artificial life. Wallace enters and proclaims how he has wanted to meet Deckard for some time. Wallace toys with Deckard's true identity; he plays back his Voight-Kampff audio when he first meant Rachael and questions whether or not it was love or mathematical precision that brought the two together. Deckard holds fast, although shaken, and is at a loss for words when Wallace brings 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, claims that her eyes were green and steps away. The clone of Rachael is shot in the head by Luv, and Deckard is 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, is rescued when K intercepts Luv's spinner escort and takes 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 kills Luv and saves Deckard. Deckard exclaims that K should have let him die out there, but K insists 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 takes Deckard to meet Ana Stelline at her memory creation facility. Deckard asks why K saved him and what he was to him. K merely smiles and tells Deckard to go meet his daughter. K dies on the steps of the memory facility, and Deckard puts his hand on the glass separating him and Ana, meeting his daughter for the first time.

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