This is one of the most enduring debates regarding
Either way, opinions, have been and continue to be, divided.
some, the glowing eyes can leave no doubt whatsoever, while the
unicorn all but spells it out. To others, these are easily dismissed
and must be regarded with a "Deck-a-Rep" viewpoint to
Others insist there is no definitive answer, and that the clues
merely "suggest" Deckard might be a replicant. Some accept
Deckard as a replicant because of the clues, but feel he shouldn't
be, because they feel the movie works just as well if not better
if he's human, or if the question is left "unanswered".
are those who feel that, in the OV, he is human, mainly because
the unicorn dream was cut at the producers' insistence, who felt
the idea was "too arty", and that in the BRDC, he is a
replicant. However, many do not accept that there is any difference
between the versions - you interpret how you will for Blade Runner
as a whole.
Some insist he simply cannot be a replicant because they feel it
doesn't fit with what they have interpreted to be the theme(s) of
the film, whatever those may be.
the director coming forward and stating Deckard is a replicant (which
he has done on several occasions) has done little to stop the ongoing
debate. As he plays with our memories and questions what is real
during the movie, some see the wicked gleam in his eyes when he
makes the statement as indicating that he knows it will make no
difference to the debate. In a 1982 interview, Scott says things
like, "the central character could in fact be what he is chasing",
"The innuendo is still there" and "I think it's interesting
that he could be." All these suggest that the original intent
was to get the audience to ask the question, but not necessarily
to confirm it either way.
Either way, here are some of the facts...
Director Ridley Scott wanted the audience to find out that Deckard
is (or, at the very least, might be) a replicant himself. (In Dick's
original book the possibility was hinted at, but Deckard was eventually
tested and was human.) However, it was a passage in an early version
of the script that gave Scott the idea, even though this "We
were brothers, Roy Batty and I!" passage was intended to be
metaphorical, not literal.) This is still hinted at when Roy grabs
Deckard as he's about to fall and says "Kinship!"
To this end, he put a few "clues" in the film.
The 2 most important ones are the following:
The unicorn "dream", coupled with the origami unicorn,
was meant to strongly "suggest" (at the very least) that
Gaff knows Deckard's memories, like Deckard knew Rachael's, by having
looked at her files, evidently containing detailed information about
her memory implants...
2. In one scene, you can see Deckard's eyes glow briefly, in a
similar way to the replicants' eyes.
the possibility of Deckard being a replicant is hinted at in some
of the movie's dialogue; for instance, at one point Rachael asks
Deckard if he's ever taken the test himself (Deckard dozes off,
however, leaving the audience to ponder the question). Also, at
the end of the movie, Gaff tells Deckard: "You've done a man's
job, sir!" While this is a common expression, within the movie's
context the double meaning should be apparent - which was the intention.
(It's not conclusive evidence or anything, but what the heck.)
Note: in early versions of the script, Gaff's line was actually
longer - and somewhat less than subtle - adding: "... But are
you sure you are man? It's hard to be sure who's who around here."
However, as this is not in the film, we are just left with the "man's
job" line which can just as easily be taken as the literal
statement of a man defeating replicants.
So, in the end, is he a replicant or not? It all depends on how
one interprets the clues and perhaps even one's perception of the
answer before one chooses the interpretations of clues and lines.
All we can be sure about is that whether Deckard is a replicant
or not is not really the point. The fact that we ask the question
and cannot be totally sure underlines the old Philip K. Dick question,
"What is Human?"
How can Deckard be a replicant if the replicants he has to deal
with are clearly all stronger than him?
The replicants he was up against were all physically superior (A-level);
Rachael, to name another replicant was also Nexus 6, yet she did
not exhibit any of the superhuman abilities/traits the other reps
So evidently you have all kinds of replicants, from A-level (the
strongest) to possibly B- and C- classes. (As evidenced in the information
given at the briefing by Capt. Bryant, there are also mental classes
ranging from A (your regular genius) over B (average?) to C (not
This inevitably brings up the question: what is the purpose of
making a rep with average human abilities. Once again, consider
Rachael's case. She was a replicant who wasn't supposed to know
about it. In order to pull this off, she would have to have "average"
human abilities, not the superhuman qualities that Batty or Leon,
for example, had (because otherwise she would find out right away
that she was a replicant). And implanted memories, but that's another
discussion in itself...
Likewise, if Deckard was supposed to be a replicant, and he wasn't
supposed to know about it, the *only way* to pull it off (without
letting him find out or making him suspicious) would be to give
him average human skills and abilities, and NOT make him a terminator
of sorts. Unfortunately this would indeed mean he has to deal with
physically stronger opponents.