Can Blade Runner 2049 Finally End The Deckard Replicant Debate?

Blade Runner

Depending on which of the eight (!) different cuts of Blade Runner you’ve seen, the question of Rick Deckard’s status—human or Replicant?—can have different answers.

The Director’s Cut, released in 1992 after a lost 70mm print of the film was discovered in the archives of a post-production company, contains a unicorn dream scene that seems to make it clear that Deckard is more machine than man, a Replicant of the same generation that Rachel is. The Final Cut also contains this scene, but in an extended version. The significance of the unicorn dream comes from the connection to the origami unicorn Gaff leaves as a message to Deckard: it means that Deckard’s memories are probably implants, like Rachel’s spider trauma.

Previous cuts of the film didn’t include the dream scene, making the answer to the is-he-or-isn’t-he debate far less clear. Eventually, Ridley Scott himself weighed in (probably so interviewers would stop asking him about it), saying that yes, Deckard is a product of Tyrell Corporation. Debate: over.

Or is it? With the announcement that Denis Villeneuve would be making a sequel to the film, an entirely new crop of fan theories have sprung up. Blade Runner 2049 takes place 30 years after the original film and sees Ryan Gosling’s character seeking out Harrison Ford’s Deckard, who has been in hiding, we can assume, since we last saw him in the original film—three decades ago, according to the movie’s timeline.

What does that mean as far as incept dates and the built-in four-year lifespan that Tyrell equips Replicants with as a fail-safe to prevent them from developing an immunity to the Voight-Kampff test? Is Deckard actually human or is he some kind of next-level Nexus with a much longer lifespan? Was Rachel?

Oh man, Roy’s gonna be so mad.