How did it come to be that Deckard

often considered to be a replicant

started hunting replicants?

  • 16
    If he is a replicant, he doesn't know he's a replicant... And that's his job...
    – TGnat
    Jun 27 '12 at 18:42
  • 7
    Would you be surprised to find humans hunting other humans? Jun 27 '12 at 18:59
  • 3
    Very different. Mercerism was completely dropped from the movie and the significance of live animals was only barely touched on, and only in the Voight-Kampff test.
    – Kyle Jones
    Jun 27 '12 at 19:59
  • 1
    @WilliamJackson - very different as Kyle says, but both are good in their own right. Blade Runner has become something of a classic movie, as long as you don't mind the liberties it took with the source novel Jun 27 '12 at 21:41
  • 1
    @Pureferret I'm not going to enter a revert war, but I think the new title is pointless. There must be a statute of limitations on spoilers. Anyone reading or asking questions about Blade Runner knows by now what the big question about Deckard is. The new title reads almost as awkwardly as "if Deckard is not who he seems he is, how come he is hunting others who are of this kind of thing?" :( I favor straightforward titles almost always. Anyone who hasn't seen Blade Runner yet will be spoiled by just about any random Google search anyway.
    – Andres F.
    Apr 14 '15 at 1:36

Depending on whether you subscribe to the idea of Deckard being a replicant or not, the story revolves around Deckard being a retired cop with an "aptitude" for ferreting out replicants on the run.

Deckard, whose job as a "Blade Runner" was to track down bioengineered beings known as replicants and "retire" them ("retire" being the official term for the killing of replicants), is told by Bryant that several have escaped and come to Earth illegally. As Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 models, they have only a four-year lifespan, and may have come to Earth to try to extend their lives. --Wikipedia entry: Blade Runner

It would appear the Tyrell Corporation created a little too well and replicants would escape and try to blend into the population. But because they were inherently "unstable" psychologically, they would have psychotic episodes as they approached their impending pre-programmed "death."

Having your organic androids killing people tends toward a media failure even for a corporation as large as Tyrell, so they needed someone who could clean up their messes and Deckard (rumored to be a replicant) was excellent at being at the right place at the right time for the "retirement" of said renegade replicants.

  • 6
    Your description is of course correct, but the OP seems to be asking a different question: "if Deckard is a replicant himself, how come he is hunting other replicants?". That is, what is Deckard's motivation, not his employers'.
    – Andres F.
    Feb 14 '13 at 12:58

There are three Ds: Dirty, Dull and Dangerous. Jobs that are any of those three are open to automation, meaning getting humans out of the loop. Thus, robots explore Mars, build our products over and over again, control the insides of nuclear power plants and keep track and dispose of terrorists. As the population of the Earth shrinks, the value of humans increases so the push to replace them grows also. Thus replicants.

Hunting replicants is down to be dirty and dangerous. Certainly this is a job you might want to get humans out of.

Assuming that Deckard is a replicant, it is possible that the programming for him ended where the movie starts: that he was activated and pushed out of a van downtown, decided to get noodles and is picked up by Gaff. It seems unlikely, though. Bryant seems very comfortable with Deckard, which strikes to me that, replicant or no, Deckard had been a Blade Runner for quite some time.

  • 1
    I suscribe to this view. Deckard is doing a dangerous job for which they employ expendable people (i.e. replicants), just as they use them for off-world labor. Either he has been doing this for some time, or they implanted him with memories of doing so. My guess is the former, because like you said, Bryant behaves as if they knew each other, and Bryant is a low-brow cop, not some sort of mastermind. So my guess is Bryant knows Deckard is a replicant, but they've also been doing this job together for some time prior to the movie.
    – Andres F.
    Feb 14 '13 at 13:03
  • Note that Tyrell tells Roy Batty that the 4 year lifespan is the best they could make. However, as another scene somebody (Bryant, I think) tells Deckard informs of the lifespan as something that was put into androids at will, rather than by necessity. It is not hard to assume that Tyrell lied (being afraid), and that Deckard might be an older version of android, which was very good (and might have had human lifespan), but for some reason was deemed not commercially viable and was discontinued. .
    – Gnudiff
    Jul 30 '18 at 10:25

I saw the original theatrical version on VHS back in the day and I have to say I never once got the idea that Deckard was a replicant. I have since seen both the director's cut and the final cut. I have read many excellent fan theories and arguments for both sides. The author of the book Philip K Dick said definitively that in the book Deckard is not a replicant. Harrison Ford said of the character that he is not, and something to the effect that the movie is about the juxtaposition of human vs android emotions. Ridley Scott has said that Deckard definitely is but has also stated that it is up to the viewer and is purposely ambiguous. Here is the real answer. It depends on which version you watch. If it contains the unicorn scene, Deckard is a replicant. If the scene is absent, he is not. In the original theatrical release, Gaff's unicorn is saying, "I know Rachel is with you but I'm going to let you both go because I know she won't live." The unicorn symbolizes that Rachel won't survive just as the unicorns supposedly didn't survive the biblical flood. This goes along with the chicken, which implied Deckard was afraid to take the job. And the man with the erection, which suggested Deckard was enjoying himself and getting back into the job. In the unicorn dream version, Gaff is saying, "I know about your unicorn the same way you knew about Rachel's spider."

  • This doesn't answer the question, does it? It seems to be the answer to a different question, "what evidence is there that Deckard is/isn't a replicant?"
    – Andres F.
    Apr 14 '15 at 0:57
  • Very good points. While maybe not addressing the issue of you consider Deckard to be replicant, it goes towards showing that he ISN'T, because of the author.
    – Gnudiff
    Jul 30 '18 at 10:29

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