11

In the 1982 film Blade Runner, a group of six humanoid androids (referred to as "replicants") have violently rebelled against their masters and escaped to Earth in search of a means of prolonging their artificially-short lifespans. The leader of this group of fugitives is a replicant named Roy Batty, and they are being tracked down by retired bounty hunter (referred to as a "blade runner") named Rick Deckard.

Two of the replicants are killed offscreen by blade runner Dave Holden, who is then shot by the replicant Leon while administering a Voight-Kampff test in an attempt to determine Leon's identity. Deckard proceeds to "retire" (in other words, kill) the remaining fugitive replicants one by one, starting with Zohra, then Leon, and then finally Pris shortly before being confronted by Batty.

During their encounter, Batty addresses Deckard by name, and speaks as if he is familiar with him (starting at 1:13 in the following video):

Batty: Not very sporty to fire on an unarmed opponent. I thought you were supposed to be good. Aren't you the "good man"? Come on, Deckard. Show me what you're made of.

However, Batty didn't meet Deckard prior to this. And the only other replicants in his group who did were all retired shortly after meeting him, so none of them had the chance to tell him, even if they had learned his name. And I don't recall any scene where Batty looks him up or learns anything about him.

So, how did Batty know Deckard's name?

3

2 Answers 2

9

So far as I know, your question was first put in publication by Joseph Fancavilla in "The Android as Doppelgänger" (see Retrofitting Blade Runner--edited by poet Judith Kerman, p. 10), but speculation since has accounted for this...

There are gaps in the film, mostly due to budget and time concerns, but early scripts, storyboards, and interviews with actor Joe Turkel indicate that after Roy Batty kills Eldon Tyrell (and J. F. Sebastian) he discovers Tyrell is only a duplicate, a replicant himself.

Further exploring the pyramid, Roy Batty discovers the cryogenically preserved body of the real Tyrell. And here, it is speculated, he likely found a "file" with the name Rick Deckard and indicating Deckard's replicant nature--(note Batty refers to Deckard as "little man" and says "Aren't you the good man?" ironically).

Part of the nature of the film Ridley Scott created included NOT insulting the audience,encouraging them to think and infer things on their own. This is one of those elements, though perhaps irksome as it is only a few plot points.

I mention the crypt in my article "Ridley's Key: The Forgotten Influence of Joseph Losey in Blade Runner" for Luminary Magazine put out by Lancaster University UK's creative writing department, Issue 4 autumn 2014.

I'm not certain who first published this line of speculation, I'm currently researching this.

For another theory on this (less interesting) see Retrofitting Blade Runner film note p. 168 #1:35.

2
  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. While an interesting diversion, I'm not sure we can consider canon a scene (Batty discovering the "real" Tyrell) that wasn't even filmed.
    – DavidW
    Feb 28, 2020 at 19:20
  • 4
    I would suggest that defining "cannon" here is difficult since there are seven versions of the film, plus deleted scenes, multiple published or available scripts, conflicting interviews, and the text of the book from which it was (partly) adapted.It's up to you to decide which version or script or what you would like to interpret. I answered the question by pointing out that it has been put forth by film scholars before. Fancavilla's mention/answer suggests that it is "inexplicable." If you are satisfied with that there is no discussion necessary. The film versions stand up well in any case. Feb 28, 2020 at 19:46
0

I just ran across some of my old notes and found this Wired.com interview (26 Sept 2007) with Ridley Scott in which the director addresses this question of a file on Deckard viewed by Gaff. It seems Roy Batty likely saw the same file after killing Tyrell.:

Wired: Well, it was never on paper that Deckard was a replicant.

Scott: No, it was actually.

Wired: It was on paper?

Scott: " Oh yeah . . . Gaff, just at the very end, leaves a piece of origami, which is a piece of silver paper you might find in a cigarette packet. And it's of a unicorn, right? So, the unicorn that's used 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 basically read your file, mate." Right? So, that file relates to Deckard's first speech to Rachael when he says, "That isn't your imagination, that's Tyrell's niece's daydreams. And he describes a little spider on a bush outside the kitchen door."

There is a link for listening to the interview as well as the full transcript:

https://www.wired.com/2007/09/ff-bladerunner-full/

or see waybackmachine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160313105614/http://www.wired.com/2007/09/ff-bladerunner-full/

1
  • 2
    Maybe this would be better as an addition to your other answer rather than as an autonomous answer? As it is, it does not seem to answer the question ("How did Batty know Deckard's name?").
    – lfurini
    Aug 3, 2022 at 18:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.