[Note: The following article contains spoilers for Blade Runner 2049. Turn back if you haven’t seen it yet.]
One of the many reasons why Blade Runner is such a classic film is that it’s been debated, picked over, and dissected for decades now, and people are still having arguments about it. Obviously one of the chief questions is whether Harrison Ford’s lead character Rick Deckard is a replicant, which was even a point of contention between Ford and director Ridley Scott. The filmmaker maintains that Deckard is a replicant, while Ford was adamant that Deckard is not.
With director Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049 offering up brand new questions while answering some old ones, fans may have anticipated the sequel to answer that replicant question definitively once and for all. Unfortunately (or fortunately, maybe) it does not. At the end of Blade Runner 2049, the film still does not explicitly reveal whether Deckard is a replicant, but it does muddy the question even further with some other major reveals about what Deckard has been up to in the past 30 years.
So when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub spoke with Blade Runner 2049 writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, he asked them what they personally believe—is Deckard a replicant? Fancher was quick to answer absolutely not:
“Yeah, I always [believed] he’s not a replicant. I thought if he’s a replicant, the game’s over. I think he doesn’t know, also. So to make him a replicant—Ridley from the beginning [said] he’s a replicant, and I from the beginning said he’s not, or we shouldn’t know if he is, I don’t know if he is. The press has always asked me, I don’t know. And when Ridley put in the ostensible evidence that he is, the red eyes or whatever, in Blade Runner 1 I didn’t like that.”
Green followed up by saying it’s important that the question remains unanswered in the context of the films:
“The fact that it’s a question is what’s important. The puzzle of Blade Runner, one of the many reasons it’s the classic it is, is that the chasing for authenticity is both baked into the narrative of the story and the meta-narrative of the film that there is no authentic answer to that question. Which just meant that telling the further story, that had to be baked into the story as well, that everyone who watches it has that question of which version should I watch, what does that mean, and the answer is you don’t get to know. Generally American audiences are very uncomfortable with that level of irresolution. Blade Runner challenges that and it’s not just an American favorite, it’s a global favorite.”
Indeed, as we learn in Blade Runner 2049 Deckard fathered a child with Rachel (Sean Young), which poses even more questions. We know Rachel is definitely a replicant, so what’s more significant: two replicants procreating, or the creation of a replicant/human hybrid? The question remains unanswered at the end of the movie, and in fact what’s important is that Deckard’s love for Rachel endured all these years and he’s finally able to see their child for the first time. Does Deckard’s love and yearning mirror that of K’s (Ryan Gosling), another replicant? That’s up for the viewer to decide.