'Blade Runner' Flashback: Was Deckard a Replicant?
By David Weiner
Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi classic Blade Runner premiered in cinemas 30 years ago today to disappointing box office numbers, having to compete against such big-screen behemoths as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, The Thing and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ten years later, Scott re-released the film as a director's cut and ruminated to ET about the film's growing cult appreciation -- and whether or not Harrison Ford's character of Deckard was a Replicant!
"What I thought made sense was that [the] Deckard character could possibly be a Replicant, so that's gone back in," Scott told ET in 1992 about his director's cut, which eschewed the ham-fisted narration and also dropped the "happy ending." "I think what would be curious to ask about the Harrison Ford character is was he a [Nexus]-7, or was he an 8? … It's clearly there if you watch even the first version: there's a clue when he picks up the unicorn at the end, that little piece of origami."
Based on Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner starred Ford as a retired Los Angeles detective in 2019 tasked with tracking down a quartet of Nexus-6 Replicants -- perfect androids practically indistinguishable from humans -- who are illegally on Earth seeking to meet their maker and extend their four-year expiration date.
"I think when it was released 10 years ago, for some strange reason, the film played in a rather peculiar fashion," said Scott of the film's initial, tepid reception. "People weren't certain about it. It was only the die-hard science fiction buffs, and people who could take it a little better than the average audience, [who] tended to enjoy it. I think it's fair to say it opened soft, but with great curiosity and great argument."
The Oscar-winning director credited video sales for the staying power of the film, explaining, "People have gone back to it, I think, maybe like a novel, to re-read the novel, and thereby put all the elements in the film in its place, get used to it, and begin to enjoy it."
Of course, now that's he's tackled Prometheus this year -- the controversial Alien prequel -- excitement is building as Scott is returning to Blade Runner for a sequel. Few details have been released about the new story, but it has been revealed that it will take place some years after the first film concluded and will feature a female protagonist. At this stage, the original film's screenwriter, Hampton Fancher, has been recruited to develop the follow-up.
Watch the video for Scott's detailed explanation of how "that little piece of origami" reveals the true nature of Deckard's character in the Blade Runner director's cut…