Later this year, director Denis Villeneuve will attempt to pick up the baton passed by Sir Ridley Scott and deliver a Blade Runner sequel that extends a story that started roughly 30 years ago. But which version of Blade Runner is Villeneuve trying to build on? It's a fair question, as Ridley Scott's masterpiece has no fewer than five official versions thanks to Director's Cuts, Theatrical Cuts and Final Cuts that have been released over the years. And in each one, the answer to whether or not Harrison Ford's detective, Rick Deckard, is human or artificial changes drastically. So what's the right answer? Villeneuve tells CinemaBlend that the two men responsible for Blade Runner still can't agree. He says:
I was raised with the first [movie], and then later on, I discovered what was the original dream of Ridley. So I really loved his version, too. The key to making this [new] movie was to be in between. Because the first movie was a story of a human being falling in love with a designed human being -- an artificial human being. And the story of the second movie is a replicant that doesn't know he's a replicant, who slowly discovers his own identity. So, those are two different stories. I felt that the key to deal with that was in the novel of Philip K. Dick. Which was that, in the novel, that characters are doubting themselves. They are not sure if they are replicants or not. From time to time, the detectives are having to go and perform [tests] on themselves to make sure they are really humans. I love that.
So I decided that the movie... Deckard, in the movie, is unsure, as we are, of what his identity is. Because I love that. I love mystery. That's an interesting thing to me. I really love that. Again, Harrison and Ridley are still arguing about that. If you put them in the same room, they don't agree. And they start to talk very loud when they do. It's very funny.
The debate over Rick Deckard's true identity has raged ever since Blade Runner first hit screens in 1982, and the different cuts of the movie (which added new endings, and a narrator track, to alternate versions) only added fuel to the fire. In the story, Deckard is a futuristic police officer tasked with hunting down replicants, or robots meant to conduct labor for humans. Only, it's unclear whether or not Rick's a replicant himself.
During San Diego Comic-Con this summer, we sat down for a lengthy chat with Denis Villeneuve as he prepared to show off a ton of footage for his Blade Runner 2049, and it was during this conversation that we learned that Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford still don't have a definitive answer on Rick's true identity. And isn't that what we love about good sci-fi? There are no easy answers in a deep science-fiction discussion. This ambiguity just makes us more excited for Blade Runner 2049.
The most recent trailer for Denis Villeneuve's upcoming sequel can be seen below:
Where do you stand on the Rick Deckard discussion? I was pretty much convinced that Rick was a replicant. But if that's the case, how could he have aged to the point where we see him in Blade Runner 2049? This should be answered on October 6, when the movie opens. And yet, seeing as how Scott and Ford are still arguing about the original decades later, nothing is guaranteed.