a) No Happy Ending
Blade Runner was intended to be a sort of a film noir movie, and film noirs don't end with happy-ever-after endings, because life isn't like that or rarely is like that. And the ending that the first release of Blade Runner had ended with the two driving off into the wastelands, and for it to be a Film Noire, Ridley wanted a dark side to the story of the central character, Deckard and for Ridley it made sense that Deckard could possibly have been a replicant.
The film with its part Kafka-esque, part Marlowe-esque and part Film Noire, then there's a kind of a logic in the full circle of that kind of a dark story, it would make sense that whoever the authorities were at that particular time, perhaps it's the Tyrell corporation, and since we are talking in terms of Nexus androids, with the androids who are being hunted down as Nexus-6 models, and Rachael Tyrell as another model who doesn't know she's even a replicant, perhaps they would put a Nexus-7 or perhaps even a Nexus-8 out on the road to see how it would fair out in the environment of the outside world and that would be Deckard.
b) Deckard's metamorphosis into replicant
In the final version of the screenplay that Hampton Fancher wrote before David Peoples stepped in, he ended the film with Deckard coming back home and sitting down at his piano. There was a close-up of Deckard's hand going down towards the keys ... and suddenly his hand cramped up, just like Batty's did in actual film. The viewer wasn't supposed to be certain it's the same thing, but it look an awful lot like a replicant clench. Then that image froze, the music would come up leading to the end of the film. The last shot of the picture. This appeared to provide the seed of the idea that Deckard should actually be ironically a replicant.
The whole point in creating this ending in the first places was to make the audience to walk away thinking "Is Deckard like Batty?" and perhaps that audience member might want to take an empathy test and constantly monitor their own emotional temperature as well.
However it wasn't until David People's had rewritten the script that Ridley took note, In his first draft on December 15th 1980, Deckard kills Gaff because Gaff tried to terminate Rachael, thee Deckard takes Rachael to the beach - and he kills her too. Next he returns to his apartment. Then he's sitting in his bedroom laying out ammunition for his gun, because Deckard knows that someone from the police department is going to come to his apartment and try and shoot him for murdering Gaff.
At this point Peoples' invented a kind of contemplative voice-over for Deckard. "I wonder who designs the ones like me... and what choices we really have, and which ones we just think we have. I wondered if I had really loved her. I wondered which of my memories were real and which belonged to someone else. The great Tyrell hadn't designed me, but whoever had hadn't done so much better. "You 're programmed, too," she told me, and she was right. In my own modest way, I was combat model. Roy Batty was my late brother."
What Peoples' intended with this voice-over was mostly meta-physical. Deckard was supposed to be philosophically questioning himself about what it was that made him so different from Rachael and the other replicants. He was supposed to be realizing that, on the human level, they weren't so different. That Deckard wanted the same things the replicant did. So according to Peoples, the 'maker' he was referring to wasn't literally Tyrell, either. It was supposed to be God. Basically, Deckard was just musing about what it meant to be human.
But it seemed that then Ridley read this and took it too literally. Because right about this period of time he started announcing, 'Ah-ha! Deckard's a replicant! What brilliance! How Heavy Metal!' People was quite confused by this response, because Ridley kept giving him all this praise and credit for this terrific idea. It wasn't until many years later, when People happened to be browsing through his draft, that he suddenly realized the metaphysical material he had written could just as easily have been read to imply that Deckard was a replicant. Even though it wasn't what he meant at all.
What peoples had meant was that we all have a maker, and we all have an incept date but we can't address them and this made humans similar to the replicants. They couldn't go find Tyrell but Tyrell was up there somewhere. So what Peoples had intended as a sort of a metaphysical speculation, Ridley had seen differently because of the ambiguous nature of the speech.
Ridley would run with this idea to another level with the idea was that Deckard thought about the possibilities of himself being a replicant, but there would never be a scene where he would say it or speak it. Instead he would say with great irony, and as if he almost hated himself, when he describes to Rachel Tyrell the replicant that it's not her own inner most thoughts that she's having but Tyrell's niece's, but she doesn't believe him, so he's able to describe a couple of details that he knows from her files in her head and out of that he upsets her. Ridley got a funny feeling that Deckard is quite upset with himself and that he's showing a bit of humanity there where's he clearly not happy with what he just did. So in Ridley's eyes there's an evolution of a character who's getting interested in his quarry which is beyond consideration, since if one is a cop you can not get involved.
In PK Dick's original story, there was the idea that Deckard becoming something no better than the replicants he was hunting, so one might wonder if something of that crossed into the final idea, because as the story evolves that he gets involved in that world and he to discovers that he is a replicant.
Within the context of the overall story, although it was not part of the original book, for Ridley having Deckard be a replicant would the only reasonable solution, but with an important scene indicating this cut from the final film, one might get some clues, especially the ending, some by slight innuendo, that Deckard is indeed a replicant. At the end there's a kind of confirmation that he is, or at least that he believes it possible. He noticed that the French got it immediately from the first release.
c) Glowing eyes
In editing Ridley regularly conversed with Terry Rawlings about how to best suggest that Deckard was an android. Terry loved the subtlety of the idea of showing Deckard character's eyes glowing when Harrison was at the doorway of his kitchen behind Sean Young and noted that Ridley had blocked that out very carefully because he purposely put Harrison in the background of that shot, and slightly out of focus, so that the viewer would only notice his eyes were glowing if paying attention and it was meant to be subtle. It wasn't as if Ridley wanted the bring out of troupe of dancing bears holding up neon signs reading "Deckard is a replicant!" Even if Ridley felt that Deckard was a replicant, Terry was sure that the intention was to leave it up to the viewer to decide whether Deckard was actually one. In the actual film it seemed to be something that could only be glimpsed.
In the scene in Deckard's bathroom, when Rachael asks Deckard if he would follow her if she left, he says he wouldn't and then leaves the room, but he stops, puts his hand on her shoulder and says "But someone would." When he says this, Deckard's eyes have a red glow, the same effect seen in the other replicants' eyes and in Tyrell's owl. In relation to this scene, Ridley Scott maintains that that effect was purposely set up and executed on the set, but Harrison Ford denies this, saying it was unintended. As far as Harrison was concerned he might have strayed into Sean Young's light.
However Hampton Fancher's response to seeing the glowing eyes, presumably in the replicants in general was "Aw shit" because in his script, he wanted to make it much more ambiguous about whether Ford was a replicant or not, having it as an afterthought in a world where you could have many uncertainties about the nature of reality, and in that reality, replicants built to be as like humans as far as possible was a reality to the point that some replicants didn't actually know that they were not human, perhaps members of the audience could start asking themselves if they were in some way replicants, one might even ask if Hampton Fancher himself was a replicant, that the real one was replaced long ago, but there's the idea for people to jokingly playing with behind the scenes perhaps in a state Kafka-esque thought. But having a final word on whether Deckard was one or not was too much. He also thought that the glowing eyes effect seemed too much like a vampire from a horror movie, near enough like a B-movie trick.
d) Slipping in the Unicorn Dream
In the climax of one of David People's final drafts, where Rachel and Deckard are driving away from the city at the end of the film and spot a unicorn by the side of the road, and this was somehow supposed to tie in with Deckard's previous dreams
Originally Ridley wanted Deckard to have an unusual daydream while he was sitting at the piano, something like a very private thought, one that the character Gaff would later know without being told. It would suggest that Deckard would have had a memory implant that Gaff had been privy to and that Deckard was a replicant. At first Ridley couldn't figure out what he wanted the daydream to look like. He kept thinking and rethinking the basic concept until, finally, he hit on a unicorn. In turn this would explain the significance of Gaff leaving a tinfoil unicorn for Deckard to find at the end of the picture, letting him know that he knew Deckard's private thoughts.
But the decision to have a unicorn dream had come late in the day, and Ridley wasn't able to film the scene until they returned to England for post-production. Ridley was thinking about the next movie and there was a project that they were working on called Legend, which they affectionately referred to at Leg End.
In terms of the unicorn scene, Ridley went out to film it in January 1982 at Black Park in England, which was a small wooded area complete with lake situated very close to Pinewood Studios. A white stallion was secured through a British film animal rental service to serve as the Unicorn. The creature's horn was constructed out of polystyrene and applied to the horse's forehead by Nick Allder who had earlier done special effects for Alien. However Ridley didn't divulge to Ivor his long term collaborator what his intentions were at the time with this scene. Perhaps Ridley had something else in mind but as far as Ivor thought "Well, we're just slipping in this little thing which is a little test" , but it turned out to be something more than just a test.
It was filmed as if it were for Legend and at the time it seemed like test footage to Ivor Powell who was acting as executive producer of Blade Runner.
As Terry Rawling edited it in, he wanted it to work like Deckard's thoughts. So he would pick up a photograph, look at it remembering and then the viewer would see the unicorn running through the forest coming towards the viewer and right up to the camera when it would stake its head and at that moment, the shot would cut to Deckard shaking his head as if he were shaking his thoughts away and for Terry this made it such a lyrical piece and magic.
Ridley considered that it was not the unicorn in the dream that was important, it was actually the green landscape that they should be noticing, because his original thought was to never show a green landscape during the movie and the viewer would only see an urban world. So he figured that since this moment offered the pictorial opportunity of a dream, what not show a unicorn, and why in a forest, it would have been an image so out of place with the rest of the picture that if it ran for only three seconds, the audience would clearly understand it was some sort of reverie.
e) Losing the Unicorn
What happened in the production was that he needed to put the unicorn dream sequence in for the initial version of the movie and the others involved in the discussion didn't want it. Tandem Productions (one of the film’s financial backers) really didn't see eye to eye with Ridley's subtle ideas and were eager to throw them away but this all tied together in the final frames of the film when Deckard picks up the unicorn. It was cut and would be lost for decades to come. Another scene that went was when Deckard stood behind Rachael in his apartment and Deckard is out of focus but in that shot he has a glow in his eyes which might get people to ask if he's a replicant.
They were asking "What's this unicorn?"
Ridley would reply "If you don't get it, what's the point in me explaining it?"
They were telling Ridley, "If it doesn't mean anything, we're gonna cut it out."
Ridley said "Well, it's a fundamental part of the story."
They replied "Well, isn't it obvious that he's a replicant?"
Ridley then replied "No more obvious than that he's not a replicant at the end."
In the end, it becomes a matter of choice for the viewer.
f) The Point Of The Unicorn Revery
With that Unicorn sequence, when Harrison Ford as Deckard sits at his piano looking at all the photographs and wondering who these people are and what they're after, he's drinking to the point of being a bit drunk, then Ford begins to look at a picture, and - flash! - there is quick cut of a unicorn running through a forest. Then this goes away and the Deckard character carries on looking at his snapshot. Then comes another cut of a unicorn coming right up to the camera, it then shoot its head and in the editing Terry Rawling cut back to Ford shaking his head, as if he was shaking a thought out of his mind and saying to himself "Memories'. As if memories of his own were coming back and the thoughts were being triggered by the photos. He mulled those images over and then shook the memories out of his head. Then Ford laid down the pictures and the scene continued as the viewer would see it, with the Deckard character picking up and taking Leon's photo over to the Esper.
The thoughts would never occur again. At the end of the movie when he returns to his apartment and thinks that the others have gone in there and killed her, on his way out discovers a piece of origami representing a unicorn left behind by Gaff. In the first version of the film when Deckard finds the origami, perhaps one might assume he was thinking "Oh, so Gaff was here, and he let Rachael live." rather than "Oh my god! Am I a replicant too?"
But Ridley sees that Deckard is nodding, understanding and agreeing, when he picks up the silver unicorn realising something, in a way he glints and looks angry. Doing the job he does, reading the files that he reads on the other replicants, Deckard may have wondered at one point "Am I a human or am I a replicant?"
David Peoples saw how Ridley getting excited over the whole notion of Gaff's origami, because it meant that Edward Olmos could leave that unicorn sculpture behind at Deckard's apartment at the end
That would be a representation of Deckard's innermost thoughts, and what Ridley's point of view was a fully fleshed out possibility to justify the look at the end. To him it's an affirmation, Deckard nods, he agrees" "Ah hah! Gaff was here. I've been told."
One of the layers of the film has been talking about private thoughts and memories , so how would Gaff have known that a private thought of Deckard was of a unicorn? That's why Deckard shook his head like that. And would Gaff represent the authorities and the higher authorities know who he is. What Gaff has said through the unicorn is "I know something you don't know, that you should know and think no one else knows, is that you dream of unicorns in your down time."
g) Harrison's Take
Harrison Ford however was on record saying that Deckard was not a replicant. On the other hand that was when the movie came out and twenty years later he'd given up and said to Ridley " Okay mate. You win! Anything! Just put it to rest."
During the time of the making of the movie, Harrison asked Ridley whether or not he though that the character he was playing was a Replicant, and Ridley didn't give him a straight answer as if to preserve his options, which to Harrison was okay, although the unicorn origami would have been an indication that Deckard was a replicant.
Harrison thought himself that it was important that the audience be able to have a human representative on screen who was somebody that they could have an emotional understanding of. Having said that Harrison resisted the idea of being a replicant, as he supposed a replicant would.
It also seemed to him as if Ridley didn't think it was all that important but on the other hand, Ridley might have wanted Harrison to play the role that he was given as a human and that human being might have had some uncertainty about whether he was a replicant or not.
h) The Views of the other actors
Sean Young wasn't made aware of this idea about Deckard being a replicant, neither was M Emmet Walsh who played Bryant.
However Edward J Olmos who played Gaff was aware of what his character was doing with the unicorn origami to share with Deckard that he was a replicant also and perhaps was only too glad to follow the intracy of the this situation as long as it was done in a subtle way.
Rutger Hauer as much as he was aware of what Ridley wanted Deckard to be, he only saw it as on one level a mattering of emotional understanding. Indeed Deckard behaves like a replicant because he's programmed so, but ironically, the viewer, through the very actions of the replicants , would understand that it is they who are free, and on another level it seemed to be almost like a joke and that's where the unicorn came from
i) The Views Of Other Members Of The Production
Further behind the scenes, Douglas Trumbull in charge of special effects had no idea, and the art director David Snyder only assumed he was a human, but the concept artist Syd Mead as with the way Ridley thought, that it was the only possible conclusion. But he thought thought that it was because you didn't need just one more super intelligent detective hunting these replicants down. So he thought that this is why Bryant called him in , and so in the room, everyone apart from Deckard knew about the fact.
Hampton Fancher the earlier script writer only talked about about how when he saw the unicorn in the director's cut, he saw it as a symbol but it didn't mean that someone should say "Oh, that shows that Deckard's a replicant." If someone thought that, then he could have thought they were wrong despite what Ridley might have said.
When Ridley came up with the concept of an origami unicorn and a full-sized one, Hampton initially rejected the concept, but when he saw the movie, he was in a way happy about how Ridley had handled it. The tin foil origami hit a lot of levels for him. It offered a question that seemed interesting to him although it resulted in an answer that he found stupid.
- Danny Peary: In the Novel, Deckard constantly worries he will mistakenly kill a human he thinks is a replicant.
Ridley Scott: At one stage, we considered having Deckard turn out to be, ironically, a replicant. In fact, if you look at the film closely, especially the ending, you may get some clues - some by slight innuendo - that Deckard is indeed a replicant. At the end there's a kind of confirmation that he is - at least he believes it possible. Within the context of the overall story, whether it's true or not in the book, having Deckard be a replicant is the only reasonable solution (Omni: Screen Flights/Screen Fantasies, p302)
- DECKARD (V.O.): I knew it on the roof that night. We were brothers, Roy Batty and I! Combat models of the highest order. We had fought in wars not yet dreamed of... in vast nightmares still unnamed. We were the new people... Roy and me and Rachael! We were made for this world. It was ours! (Blade Runner screenplay February 23, 1981)
- Narrator: And the new director's cut with its fleeting vision of a unicorn also posed a question which has become the key enigma of Blade Runner, the possibility that even its human hero is actually a product of new technology, an android dreaming of electric sheep. So is Deckard Really a replicant?
Douglas Trumball:Aha I don't know. I still don't know, that is enigma
M Emmet Walsh: No, I never thought he was a replicant, no, that's never, not in my mind
David Snyder: I think Deckard is real guy and I think he's, he's in pain for it, and he knows he's going to live a long time, like suffer
Syd Mead:Yes, of course he is , otherwise the movie doesn't make sense, you don't need just one more super intelligent detective you know, hunting these people down. Erm, Bryant calls him in deliberately. He's a replicant and they all know it except Deckard
Rutger Hauer: I know that Ridley wanted him to be but I think that's kind of like a joke, and that's where the unicorn came from. (On the Edge of Blade Runner documentary)
- Ridley Scott: When Harrison's on his piano, looking at all the
photographs and wondering who these people are and what they're after,
he's drinking, he's a bit drunk there and as he drinks, you go off into
the unicorns, so it's a revery, and that was the only reference right
there to this abstract image which is a unicorn, because at the end of
it he comes out of his thought process, and that never occurs again
until the end of the movie, because when he comes to that apartment, he
thinks he's gone in there and killed her 'cause they know where she is,
and er, when they come out, there it is, certainly a unicorn.
Interviewer: And it means .
Ridley Scott: He's a replicant (On the Edge of Blade Runner documentary)
- Ridley Scott: I think he absorbs, he thinks about the possibilities of it, yeah, but there is never a scene where he would say it or speak it, you see. Instead he would say with great irony, and as if he almost hated himself, when he describes to a replicant , it's not her inner most thoughts she's having, it's Deckard's niece, and she doesn't believe him so he's able to describe a couple of details that he knows from her files in her head and out of that he upsets her, and out of that, i get a funny feeling he's quite upset, and I think he... with himself, and I think, er, he shows a bit of humanity there where he's clearly not happy for what he just did. So gradually you have an evolution of a character who's getting interested in his quarry, which is beyond consideration. If you're, if you're a cop, you can not get involved, and er, he starts to get involved, and er, and so, essentially, you have a Humphrey Bogart film evolving in front of that world, or Sam Spade is basically the er a personification of that downward healed cop isn't he, and that's what he is. (American Institute, uploaded 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZPg1CSPSII )
- Harrison Ford: There was a bit of contest between Ridley and I over whether or not Deckard, the character I played, was a, was a replicant or not, and erm, erm, Ridley preserved his options, erm and he did at the end indicate, er, er, with one little, erm, bit of origami, erm, that er, that Deckard may in fact be a replicant. From myself, I, I, I felt that it was important for the audience to have a, a human representation, on er, on screen that they could identify with, so I resisted the idea of being a replicant, I suppose, as a replicant would. (American Film Institute, uploaded 2010, https://www.youtube.com)
- Harrison Ford: I was moved to ask Ridley whether or not he thought that the character I was playing was a Replicant. Well, I never got a straight answer. Which is okay, I guess. But I thought it was important that the audience be able to have a human representative on screen, somebody that they could have an emotional understanding of. Ridley didn’t think that was all that important. (AFI event, 2013, text taken from http://www.digitalspy.co.uk)
- Wired: You shot the unicorn dream sequence as part
of the original production. Why didn't you include it in either the
work print or the initial release?
Scott:As I said, there was too much discussion in the room. I wanted it. They didn't want it. I said, "Well, it's a fundamental part of the story." And they said, "Well, isn't it obvious that he's a replicant?" And I said, "No more obvious than that he's not a replicant at the end." So, it's a matter of choice, isn't it?
Wired: When Deckard picks up the origami unicorn at the end of the movie, the look on his face says to me, "Oh, so Gaff was here, and he let Rachael live." It doesn't say, "Oh my God! Am I a replicant, too?" .
Scott:No? Why is he nodding when he looks at this silver unicorn? I'm not going to send up a balloon. Doing the job he does, reading the files he reads on other replicants, Deckard may have wondered at one point, "Am I human or am I a replicant?" That's in his innermost thoughts. I'm just giving you the fully fleshed-out possibility to justify that look at the end, where he kind of glints and looks angry. To me, it's an affirmation. He nods, he agrees. "Ah hah! Gaff was here. I've been told." .
Wired: Harrison Ford is on record saying Deckard is not a replicant. .
Scott:Yeah, but that was, like, 20 years ago. He's given up now. He said, "OK, mate. You win! Anything! Just put it to rest."(http://archive.wired.com/)
- Interviewer: I know that you're no longer going to be directing Blade Runner 2, do you expect the film to be addressing the ongoing debate about whether Deckard is or isn't a replicant
Ridley Scott: He is definitely a replicant
Interviewer:That's what I always thought
Christian Bale: D'you like that
Interviewer: Yes, I do, that's my, that's what I think, well I don't
Christian Bale: Did you win money? Did you win money on that?
Interviewer: I should have put a bet on it, I wish that I had now
Ridley Scott: It's a 'dugh/duck', it's a 'dugh/duck' (?). Because he picks up that unicorn, looks at it and goes "ungh woah, oh god", he is, the whole investment early on through the whole movie the origami you see was there, and said " I know something you don't know, that you should know, think no one else knows, is that you dream of unicorns, unicorns in your down time", and people go "whaaat?", see you weren't paying attention. ( Entertainment: Blade Runner. 26 Nov 2014 )
- Ridley Scott: I
didn't set out to make the film as a warning, I set out the film
because it was a really interesting premise, and I thought the challenge
of presenting near future was much more interesting than presenting far
future. Erm, and by definition of that, it becomes a warning.
I think we're going to be closer than the film, I think. And there was, what's happening around us is getting there, is escalating awfully fast. I don't necessarily mean in terms of the, of er, replication, although that is actually happening. I think there was actually an application erm, to the senate three years ago of er, replication of farm animals, erm, pig, sheep, chickens, for obviously consumption, erm, which I think was turned down, but it's very interesting, it's like one step before, you know.
Audiences change and er ten years is what, a cycle, and erm, I think that when it was released ten years ago, for some strange reason, the film played in a rather peculiar fashion. People weren't certain about it, it was only the few, you know die hards, erm, err, or the die hard science fiction buffs and people who could take it a little better than the average, the average audience, attended it and enjoyed it. In other words I think it was, fair to say open soft, but with great curiosity and great argument and I was accused of being a manic depressive and all kinds of things and I was saying "Guys, I see this in the street every day. You know I'm just making a movie here"
And I think what happened is with the you know, the video sales and the laser disc sales, people have gone back to it I think, maybe like a novel, to reread the novel, and thereby put all the elements in the film in its place, get used to it and begin to enjoy it and I think that's what's happened
ET: What's changed in your original version. What were the differences in your original version of the one that we all saw
Ridley Scott: Um the voice over had gone completely. Both, I think Harrison and I were both, you know, a little unhappy about having to impose a voiceover onto an audience that works occasionally with movies, but in this instance, I think becomes an interruption and so you're kind of , y-you come disassociated from the movie by getting this verbal information, when you find out what he's telling you later anyway which is the whole point of making a movie. Um, the happily, happy ever en.., ha..., you know, happy ever after ending, er, Film Noires don't end that way, because life aint like that or is rarely like that. Er, the ending that we have now is, well you will see what the ending is when you see the film and also the idea, I always felt in here, the, especially as it was a kind of, erm, fff... yeah, film noire, erm, er, I felt that er, there should be a, you know, clearly a dark side to this, to the story of the central character, of the Deckard character, erm, I mean, in himself, er, and what I thought was, made sense, that this Deckard character could possibly have been a replicant, so that's gone back in
The film is a little bit Kafka-esque, is a little bit Marlowe-esque, is a little bit Film Noire, then in a way, in the tradition of that idea, there's a kind of a logic in the full circle of that kind of dark story, is that, it would seem to make sense that, erm the, whoever the authorities were at that particular time, let's say the Tyrell corporation, erm, would certainly put a Nexus-7 out on the road to see how he would fair in the, in , in, in the, in the world, in the environment
ET: But they gave him then as they gave her, a neverending life which would make them that big different
Ridley Scott: Well she had a limited life span, as had the Roy Batty character
ET: But Roy Batty had a four year life span.
Ridley Scott:With her, we never knew.
ET: We never knew
Ridley Scott:It was open because she was arguably the next stage, or Nexus, was she a six or was she a seven. I think what would be curious to ask about the Harrison Ford character is what he a seven or was he an eight
ET: That's what I'm asking
Ridley Scott: Yeah, that's what's, that's the question
ET: We're not going to find out from the.. (re-release?)
Ridley Scott: No, no, but you'll, you'll wonder. You'll wonder, it's clearly there, if you watch the, even the first version, you'll won, you'll, if , if, there's a clue when he picks up the unicorn at the end, that little piece of origami, which was, this , the character Eddie Olmos was always leaving his little origami around everywhere, his comments on what he felt, and he left his visiting card, and there was this origami, which is the unicorn. Harrison Ford picks it up, looks at it, it's almost like a conformation, his reaction 'cause he nods, understands and agrees. So I put something back in earlier which will tell you, indicate that he could be.
ET: But he knows who he is
Ridley Scott:No, he doesn't know who he was and therefore, it's like, it's like, from the story, I'm hoping you'll get that he's suddenly aware of the fact that the Eddy Olmos character representing the authorities, the higher authorities knows who he is.
- Edward James Olmos: Of course the ending is based on Gaff leaving at the base of the elevator to share with Deckard the fact that he was a replicant also.(Future Shocks)
- Interviewer:Was Deckard a replicant? Sean Young: No, I don't , I don't know, because it's not like Ridley would tell me what he was telling Harrison (Future Shocks)
- M. Emmet Walsh: I don't know, i don't know (Future Shocks)
- Philip K Dick: The main difference between what Ridley's views this all in terms of and what I view it all in terms of is as follows: to me the replicants, or androids if you will are deplorable because they are heartless, they are completely self centred, they don't care what happens to other creatures and to me this is essentially a less than human entity for that reason. Now Ridley says he regards them as Supermen who couldn't fly. He said they are smarter than humans, they are stronger than humans and they have faster reflexes than humans. That's rather a great divergence you see. We've gone from somebody who is a simulation of the authentic human to someone who is literally superior to the authentic human. So we've we've now flipped and i said now the theme of the book is that Rick Deckard is dehumanized in his job of tracking down the replicants and killing them. In other words, he winds up essentially like they are. And Ridley said that he regarded that as an intellectual idea and he was not interested in making an esoteric film. (Blade Runner DVD box set, Electric Dreamer, disc 4) (Dangerous Days)
- Ivor Powell: Towards the end on Blade Runner I know we were thinking about the next movie. And there was this project that we were working on, which was called Legend, affectionately known as Leg End.
- Ridley Scott: Behind Penn was this beautiful Black Park.About two and a half thousand acres of great, like, Robin Hood forest. And, erm, we got one of Vic's horses out there. I always believed he's gonna come out the trees, gonna gallop down towards me, gonna pass between the two trees, gonna pass right in front of the camera.That's exactly what he did. He shook his head tried to get the unicorn off, he shook his head right there so it was absolutely perfect. (Dangerous Days)
- Ivor Powell: Ridley never, ever kind of divulged what was going on in his mind at that time. And I thought: "Well, we're just slipping in this little thing which is a little test." You know, unfortunately, that went on to the, you know, the Blade Runner tab for another film. But Ridley maybe did have something else in his mind. It was something more than a test. (Dangerous Days documentary)
- Terry Rawling: I wanted it to work like the thoughts of his. So he would pick up a photograph he would then start looking at it and remembering and you'd see this unicorn running through the forest, coming towards you. lt'd come right up the camera and it would shake its head. And as it shook its head, I cut to him shaking his head like shaking that thought away. And it just made it such a lyrical piece and magic.(Dangerous Days documentary)
- Terry Rawling: I remember them saying, "lf it doesn't mean anything, we're gonna cut it out."
So they were throwing away things that were there for reasons. I mean, it's all tied together
in the final frames of the film when he lifts up the unicorn the fact that they know that his thought pattern works with unicorns it's one of his memories. Another scene where he's standing behind her in his apartment and he's out of focus but you have this glow in the eyes which makes him... Could he be a Replicant? Could he be--? That was trimmed down. And all the subtleties were taken out. (Dangerous Days documentary)
- Hampton Fancher: When I saw the unicorn in the director's cut, I, I thought of it as a symbol.
And that's the beauty of something that's good, I guess. You know, you could-- It's ambiguous.
And my interpretation had nothing to do with: "Oh, that shows that Deckard's a replicant." I don't think that anything should show that Deckard's a replicant. If you think that, you're already wrong. You know? I mean, it says, it's just the question mark is what's interesting.
The answer is stupid. (Dangerous Days documentary)
- Alan McKenzie: The screenplay of Blade Runner obviously went through many variations. I find it interesting that one of the major deletions survives. I find it interesting that one of the major deletions survives, if only in part in the end sequence where Deckard finds the origami unicorn left by Gaff. Do you regret that some of those more intriguing aspects are no longer in the film?
Ridley Scott: Yes. Did you see the version [of the script] with the unicorn?
Alan McKenzie: No…
Ridley Scott: I think the idea of the unicorn was a terrific idea… .
Alan McKenzie: The obvious inference is that Deckard is a replicant himself. .
Ridley Scott: Sure. To me it’s entirely logical, particularly when you are doing a film noire, you may as well go right through with that theme, and the central character could in fact be what he is chasing. You could say it is corny or not corny. Something is usually only corny according to execution. There are seven stories in the world, somebody said, everything else is variation on the theme.
Alan McKenzie: Did you actually shoot the sequence in the glade with the unicorn?.
Ridley Scott: Absolutely. It was cut into the picture, and I think it worked wonderfully. Deckard was sitting, playing the piano rather badly because he was drunk, and there’s a moment where he gets absorbed and goes off a little at a tangent and we went into the shot of the unicorn plunging out of the forest. It’s not subliminal, but it’s a brief shot. Cut back to Deckard and there’s absolutely no reaction to that, and he just carries on with the scene. That’s where the whole idea of the character of Gaff with his origami figures — the chicken and the little stick-figure man, so the origami figure of the unicorn tells you that Gaff has been there. One of the layers of the film has been talking about private thoughts and memories, so how would Gaff have known that a private thought of Deckard was of a unicorn? That’s why Deckard shook his head like that [referring to Deckard nodding his head after picking up the paper unicorn].(Starburst No.51, November 1982, p29)
- Alan McKenzie: Are you disappointed that the references to Deckard being a replicant are no longer there?
Ridley Scott: The innuendo is still there. The French get it immediately! I think it’s interesting that he could be. (Starburst No.51, November 1982, p18-21) (copied and pasted from http://br-insight.com)
- David Peoples: The tinfoil unicorn was definitely Ridley's idea. I remember him getting excited over the whole notion of Gaff's origami, because it meant that Edward Olmos could leave that unicorn sculpture behind at Deckard's apartment at the end. (Future Noir, hardback version, p200)
- Hampton Fancher: The unicorn was definitely Ridley's, that sculpture and the full-sized one that showed up in the director's cut. I'd initially rejected that concept, you know. But when I saw the movie, I was kind of happy about how Ridley had handled it. The tin foil origami hit a lot of levels. (Future Noir, hardback version, p200)
- Edward J Olmos: Ridley wanted to put a shot of Harrison at his piano dreaming of a unicorn into Blade Runner. And that dream was supposed to be known by Gaff. Which is why he left the tinfoil hand behind in the first place (Future Noir, hardback version, p200-201)
- Rutger Hauer: I always felt the subject of Deckard being a replicant was a matter of emotional understanding. He certainly behaves like a replicant because he's so programmed. Ironically, through their very actions, you understand that it is the replicants who are free . (Future Noir, hardback version, p201)
- Edward J Olmos: There's a line I like a lot that very few people pick up on, up there on the roof. That's the one where Gaff says "You've done a man's job, sir" You know what that was supposed to be? Ambiguous. A reference to Deckard maybe being a replicant. In fact I saw one script where Gaff made this even more explicit. He said the same thing - 'You've done a man's job' - but then Gaff went on to say 'But are you a man? It's getting hard to tell around here." But I'm glad they cut that out. The line is a lot more subtle. (Future Noir, hardback version, p198-199)
- Paul M Sammon: I'd like to begin with a query regarding one of
Blade Runner's biggest question marks; the 'Unicorn Scene" in the
Director's Cut, that moment in the film when Harrison Ford is slumped at
his piano and daydreaming about the mythical beast. Before we get into
that shot's thematic meanings. I'd like to ask about its origins. Was it
in any way influenced by Legend, the film you did after Blade Runner,
which also featured unicorns.
Ridley Scott: No. That unicorn was actually filmed prior to any thought of making Legend. In fact, it was specifically shot for Blade Runner during the post-production process. At that point in time, I was editing the picture in England, at Pinewood Studios, and we were heading towards a mix. Yet, I still , creatively speaking, had this blank space in my head in regards to what Deckard's dream at the piano was going to be all about.
That was distressing, because this was an important moment for me. I'd predetermined that the unicorn would be the strongest clue that Deckard, this hunter of replicants, might actually be an artificial human himself. I did feel that the dream had to be vague, indirect. I didn't mind if it remained a bit mysterious, either, so that you had to think about it. Because there is a clear thread thoughout the film that would later explain it.
Anyway, I eventually realized I had to think of an image that was so personal it could only belong to an individual's inner thoughts. And eventually I hit on a unicorn.(Future Noir by Paul M Sammon)
- Empire: What is the significance of the unicorn?Ridley Scott: So much has been made by the critics of the unicorn, yet they've actually missed the wider issue. It is not the unicorn itself which is important. It's the landscape around it - the green landscape - they should be noticing. My original thought had been to never show a green landscape during Blade Runner. We would only see an urban world. I subsequently figured, since this moment offered the pictorial opportunity of a dream, why not show a unicorn? In a forest? An image so out of place with the rest of the picture that if it ran for only three seconds, the audience would clearly understand it was some sort of reverie.Empire: So Deckard is a replicant?Ridley Scott: Well, in preparing the storyline, it always seemed logical to me that in a film of paranoia, Deckard should find out he was a replicant. It seemed proper that he might begin to wonder whether at some point the police department hadn't done the same thing to him. So I always felt the amusing irony about Harrison's character would be that he was, in fact, a synthetic human. I felt it should remain hidden, except from those who paid attention and got it.(http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/empire-80s-month-ridley-scott-revisits-blade-runner/)
- Hampton Fancher: I always rejected Deckard's dream of the live unicorn. That was purely Ridley's concept (Future Noir (3rd version) p405)
- David Peoples: The live unicorn definitely was Ridley's idea. Even though I was fortunate enough to have seen the original footage of that shot when I was in Pinewood reworking Deckard's narration back in 1982, I can't say I ever understood it. I certainly didn't write it. (Future Noir (3rd version) p405)
- Ivor Powell: Deckard's unicorn dream, that was always a puzzle to some people. Actually it was an idea Ridley had come up with during filming - it was never really scripted. Well, except for one brief reference in the climax of one of David Peoples' final drafts, where Rachael and Deckard are driving away from the city at the end of the film and spot a unicorn by the side of the road. Which was somehow supposed to tie in with Deckard's previous dreams. (Future Noir (3rd version) p406)
- Ivor Powell: The way this all came about was, originally Ridley wanted Deckard to have an unusual daydream while he was sitting at his piano. Something like a very private thought. One that Gaff would later know without being told. Which was meant to suggest that Deckard had had a memory implant Gaff had been privy to, and that Deckard was a replicant. Which in turn explains the significance of Gaff leaving a tinfoil unicorn for Deckard to find at the end of the picture - Gaff was letting Deckard know that Eddie Olmos knew Ford's private thoughts. (Future Noir (3rd version) p407)
- Ivor Powell: But this all came later. At first Ridley couldn't figure out what he wanted this daydream to look like. He kept thinking and rethinking the basic concept until, finally, he hit on a unicorn. But the decision had come late in the day, so Ridley wasn't able to film that unicorn until we returned to England for postproduction. (Future Noir (3rd version) p407)
- Paul Sammon: Therefore Blade Runner's mythical beast was filmed at the first week of January 1982 at Black Park, England, a small wooded area (complete with lake) situated very close to Pinewood Studios. A white stallion was secured through a British film animal rental service to serve as the unicorn itself. (Future Noir (3rd version) p407)
- Ridley Scott: Its horn was constructed out of a virtually weightless material - polystyrene - and applied to the horse's forehead by Nick Allder , and English effects man with whom I'm work on Alien . (Future Noir (3rd version) p407)
- Terry Rawlings: But the negative for that original unicorn scene had been lost by the time of the restored Blade Runner in 1992, and they couldn't find the positive either. (Future Noir (3rd version) p407)
- Terry Rawlings: Anyway, the original unicorn sequence went like this. It was essentially a series of various intercuts. These began when Deckard picks up some photographs off the piano, swivels around on the piano bench, and then leans back against the piano itself. Then Ford began looking at a picture, and - flash! - you had a quick cut of a unicorn running through a forest. Then that went away and Deckard carried on looking at his snapshot. Next came another shot of the unicorn, coming right up at the camera. It then shook its head, and as it shook its head, I cut back to Ford shaking his head. Like he was shaking this thought out of his mind. The Harrison laid down those pictures and the scene continued as you see it now, with Deckard picking up and taking Leon's photo over to the Esper. (Future Noir (3rd version) p408)
- Terry Rawlings: So basically, the substance of the original unicorn sequence displayed Deckard going through photographs and saying to himself, 'Memories,' you know? As if memories of his own were coming back. That was sort of the idea. Deckard's own thoughts were being triggered by these photos. He mulled those images over and then shook the memories out of his head. (Future Noir (3rd version) p408)
- Ivor Powell: Tandem was uneasy with the unicorn sequence because it had been unscripted by Ridley shot it anyway. I also don't think that they quite understood it. (Future Noir (3rd version) p408)
- Terry Rawlings: That's an understatement. The money people kept pestering Ridley with questions like, "What's this unicorn?' Ridley would reply, 'If you don't get it, what's the point in me explaining it?"(Future Noir (3rd version) p408)
- Terry Rawlings: That was frustrating, because virtually the last shot in the film - the one of Harrison finding the tinfoil origami - was an all important connection between Gaff knowing Deckard's memories of unicorns. Tandem never got this connection at all though. They said, "Cut it out, it's too vague.' So the original unicorn sequence was indeed cut out very early on . (Future Noir (3rd version) p409)
- Hampton Fancher: The idea of Deckard really being an android sort of invented itself. In the final version of the screenplay I wrote before David Peoples stepped in - which I'm not sure he ever saw - I'd ended the film with Deckard coming back home and sitting down at his piano. There was a close-up of Deckard's hand going down towards the keys ... and suddenly his hand cramped up, just like Batty's did. You weren't quite sure it's the same thing, but it look an awful lot like a replicant clench. Then that image froze, the music came up and that was it. The end. The last shot of the picture. (Future Noir (3rd version) p410)
- Hampton Fancher: I wanted the audience to walk away thinking, "Is Deckard like Batty?" That was my whole point in creating this ending in the first place. The idea was supposed to be , take your own empathy test. Constantly monitoring your emotional temperature, See how human you really are, because we can always be better at being human. That's all the notion of Deckard being a replicant originally meant to me. (Future Noir (3rd version) p410)
- David Peoples: In the ending I wrote for my first draft of December 15th, 1980, Deckard kills Gaff because Gaff tried to terminate Rachael. Then Deckard takes Rachael to the beach - and he kills her too. Next he returns to his apartment. Now he's sitting in his bedroom laying out ammunition for his gun, because Deckard knows that someone from the police department is going to come to his apartment and try and shoot him for murdering Gaff.(Future Noir (3rd version) p411)
- David Peoples: At this point I invented a kind of contemplative voice-over for Deckard. Here , let me read it to you. "I wonder who designs the ones like me... and what choices we really have, and which ones we just think we have. I wondered if I had really loved her. I wondered which of my memories were real and which belonged to someone else. The great Tyrell hadn't designed me, but whoever had hadn't done so much better. "You 're programmed, too," she told me, and she was right. In my own modest way, I was combat model. Roy Batty was my late brother"(Future Noir (3rd version) p411)
- David Peoples: Now what I'd intended with this voice-over was mostly meta-physical. Deckard was supposed to be philosophically questioning himself about what it was that made him so different from Rachael and the other replicants. He was supposed to be realizing that, on the human level, they weren't so different. That Deckard wanted the same things the replicant did. The 'maker' he was referring to wasn't literally Tyrell, either. It was supposed to be God. So basically, Deckard was just musing about what it meant to be human."(Future Noir (3rd version) p411)
- David Peoples:But then Ridley - well, I think Ridley misinterpreted me. Because right about this period of time he started announcing, 'Ah-ha! Deckard's a replicant! What brilliance! How Heavy Metal!' I was sort of confused by this response, because Ridley kept giving me all this praise and credit for this terrific idea. It wasn't until many years later, when I happened to be browsing through his draft, that I suddenly realized the metaphysical material I had written could just as easily have been read to imply that Deckard was a replicant. Even though it wasn't what I meant at all.’ (Future Noir (3rd version) p412)
- David Peoples:What I had meant was, we all have a maker, and we all have an incept date. We just can't address them. That's one of the similarities we had to the replicants. We couldn't go find Tyrell, but Tyrell was up there somewhere. For all of us. So what I had intended as a kind of a metaphysical speculation, Ridley had read differently, but I now realize there was nothing wrong with his reading. That confusion was my own fault. I'd written this voice-over so ambiguously that it could indeed have meant exactly what Ridley took it to mean. And that, I think, is how the whole idea of Deckard being a replicant came about.’(Future Noir (3rd version) p411)
- David Peoples: On the other hand, while I may have accidently initiated this suggestion of Deckard's android nature, it quickly became Ridley's, because he's the one who picked up the idea and ran with it. (Future Noir (3rd version) p411)
- Terry Rawlings: There was an ongoing conversation during the filming of Blade Runner about Deckard being a replicant, and it's a concept I have no trouble with. It's only logical, really. For instance, why would Olmos leave this tinfoil unicorn in Deckard's apartment, unless it was a clue that he knew Deckard's memories had been implanted.(Future Noir (3rd version) p413)
- Terry Rawlings: Besides, Ridley and I had many concrete conversations during the editing of BR as to how to best suggest him being an android. One nice way was the scene of Deckard's eyes glowing, when Harrison's at the doorway of his kitchen behind Sean Young. Ridley had blocked that out very carefully; he purposely put Harrison in the background of that shot, and slightly out of focus, so that you'd only notice his eyes were glowing if you were paying attention. I love that - it's subtle. It was meant to be subtle. I don't think Ridley ever wanted to bring out a troupe of dancing bears holding up neon signs reading, "Deckard is a replicant!" Instead, he was going for something more ambiguous. Ridley himself may have definitely felt that Deckard was a replicant, but still, by the end, he intended to leave it up to the viewer to decide whether Deckard was one.(Future Noir (3rd version) p413)
- Hampton Fancher: In my script, it was much more ambiguous whether Ford was a replicant or not. I wanted people to only think as an afterthought that maybe Deckard was an android. I fought very hard for that. But when I finally caught the film and saw how Ford's eyes glow, I thought, 'Aw shit.' That device made explicit what I'd wanted to be ambivalent. I didn't like the glowing eyes effects, either it was too obvious, I found it vampiric, almost like a B-movie trick. (Future Noir (3rd version) p412)
- Paul Sammon: In the scene in his bathroom, when Rachael asks Deckard if he would follow her if she left, he says he wouldn't and then leaves the room, but he stops, puts his hand on her shoulder and says "But someone would." When he says this, Deckard's eyes have a red glow, the same effect seen in the other replicants' eyes and in Tyrell's owl. In relation to this scene, Ridley Scott maintains that that effect was purposely set up and executed on the set, but Harrison Ford denies this, saying it was unintended. In an interview with Paul Sammon in 2007, Ford comments simply "I might have strayed into her light" (Future Noir, p565 - 2nd Edition)."
- Collider: There is, there's always a debate amongst everyone, is he or isn't he a replicant? One of the things that is great is you see the question is still out there, is he or isn't he a replicant. Personally not as a screen writer and not a fault in the movie in any shape or form, do you have an opinion on it in terms of personally do you believe one way or the other?
Hampton Fancher: Yeah, I always did, he's not a replicant
Collider: You see
Hampton Fancher: I thought if he was a replicant, then the game's over, I think he doesn't know or so, so to make him a replicant was a Ridley was for from you know the beginning he's a replicant and I from the beginning, he's not, we shouldn't if he is, I shouldn't if he is, the person who's always asked me, I don't know, and when Ridley put in the, you know, the ostensible evidence that he is, you know, the red eyes or whatever in Blade Runner One, I didn't, I didn't like that.
Michael Green: That's the first time I ever heard anyone one called Blade Runner One
Hampton Fancher: I never said it beforeMichael Green: I'm glad it was you. I would have been okay. I think for me it's, erm, I don't, the fact that it's a question is what's important, it's that the the the puzzle of Blade Runner, the reason it is, one of the many reasons it's the classic it is is that, the chasing for authenticity is akin to the narrative of the story and to the meta-narrative of the film that there is that there is no authentic answer to that question which has meant that telling the further story, that had to be baked into the story as well that everyone who watches it has that question, which version should I watch, what does that mean, and the answer is that 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 favourite, it's a world favourite ( 'Blade Runner 2049' Writers on the Ending, If Deckard Is a Replicant, More , Published on 19 Oct 2017https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1ibTaoVU4g)CJ Paschall: So in your original screenplay for Blade Runner, going to your original for the moment , did you intend, so this is a question that , it's been around since the movie came out and especially as we gotten the final cut , got the director's cut conversation coming into this movie, in your original screenplay, where did you land on the question of Deckard being a replicant, were you...
Hampton Fancher: Not!
CJ Paschall: Did you write him as human, you did not, not , not a replicant, I mean
Hampton Fancher: I mean it wasn't an absolute "Not", God will never be sure
CJ Paschall: Hmm, yeah
Hampton Fancher: I didn't want him to be sure, I thought in m-m-my last line on that, once the cat is out of the bag, the game is over
CJ Paschall: Hmm, that's true
Hampton Fancher: Someone to keep the cat in the bag
CJ Paschall: Hmm, and er, it's definitely something that carried over into this film, you can tell they never directly, directly even mention erm
Hampton Fancher: Right. So it's like it's a it's a, I mean, not to be cute but, ambiguity is very important
CJ Paschall: Hmm
Hampton Fancher: You know, dramatically and existentially, ontologically
CJ Paschall: Hmm
Hampton Fancher: Ambiguity is inbuilt, I think it's a truth. I mean I'm pretty sure I'm not a replicant
CJ Paschall: (Chuckle)
Hampton Fancher: But there's a lot of other things that I'm not sure about.
CJ Paschall: That's true. Who knows, the real Hampton Fancher was replaced long ago, uh no
Hampton Fancher: Yuh, the real Hampton Fancher, is, i don't think that anybody would agree on the real Hampton Fancher.
CJ Paschall: (Chuckle)
Hampton Fancher:Hampton Fancher is definitely a fucking chicken shit spoilt coward,
CJ Paschall: (Chuckle)
Hampton Fancher: But most people say, oh no, Hampton's quite, you know you can count of Hampton, you know
CJ Paschall: The Nexus Six version of Hampton
Hampton Fancher: Yeah, there's a difference, you know, it's the interpretations of what we are.
CJ Paschall: Hmm
Hampton Fancher:Are very material (The Mutual Interviews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbgw5b-Kr8k)