a) Harrison's Take
a.i) Certainty that Deckard was not a replicant?
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."
- 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/)
a.ii) No straight answer from Ridley
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.
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 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)
a.iii) Wanting Deckard to be human
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 he resisted the idea of being a replicant, as he supposed a replicant would, or simply he felt that the replicants would want to believe that they were human, or at least this one, Deckard, did,
It also seemed to him as if Ridley didn't think it was all that important.
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,
- 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 always knew that I was a replicant. I just wanted to push back against it though. I think a replicant would want to believe that they're human. At least this one did. (Harrison Ford On De-Aged Indiana Jones & the Real Reason He Joined Marvel | Explain This | Esquire, 31st May 2023)
b) The Views of the other actors
b.i) Who else didn't know that Deckard was a replicant
Sean Young wasn't made aware of this idea about Deckard being a replicant, neither was M Emmet Walsh who played Bryant.
- 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)
b.ii) Edward J Olmos was aware
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.
- 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)
- 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)
b.iii) Rutger Hauer's awareness
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.
On another level it seemed to be almost like a joke and that's where the unicorn came from
- 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)
- 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)
c.) Views of the production staff
c.i) Trumbull and Snyder's response
Further behind the scenes, Douglas Trumbull in charge of special effects didn't know, would never know but he felt that was the enigma, and then the art director David Snyder only assumed he was a human,
c.ii) Syd Mead's respons
However the concept artist Syd Mead as with the way Ridley thought, that it was that Deckard as a replicant was only possible conclusion.
But he 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.
Then in the room, everyone apart from Deckard knew about the fact.
- 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 (On the Edge of Blade Runner documentary)
c.iii) Hampton's response to the Unicorn origami
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.
- 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)
- 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
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 2017 https://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 meanHampton Fancher: I mean it wasn't an absolute "Not", God will never be sureCJ Paschall: Hmm, yeahHampton 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 overCJ Paschall: Hmm, that's trueHampton Fancher: Someone to keep the cat in the bagCJ Paschall: Hmm, and er, it's definitely something that carried over into this film, you can tell they never directly, directly even mention ermHampton Fancher: Right. So it's like it's a it's a, I mean, not to be cute but, ambiguity is very importantCJ Paschall: HmmHampton Fancher: You know, dramatically and existentially, ontologicallyCJ Paschall: HmmHampton Fancher: Ambiguity is inbuilt, I think it's a truth. I mean I'm pretty sure I'm not a replicantCJ 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 noHampton 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 knowCJ Paschall: The Nexus Six version of HamptonHampton Fancher: Yeah, there's a difference, you know, it's the interpretations of what we are.CJ Paschall: HmmHampton Fancher:Are very material (The Mutual Interviews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbgw5b-Kr8k)