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Rick Deckard: Wikis


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Rick Deckard portrayed by Harrison Ford in the film Blade Runner

Rick Deckard is the protagonist in Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as well as the 1982 film adaptation Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott. In the film, Deckard is played by Harrison Ford.



In the film adaptation, Deckard is a "blade runner," a special member of the Los Angeles police department who is employed to hunt and "retire" artificial manufactured humanoids, called "replicants," as they have been declared illegal on Earth. At the beginning of the film, a group of unusually brutal replicants hijack a shuttle to earth, intending to infiltrate their place of manufacture and extend their four-year lifespans. Deckard, formerly the best Blade Runner in the LAPD, is called out of retirement to hunt them down. He is reluctant to resume work, but its told he has no choice and must use some of "the old blade runner magic" to succeed. Deckard’s character follows the model of a film noir detective, mixing old-fashioned sleuthing, interviewing suspects, and brutal violence. Like many noir heroes, he finds it hard to turn down a "damsel in distress," in this case the replicant Rachael, when she asks for his help. Despite being a skilled detective, Deckard is physically overmatched by the physically superior replicants, relying more on luck than actual fighting skill to defeat them.

In the novel, Deckard is an active bounty hunter working in San Francisco rather than retiring Los Angeles detective. He is tasked with hunting down six escaped replicants, called "androids" in the novel, who hope not to extend their lifespans, but simply to escape slavery on the colonies. The term "blade runner" is not used in the book.

Is Deckard a replicant?

There are lengthy debates among the movie's fandom on whether Deckard is a replicant himself. The Director's Cut DVD of the movie seems to lean towards the idea that Deckard is a replicant, as new footage was added that supports that side of the argument. In all versions of the film, Gaff's first line translates to "You are the blade, blade runner", and all versions of the film include Gaff leaving the unicorn origami figure in Deckard's apartment as a reference to Deckard's dream.

The purpose of this story as I saw it was that in his job of hunting and killing these replicants, Deckard becomes progressively dehumanized. At the same time, the replicants are being perceived as becoming more human. Finally, Deckard must question what he is doing, and really what is the essential difference between him and them? And, to take it one step further, who is he if there is no real difference?
—Philip K. Dick [1]

The original novel includes a similar question, but in a more subtle form. It is made far more certain that Deckard is not an android. However, he is a Mercerist (he uses a device called an "empathy box" to commune with other humans in the experience of a mysterious, unknown man named Mercer, who may or may not exist; this is part of the evidence that he is not an android, as no android has ever been able to do this), and he makes use of a device called a "Penfield mood organ" which allows him to "dial" any emotion or state of mind he wishes to experience, at any moment, for reasons of practicality or pleasure. (Neither of these have any analogue in the film.) As such, although Deckard is physically human, the question of whether he is "human" by any meaning of the word in the reader's world is left open.

Actor Harrison Ford has stated that when he and director Ridley Scott were discussing the character prior to filming, they both agreed that Deckard was not a replicant. However, in multiple subsequent interviews, director Ridley Scott has come forward stating that Deckard is in fact a replicant.[2][3] Ridley also states that Harrison Ford has given up the idea of Deckard being human. [4]

In K.W. Jeter's Blade Runner novels, Rick Deckard is rediscovered by the Tyrell Corporation, who want to use him to retire the mysterious "sixth replicant" from the group he last hunted. (These novels use the character of Deckard as shown in the movie, not the original novel.) This mission ends up leading to further adventures involving various conspiracies between the Tyrell Corp., the United Nations, and Replicant Sympathizers.


  1. ^ P.K. Dick Interview
  2. ^ The Blade Runner FAQ
  3. ^ BBC News - Blade Runner Riddle Solved
  4. ^ Interview with Ridley Scott in Wired Magazine

See also

  • Deckard: human or replicant?

External links



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