Yes, Deckard is a replicant. But that’s not Blade Runner’s secret

One of the elements that makes Blade Runner so haunting.

Deckard isn’t the protagonist of the story. Roy Batty is.

The “hidden protagonist” is a technique in noir fiction. The character who ordinarily would be the emotional centre of the story is made background, and instead you follow the antagonist.

In PKDs novel Deckard is driven by his desire to buy a new animal to replace his electric sheep. In the movie he’s simply a reluctant killer. A slave hunter.

Roy Batty has rescued himself and his friends from slavery, and is trying to save the life of his lover. His acts of murder are understandable, even forgivable, in that context.

The long seduction scene between Deckard and Rachel is entirely horrifying when you read it as a scene where Deckard has all the power over a women terrified for her life. It’s a rape, as numerous feminist critics have argued.

All of this was absent from Blade Runner 2049, Deckard was some long lost hero, one of the movies many flaws.

ALSO – yes Deckard is absolutely 100% a replicant, every scene contains a little clue to that. And the film reads very differently when you bring that knowledge to it. Again, skipping this in BR2049 was a massive failing.

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Damien Walter, writer on sci-fi and geek culture for The Guardian, BBC, WIRED and graduate of the Clarion writers workshop, leads a journey into scifi and fantasy storytelling.

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Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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