It's one of the oldest unanswered questions in Hollywood history: is Rick Deckard a replicant? The true nature of Harrison Ford's iconic Blade Runner character has been hotly debated since the film's release in 1982. 35 years later, fans are now faced with a new question: is Harrison Ford a replicant in Blade Runner 2049? Well, I hate to break it to you but — spoiler alert — we still don't know. As of Blade Runner 2049's release, the only people that can definitively answer that question are Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, Ford, and 2049 co-star Jared Leto.
Fortunately, Bustle was able to talk to one of the handful of men who has a definitive answer on the status of Deckard's humanity. Unfortunately, Blade Runner 2049 star Leto wasn't really all that forthcoming. Leto plays Niander Wallace, a replicant manufacturer, in the long awaited sequel. (In case you couldn't tell from the name, he's the villain.) In the film, Niander shares a crucial scene with Deckard in which he looks into his mind and tries to mess with his head to make him believe that he is, in fact, a replicant. Whether Deckard falls for Niander's mind games, however, remains unclear, and Niander never definitively says whether or not Ford's character is a replicant or a human.
However, Leto insists that he knows the answer. "My character took a look inside Deckard's mind and Denis told me that I can make the decision, my character, whether he is a replicant or not," the actor tells Bustle over the phone. "It's my choice to make and I've made the decision. I get to be the only person in the world."
Leto knows that others have their opinions on Deckard. And, as he tells Bustle, "they're probably right." However, as far as he and his character are concerned, only he knows the truth. And he's not telling. "Now I will carry that with me to the grave," he says. In other words, everyone has their own opinion that is probably correct to them. Ford's long-held belief that Deckard is a human, for example, is the truth in his own performance, but Leto's truth could be different, and only he knows the truth as he plays it in the movie.
It certainly looks like whether or not Deckard is a replicant is a question that will never be answered. Moreover, the answer among those who insist they know the truth is far from definitive. Ford, as noted above, has been firm in his belief that Deckard is a human for years. And that's how he played him. "I thought for the success of my character that it would be good to be clear that my character was not a replicant," he said in a recent interview with Al Arabiya English. "Ridley, on the other hand, thought, and still does, not so much maybe."
It's true. Over the years, Scott has been adamant that Deckard is a replicant, telling Yahoo! Movies, "Of course he's a bloody Replicant!" In fact, it was one of the things Scott attempted to make clear in both of his re-releases — the Director's Cut in 1992 and the Final Cut in 2007 — with the addition of the unicorn dream (this makes sense if you've seen Blade Runner).
As for Villeneuve, he prefers to leave Deckard's humanity a mystery, even to himself. "I think it's interesting, too, to see a character that is doubting about his own identity," he told IGN. "And I think the question is more interesting. There's more — I love mysteries. So, I think that it's more interesting than ... answering that question." Villeneuve's love of the unknown seems to have been infectious. Even Ford has admitted that, after years of insisting on Deckard's human status, he prefers leaving the character in ambiguity. "It's really a question that is part of the fabric of this thing, and it's proved to be of interest to many people or of amusement to many people, so just leave it lay like that," he told HuffPost.
If you're looking to find out whether Harrison Ford is a replicant in Blade Runner 2049, then the question really isn't about Deckard, it's about what you believe to be true.
Additional Reporting by Anna Klassen.