It goes without saying that fans have lots of questions about next year’s Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. How has that world changed? Who are Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto playing? And, if Deckard is still around, it’s pretty obvious he’s not a Replicant, right?
“Not necessarily,” said director Denis Villeneuve in an interview with French website Allocine. From the original Blade Runner, we know that Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 Replicants are only supposed to have a four-year life span. And even if that could be extended on Earth, for Deckard (who will still be played by Harrison Ford) to stay alive for 30 years, from 2019 to 2049, would be pretty miraculous.
In quotes roughly translated from the French-language article, Villeneuve said the mystery and tension of the first film are things they want to keep in the new one—therefore, they don’t want to definitively solve the question of whether Deckard is a Replicant or not. The director makes it sound like no matter if Deckard is human and survived for another 30 years naturally, or he’s a Replicant and found out how to extend his life, neither will be addressed in the film. Or maybe they will. It’s completely possible that, almost year from release, Villeneuve simply doesn’t want to ruin one of the film’s big revelations.
We hope the film doesn’t, though, and since Villeneuve is such a fan of the original, you tend to believe him. “Is Deckard a Replicant?” is one of those great science fiction debates fans have enjoyed for decades. And while more and more evidence has mounted up in favor of it with alternate cuts of the film, there still isn’t any 100 percent certain answer. No fan would really want that to end. The mystery is part of the fun.
Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, opens October 6, 2017. It stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdi, and Dave Bautista.