Blade Runner 2049 may open up even more questions than the original 1982 sci-fi classic, but there’s only one question that really matters: what happened to Deckard’s dog?
Now, this could be just another fan overanalyzing a film, but if any film should be able to stand up to that, it’s the sequel to Blade Runner. And it didn’t even take that much analysis. This is gruesome conclusion my mind immediately jumped to the moment I realized we weren’t going to see any more of Deckard’s adorable whiskey-drinking pup while watching Blade Runner 2049. I was sure the film was telling us something. Apparently, I was the only one who caught it.
It wasn’t until we were re-introduced to Rick Deckard at the end of the second act in 2049 that it became immediately obvious he was extremely a dog person. Who else could a grouchy old widowed Blade Runner with an estranged messiah child in an abandoned future Las Vegas turn to but a dog? It’s just perfect.
Unfortunately, I have an idea about what happened to the dog. It’s… not good. I’ll just say it: the replicant rebels probably ate the dog.
Let’s review what happens in the dog section of 2049. Ryan Gosling’s “Joe” travels to Vegas, finds a suspicious hive of bees and then stumbles across an old and grizzled Rick Deckard in an old and grizzled casino. The two Runners chat, Joe asks if Deckard’s dog is real and we don’t get a solid answer, and then they’re attacked and Deckard is swept away by the badass MVP of the movie, Luv.
This leaves Joe behind with Deckard’s dog, where he is rescued by a group of mysterious people that later turn out to be a small army of rebellious replicants. So what happened to the dog?
Well, immediately following the scenes of the replicants picking up Joe, he wakes up to see all of them huddled by a campfire. This is the key scene where my mind jumped from asking where the dog was to just sheer horror at what I was watching. I believe this campfire scene is evidence that the replicants took Deckard’s dog, cooked it and then ate it on their journey home. That’s not much to go on, but that kind of film cut can imply a connection, and I immediately jumped on it.
I’d also return to Joe’s question to Deckard about whether or not the dog was real. If it’s not real, then it’s probably just wandering around fine, super-durable. If it’s real, perhaps even Joe is considering satisfying his weird and twisted appetite forged from the apocalyptic-lite future. Just a few scenes later, we get the replicants eating around the campfire. Would these replicants really bring food they had to cook on the road? Isn’t it more likely that they would have prepared meals that could be consumed with as little preparation as possible? So if the fire suggests they were cooking something, what else could it be but a fresh food source they just happened upon? And what could it be besides Deckard’s missing pup?
Look, I don’t advocate for killing or eating dogs, and I’m not going to fight against anybody’s objections to eating animals in general. I also have no idea if the replicants in 2049 actually ate the dog. My mind just asked the same question as many others, and came to the quick but disturbing conclusion that seems to fit the dystopian world of Blade Runner pretty damn well. In my mind, the vaguely intimidating robot army ate the cute dog, further conflicting with the series’ attempts at humanizing the replicants.