When we think of Blade Runner, we think of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard. Since the original film’s release, Deckard’s ambiguous nature has been deconstructed. He has been the subject of fan debates over the past couple of decades, with many fans dissecting the different versions of the original Blade Runner to try to solve the biggest mystery of all. Is Rick Deckard a replicant or is he human? With the inclusion of a much older Deckard in the sequel, fans may finally get an answer.
Screen Rant got a chance to talk to Blade Runner 2049 writer Michael Green, where we discussed what he took into consideration while writing the script and also how he approached the age-old question surrounding Deckard. In an age of reboots and remakes, tackling fan-favorite franchises and making them interesting while catering to the audience has been difficult for many studios and writers to balance. With some franchises blatantly giving us answers that can work against them creatively (see, how George Lucas approached the Force and the midichlorian explanation in the Star Wars prequels), how Blade Runner 2049 ends up addressing the topic of Deckard’s identity could make or break the film.
As a fan of the original film himself, it was imperative for Green that care was taken in not only preserving the feeling of the film, but also maintaining that sense of ambiguity surrounding Rick Deckard’s character. With so much pressure to create a sequel that would satisfy fans, but also respectfully address who Deckard is, Green’s approach was cautious:
“I have to recognize that going into a sequel for this, not only would it be foolish but it would be the midichlorianization of the experience to canonize yes or no and give it an answer. What would be much more meaningful and much more honest to the integrity of the original would be to make that ambiguity part of the story and our experience because ambiguity, if you ask people to talk about the original Blade Runner, ambiguity is one of those words that comes up a bit and proudly so. It’s a film that is not only okay with things not being clear, it’s a film that is entirely about it and the legacy of the film is also about it because you don’t know which version is true because the answer depends on your version.”
Staying true to the original Blade Runner and its feeling of ambiguity was not only essential, but it needed to be done in order to preserve the sense of fun, mystery, and wonder for audiences. In science fiction movies today, audiences are frequently told what is happening versus making us put the pieces together ourselves. So while addressing the question of Deckard’s identity, Green also wanted to make sure that the audiences could have more fun arriving to answers shown within the movie while solving the mysteries presented to them:
“So woven into the false DNA of the title is this question, so any attempt to expand on the world needed a keen awareness of that and would do much better to steep in that ambiguity and to revel in how interesting it is to not know and to matter to not know or to know. That would be so much more fun than to be told yes or no.”
A film that shows us rather than tells us is a hard thing to come by these days. Knowing that Michael Green has taken it upon himself to maintain that balance of showing versus telling while also focusing on maintaining that ambiguity while addressing who Deckard is makes us feel certain that Blade Runner 2049 will be a gift to the fans of the original film.
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