Characters in Blade Runner  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

This article details the characters in the film Blade Runner.

Contents

Rick Deckard

Rick Deckard is a "Blade Runner", a special agent in the Los Angeles police department employed to hunt down and "retire" replicants, his ID number is B-263-54, which is said twice in both the 1992 Director's Cut & the Final (25th anniversary) cut of the film. He is the protagonist of the film and the narrator in the original cinematic release. Deckard is played by Harrison Ford.

Roy Batty

Roy Batty is the leader of the renegade Nexus-6 replicants. He is very intelligent, fast, and skilled at combat, and yet still learning how to deal with developing emotions. With an A Physical Level (Superhuman strength & endurance) and an A Mental Level (Genius level intellect), he is probably the most dangerous of all the fugitive replicants. He is a combat model used off-world for military service and is said to have participated in every off-world battle and conflict from the fighting at the Tannhauser Gates to Massacre on the Venezeualan Moons. He leads a few of his fellow replicants in the hope of self-preservation. The "prodigal son" of Eldon Tyrell, Roy returns to his "father." First seeking a longer life, then asking forgiveness. With an extended life out of his grasp due to the errors of his own kind, and his 'questionable' actions deemed 'extraordinary', Roy ultimately destroys his maker.

There is no future for Roy, as his friends are killed, his hope for more life is quashed and finally his lover, Pris, is "retired" by the Blade Runner Rick Deckard.

Deteriorating fast, he plays cat and mouse with Deckard, and chases him onto the roofs, where Deckard ends up hanging for dear life on a post high above the ground. Roy then performs an act (saving Deckard's life) which suggests that perhaps he has gained the empathy that is the thin dividing line between the Humans and the Replicants. But because Roy becomes "more human than human" - the motto line of the Tyrell Corporation - and illustrates more "humanity" than the men who seek to kill him, we are left wondering at what exactly makes us human. As he dies, Roy tells Deckard about the things he saw in his life and how all those memories would be gone forever. "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments will be lost in time... like... tears..in rain". This leaves the question of what exactly he did see, or truly remembered.

He eventually accepts his inevitable fate with a cynical smile and final line of "Time...to die.".

Batty displays a knowledge of literature, paraphrasing the William Blake poem "America: A Prophecy" whilst in Chew's lab.

In the original novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, his name was spelled "Roy Baty".

In Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, Roy Batty is one of a series of replicants based on a mercenary with the same namesake. The template for these replicants suffered from "neural malformation", which made him unable to experience fear. This, Roy Batty suggested, might have been one of the reasons why that particular series of replicants were so difficult to kill.

Bryant

Bryant is the captain of the Rep-Detect department of the Los Angeles police department. His job in the film is to deal with a group of escaped Nexus-6 replicants (whom he refers to as "skinjobs") that have landed on Earth. His top Blade Runner, Holden, has landed up in hospital, barely able to breathe. These Nexus 6 Reps are good. He needs to get Deckard - his best ever Blade Runner, now "retired." Bryant uses thinly-veiled threats against Deckard to enlist his aid-- the retired and therefore civilian Deckard being "little people" now.

In the original theatrical version, Deckard, during his narration compared Bryant to the racist cops of the past. "Skinjob, that was Bryant's term for Replicants. In history books, he's the kind of cop that used to call Black men niggers."

Hannibal Chew

Hannibal Chew works for the Tyrell Corporation. His job is to create the eyes for the replicants. In the film, he receives unwelcome guests while he creates the artificial eyes. As an eye designer for Tyrell, Chew designed the eyes of Roy and Leon. They want to find out who can get them into Tyrell's inner sanctum, and go to Chew for answers. (Played by James Hong)

Gaff

Gaff, a mysterious character in the film, presents his compulsory invitation to Deckard in a street lingo called Cityspeak, a mixture of Hungarian, French, Chinese, German and Japanese. As a fellow cop, he is quickly identified as being very different than Deckard through the ways he dresses and behaves. He makes subtle observations about Deckard, sometimes through little Origami figures and sometimes through dialogue. This can be seen when he folds a paper chicken just as Deckard refuses Bryant's request to hunt the "skinjobs", his term for the replicants, with the implied meaning of calling Deckard a chicken or coward. The last words heard in the film (Director's Cut & Final cut versions) are spoken by him: "It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?"

The origami unicorn that Gaff left in Deckard's apartment seems to suggest that Deckard is a replicant as it is a noticeable connection to Deckard's earlier unicorn dream (which was seen only in the Director's cut & the Final cut) and possibly to a toy unicorn seen briefly to the right of a sleeping J. F. Sebastian. This might also carry the implication that Gaff was the real Blade Runner in the film, the "handler" of the replicant Deckard; this would explain why Gaff is always hovering around on the edges of scenes and observing Deckard without directly interfering with his investigation.

Gaff was apparently injured during the course of his career because he walks with a cane and a noticeable limp.

In the sequel by K.W. Jeter, it is mentioned that Gaff is killed in the line of duty. At the beginning of the novel, Bryant has just returned from the funeral and expresses his distaste for the Cityspeak written on Gaff's headstone.

Holden

Holden is the Blade Runner testing new employees at the Tyrell Corporation on the premise that the escaped Replicants might try to infiltrate the company. He underestimates the Nexus 6 Replicants. It seems that the new replicants are difficult to detect even with the Voight-Kampff machine.

Holden is shot and left for dead while trying to give the Voight-Kampff test to Leon, one of the Nexus 6 Replicants on the run. Later, Bryant mentions that Holden is alive but even his breathing is assisted by machines.

Interestingly enough, during his testing of Leon, Holden's eyes can be seen glowing the same way as replicants'. This could mean that Holden himself was a replicant and can lead to the assumption that maybe all Blade Runners are, in fact, replicants too.

There are two deleted hospital scenes with Holden and Deckard, but these were cut from the film because they did not add anything to the story (and perhaps detracted from it). One scene can be viewed in the documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner, which will not be on the Blade Runner Special Edition DVD; however, both scenes will appear in the "deleted scenes" section on said DVD.

Leon Kowalski

Leon Kowalski is a friend of Roy Batty. His emotions are at a much lower level of development than Roy's, but he evidently believes in Roy's quest for more life. He has an A physical level, which enables him to have super-human strength and endurance (According to the Final cut he was used as a 180 kg/400 lb nuclear-head loader in the outer space colonies). Leon is classified mental level C. There is a debate about whether this means he is less intelligent compared to the average human, or just less intelligent compared to the average Nexus 6 Replicant. However, in the film he consistently stays one step ahead of all of the human opponents and would have eliminated the protagonist of the story had it not been for outside intervention. Considering that Roy was roughly as intelligent as an extraordinary genius such as Tyrell at the age of only four, it would follow that being less intelligent than Roy would not make him less intelligent than a normal human. Indeed, he makes some of the same observations as Batty, and offers the memorable truism, "Nothing's worse than an itch you can't scratch."

He doesn't have the speed of thought that Roy does when it comes to solving problems. As a result, he often resorts to simple violence. Blade Runner Holden is Leon's first victim; Leon shoots him as he administers the Voight-Kampff test. Leon beats Deckard after he witnesses Deckard kill Zhora, but just as he is about to kill Deckard, Rachael shoots and kills him from behind.

Leon cherishes photographs of his friends. Unlike Rachael's false photos of her childhood, these are current photos of people who mean something to him.

The antagonist character Leon Powalski in the Star Fox series of video games is named after Leon.

Taffey Lewis

Taffey Lewis is the owner of Taffey's Snake Pit Bar. The bar features music, exotic dancing, and something being smoked in pipes (possibly opium). It seems to be an upper class establishment, as all the clientele seem to be well dressed. Taffey is used to policemen and has little time for them; he dismisses Deckard's threats with a free drink.

Pris

Pris is a "pleasure model" (incepted on Valentine's Day) created for entertainment and thus even more of a slave-object than the others. However, she shows that she can be quite adept at manipulation of the human male when she uses her wiles to "make friends" with J.F. Sebastian, a man who, until then, literally built his friends. Pris is also the girlfriend of fellow replicant Roy Batty. At an A Physical Level, she is shown to have super-human endurance (as in the scene where she grabs a boiling egg with her bare hand and tosses it to Sebastian). Her B Mental Level puts her at a lower intellectual level than Roy. She sets a trap for Deckard in the Bradbury Building, where she disguises herself as a mannequin and uses her gymnastic skills to ambush Deckard; however, her attempt at killing him by breaking his neck fails, and having no further strategy nor specific combat training, she is shot and retired by Deckard.

Her punk outfits were inspired by a new wave calendar.<ref name="BR Bible Cast">Future Noir: Chapter VIII - The Crew</ref>

It is suggested in Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human that Pris was in fact an insane human who believed that she was a replicant. <ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Rachael

Rachael is the latest experiment of Eldon Tyrell. There is a problem with his more recent, advanced Nexus 6 Replicants - they start to develop their own emotions. The other replicants we see provide plenty of evidence that this is true. They then start to rebel against being slaves. Tyrell believes that this is because they have no framework within which to deal with their new emotions. Thus, if he can gift them with memories, they will cope with situations better and therefore be a better product.

Rachael has the implanted memories of Tyrell's niece, and she is led to believe that she is human. We do not know how long she has been living, but Tyrell admits that he thinks she was beginning to suspect the truth of her existence.

When Rachael learns the truth, she is ignored by Tyrell. In desperation, she turns to Deckard, who has been told by Captain Bryant to terminate her. He eventually falls in love with her. Many possibilities exist in interpreting their relationship. Some interpretations depend on whether or not one believes Deckard is a Replicant himself.

Both of them are allowed to live: Roy saves Deckard from falling off a building, and Gaff does not kill Rachael. Gaff leaves his calling card, an origami model (this time, shaped like a foil unicorn), at Deckard's apartment to show he's been there.

Perhaps coincidentally, Rachael's character shares interesting elements with the character 'Natacha' from the film Alphaville. Both are disillusioned of and rescued from their false realities by the protagonists (Deckard/Lemmy Caution) and share a family relationship to the masterminds of the illusion (Tyrell/Von Braun).

J.F. Sebastian

J. F. Sebastian is a genetic designer working for Tyrell. He is not allowed to emigrate off-world because he has Methuselah Syndrome. Because of this, he has "accelerated decrepitude" in common with the Nexus 6 Replicants. With the Bradbury Building all to himself, he makes the most of his talents, even making his own Toy-friends.

He is easy prey to Pris; sexual tensions arise when Roy encounters her. Although J.F. is excited to discover that his new friends are Nexus 6 generation, he finds his life rapidly going downhill shortly after he meets them. He is manipulated and then forced into helping Roy Batty get to Tyrell.

Note that a unicorn can be seen briefly during a scene in J. F. Sebastian's home, amongst his scattered toys (to the right of a sleeping Sebastian, while Pris snoops around his equipment). This may be interpreted by some fans as a validation of the Replicant-Deckard theory, showing something of Sebastian (a co-creator of the Replicants) that would later be seen in Deckard's subconscious (the unicorn dream). The shared image of the unicorn could be a direct result of Sebastian's involvement with Replicant development, or simply as an example of Replicants being as "human" as their creators by their sharing in the Collective Unconscious.

The makeup for J.F. was a "stretch and stipple" technique with no prosthetics.<ref name="BR Bible Cast"/>

Dr. Eldon Tyrell

Dr. Eldon Tyrell is the genius who has built up the large Tyrell Corporation. His creations are Replicants, some of which have been given away as an incentive for people to emigrate to the Off-World colonies. Others are used in combat to protect those settlers. Roy Batty, along with J.F. Sebastian, finds Tyrell, and asks him to extend his life beyond the four-year limit built into Nexus Six replicants. However, this request was impossible to satisfy. After the mutiny, when the limit was implemented, replicants were given superhuman capabilities in order to ensure maximum performance in this limited time; capabilities that burn them out like falling stars. As Tyrell states, "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy." Upon hearing this, Batty crushes Tyrell's head with his bare hands.

Zhora

Zhora, a replicant, has an A Physical Level (Super-human endurance) & a B Mental Level (Intelligence equal to that of Pris). She managed to get a job as an exotic dancer at Taffey's Bar (using the actress' own pet snake). Tracked down by Deckard from a snake scale, she soon realises that he is dangerous. Zhora has been retrained in political homicide (i.e. an assassin) and could have dealt swiftly with Deckard. However, he escapes death by the slightest of margins as people walk in just before Zhora delivers a killing blow. She tries to escape from Deckard by running into a busy street. However, eventually she is shot in the back several times and killed by him.

Unnamed Replicant(s)

According to dialogue spoken by Bryant in the Final cut of the film, 2 other unnamed replicants (only 1 in earlier versions) were killed while attempting to enter the Tyrell Corporation. The term used by him when describing their deaths ("Two of them got fried running through an electrical field") suggests they were stopped by an electrical barrier or security device of some sort.



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