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Blade Runner's Original Ending: Yes, Deckard's A Replicant

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A few precious pages from an early screenplay for Blade Runner have turned up online, and they're radically different than the version you saw on screen. They end with Deckard realizing he's a Replicant.

Blade Runner went through many drafts on its way to the screen, and that's not even counting the last-minute revisions that added a new voiceover. For years now, we've had the July 24, 1980 version by Hampton Fancher, and the February 23, 1981 revision by Fancher and David Peoples. (Fancher didn't want to make some of the changes director Ridley Scott kept insisting on, so Scott brought in Peoples to do them.)


But now another Fancher draft has surfaced at, and it's dated December 22, 1980. (It appears to be genuine, but as always, you never know.) If it's real, this might be Fancher's last stab at the screenplay before he handed it over to Peoples. Also, there are a few pages of cool-looking storyboards, and here are a few images from them.

So how does this new draft differ from the other two known drafts? Here's the evolution of Blade Runner's ending:

July 24, 1980 draft:

Roy Batty dies. (And instead of that awesome speech, his last line is, "Crap.") Deckard drags himself to his car and goes home to find Rachael. They get in Deckard's car and drive out to the countryside, while Deckard's voiceover talks about how they had a lovely day and he taught her a song about monkeys and elephants. And then Deckard takes her out in the snow and shoots her in the head. If he hadn't done it himself, they would have done it, his voice-over explains. But now Deckard can't go back to the city, and he's no longer sure what's really real. Maybe nothing is. He drives off. The end.


December 22, 1980 draft:

It's the day after Deckard kills Batty, and he's in his apartment with Rachael. Bryant shows up at Deckard's apartment, and they talk on Deckard's vidphone. But Deckard won't let Bryant in. Deckard insists he's alone, but Bryant can tell Deckard is lying. Bryant warns Deckard that Gaff is ambitious. There are long pauses while Deckard tries to figure out what Bryant means, and then he gets it. Deckard finds Gaff staking out his apartment, and almost shoots Gaff. But Deckard says (in a voice-over!) that he's tired of pulling triggers. So instead Rachael and he sneak out and go out to the countryside. Rachael makes Deckard pull over because she's never seen snow before. They talk about Roy Batty, and how he made Deckard realize every moment is precious. Rachael says it's the happiest day of her life, then she begs Deckard to shoot her. He does. Then he drives off, realizing it's too late for him to get away. "They wouldn't give me papers for the Colonies even if I wanted them." He wonders who designs "the ones like me." As Deckard stares at the sky, he concludes his voiceover:

The great Tyrrell hadn't designed me, but whoever had, hadn't done so much better. 'You're programmed too,' she told me, and she was right. In my own modest way, I was a combat model. Roy Batty was my late brother.

The end.


February 23, 1981 version:

Deckard and Rachael are in Deckard's apartment. He asks her if she loves him, and if she trusts him, and she says yes. He packs some stuff and they head for the elevator, but he sees a tiny unicorn made of tinfoil: "Gaff's gauntlet." Then Deckard drives through the woods at 160 miles per hour. Deckard and Rachael smile at each other, but a blip flashes on the vidscreen of Deckard's car. Deckard puts the tinfoil unicorn on the dash. Deckard's car zooms through the woods, and he gives us a last voice over:

I knew it on the roof that night. We were brothers, Roy Batty and I! Combat models of the highest order. We had fought in wars not yet dreamed of... in vast nightmares still unnamed. We were the new people... Roy and me and Rachael! We were made for this world. It was ours!


And then the camera pans up above the woods and we see Gaff's spinner, chasing them. The script says: "CREDITS ARE ROLLING, God help us all!" The end.