"Blade Runner" Re-Re-Released (Spoiler Alert)

October 3, 2007

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Word from The New York Times is that the previously ambiguous ending of Blade Runner, an ending I very much liked, has been dropped in favor of a darker and more concrete ending. That’s strange because I thought the ending of the Director’s Cut, though implied, was still fairly unambiguous.

I’ll reserve judgment on whether this was a good or bad move on Ridley Scott’s part until after I’ve seen the new(est) version. Regardless, the following two paragraphs from an article in the Times did both confuse me and pique my interest:

The clue to Deckard’s true nature comes in a scene that was cut from the original release and only recently unearthed by Charles de Lauzirika, Mr. Scott’s assistant and the restoration’s producer[.] In the film, Deckard falls in love with Rachael (played by Sean Young), a secretary at the Tyrell Corporation, the conglomerate that makes replicants. She discovers that she’s a replicant too. Her memories of childhood were implanted by Tyrell to make her think she’s human.

In the last scene of Mr. Scott’s version, Deckard leads Rachael out of his apartment. He notices an origami figure of a unicorn on the floor. A fellow cop has often left such figures outside replicants’ rooms. In an earlier scene, Deckard was thinking about a unicorn. Looking at the cutout now, he realizes that the authorities know what’s in his mind, that the unicorn is a planted memory, that he’s a replicant and that he and Rachael are both now on the run. They get into the elevator. The door slams. The end.

Which of Mr. Scott’s versions is the article’s author referring to here? I haven’t seen any version of “Blade Runner” in several years, but I could have sworn that this is the end of the Director’s Cut (not to be confused with the upcoming Final Cut). So if this is the ending from the Director’s Cut, what could they possibly have added to the Final Cut to remove any ambiguity? And if this is from the Final Cut, why do I think that I’‘ve seen it before?

Maybe I’m simply confusing myself. Altered endings not withstanding, it sounds like the movie will be worth seeing again for the newly restored film alone, and I look forward to seeing this at the Ziegfield soon.

(“Blade Runner” Poster Comparison via Posterwire.)