1982’s Blade Runner featured five replicants (excluding the controversial Deckard), but there were originally supposed to be more. In Ridley Scott’s original film, Rick Deckard is ordered by Bryant to capture and retire four replicants named Leon, Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. However, along the way, Deckard discovers another replicant named Rachael, who believes she is a human because human memories have been implanted into her brain. 35 years after Scott’s original film, four new Blade Runner films were released with more replicants written into the screenplay. The short film Blade Runner 2036 introduced just one replicant, while Blade Runner 2048 is told through the perspective of a replicant.
The final short film, Blade Runner Blackout 2022, follows replicants Trixie and Iggy and their movement to free the replicants. Blade Runner 2049 is the first feature-length sequel and introduces several new replicants, including its main character K, portrayed by Ryan Gosling. The franchise has come a long way since the five replicants that were introduced in the first film, but the original plan for the film called for more replicants. There are several different versions of the original Blade Runner that have been included on various anniversary DVD sets with many differences. However, the story of the original replicants is less widely known.
Early Blade Runner Drafts Had More Replicants
While the final theatrical Blade Runner cut only had five official replicants, other versions of the film’s script included more. According to Den of Geek, the original script included three more replicants for Deckard to fight off. This would have made a world of difference as Deckard would have had a lot more on his plate, and it possibly could have impacted his dynamic with Rachael. Hodge was one replicant cut from the original script, and he was meant to attempt to escape from the Tyrell Corporation building only to die from electrocution from the electric field around the building.
Another character was named Mary, and there were various possible outcomes for her. In one version of the script, Mary dies of natural causes pretty early, but in another version, the replicant serves a greater purpose in Blade Runner. Ultimately, she still dies a pretty violent death when Deckard shoots her, but her inclusion would have undoubtedly transformed the movie.
The most shocking replicant is actually a character who made it into Blade Runner. The replicants’ creator Dr. Eldon Tyrell was meant to be revealed as a replicant when Batty went to ask him to extend his lifespan. This definitely would have made Blade Runner even more complex and would have had a huge impact on the film’s plot. However, it’s probably best this wasn’t included, as it could have made things pretty messy with everything else going on in the film.
Dave Bautista’s Blade Runner 2049 Character Was Nearly In The First Movie
The last replicant that was supposed to be in Blade Runner finally came to life when the original opening sequence that was cut returned for Blade Runner 2049. Denis Villeneuve’s sequel opened with a scene where K retires replicant Sapper Morton, who was first introduced in Blade Runner 2048. In the scene, K shows up at Sapper’s farm to kill him, and it’s meant to showcase the violence that comes with being a blade runner. While the scene might not have made it into the original film, it works well in the sequel and was a great way to incorporate the short film and honor screenwriter Hampton Fancher’s original script.
Why Blade Runner Cut Out The Missing Replicants
Fancher had some creative ideas for Blade Runner, but unfortunately, they didn’t all work out. It seems the main reason Fancher had to cut so many original replicants from his film is because of budget-related reasons. The Blade Runner 2049 opening was cut, likely because of costs or because Scott had a different vision for the film’s opening that he wanted to follow through with. The removal of Hodge is also assumed to be because of the film’s budget.
Meanwhile, the removal of Mary has an interesting story. The character was actually already cast, and a few scenes were shot for the film while the replicant was set to star in the film. However, an actor’s strike that occurred during filming for the movie changed everything. Filmmakers didn’t want to lose any more money by delaying filming, so they cut Mary’s character out. Unfortunately, her absence caused a few continuity errors in the original Blade Runner.
As for the Tyrell plot twist being removed, it all came down to the complexity of the storyline coming too far into the film that it would cause a lot of confusion. Blade Runner didn’t have enough time to delve into that plot while also tying up all the other loose ends and delivering a satisfying ending, so Tyrell was written to be just another human in Blade Runner.
Source: Den of Geek