We first meet retired cop Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in a fictionalized 2019, living a lonely existence on the streets of an overpopulated LA wracked by climate change. Humanity is now split between Earth and space—the so-called “off-world colonies”—and depends heavily upon biologically engineered humanoids called “replicants” for a variety of purposes: warfare, physical labor, even prostitution. Replicants are generally forbidden on Earth; Deckard, a “blade runner,” was once tasked with eliminating them. When four replicants land illegally—obsessed with extending their biologically mandated four-year life spans—Deckard is pressed back into service and partnered with Eduardo Gaff, a newer blade runner who seemingly holds Deckard in disdain.
Deckard’s investigation takes him first to Tyrell Corporation, whose megalomaniacal CEO has succeeded in creating replicants nearly indistinguishable from humans. There, Deckard meets and falls in love with one of them, Rachael. She saves his life after his attempt to kill one of the replicants fails, and in the night they spend together afterward, it’s strongly suggested that Deckard might be a replicant himself. Finally, just one replicant remains: a deadly soldier called Roy Batty. At the end of a harrowing rooftop fight, Batty finds his humanity and spares Deckard’s life. Deckard sadly watches him die, then spirits Rachael away, possibly with Gaff in pursuit.