|THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE UNICORN:
When Deckard leaves his apartment with Rachael at the end of the
film, she knocks over an origami unicorn.
The unicorn is the last of a series of origami figures that Gaff uses
to taunt Deckard.
In Bryant's office when Deckard insists he's retired, Gaff folds a
chicken: "You're afraid to do it".
Later he makes a man with an erection: "You're attracted to
And finally, the unicorn: "You're dreaming, you can run away
with her, but she won't live" (he says basically the same thing to
Deckard on the rooftop).
One interpretation is that the unicorn was simply a message to
Deckard to say "I know you've got Rachael, but I'll let her
Another interpretation (based on the script) is that the unicorn is
Gaff's gauntlet and he will hunt them both down.
A unicorn has long been the symbol of virginity and purity (being
white), which ties in with Rachael's status.
Legend states that only a virgin could capture a unicorn.
Unicorns are extinct, and Gaff may think the same of Rachael, as she
definitely has a limited lifespan.
A unicorn was used in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass
Menagerie" to symbolize that the girl was "different to other
The horn on this unicorn represented her physical handicap, which
prevented her from meeting people. When she finally did meet a man, they
danced and knocked over the unicorn, breaking its horn off. "It's
just like all the other horses now," she said, which symbolizes
that she has overcome her shyness and lost her virginity.
The unicorn may also symbolize:
- Rachael is (and always will be) a replicant among humans, and will
be different, like a unicorn among horses, because of her termination
date. (In the tacked-on ending, Deckard says that she doesn't have a
- Rachael leaving and knocking over the unicorn symbolizes her escape
from the Tyrell corporation, which only looked upon her as a replicant.
- Deckard fell in love with her as a human, and by doing so, she
- "The silver unicorn... is a made thing, a piece of human
handiwork, beautiful and fragile and glittering, yet perceived as waste,
thrown down and trodden upon, easily destroyed. Also, it is in the form
of an animal, albeit a mythical one, and in the BR future, the beasts of
the earth and fowls of the air are all be extinct, except in replicant
form." [Source: Rebecca Warner in "Retrofitting Bladerunner"]
BRDC, however, includes a scene not in the original release. It is a
dream sequence, showing Deckard's dream of a white unicorn. One can now
argue Gaff knew that Deckard had dreamt of a unicorn. If Gaff knew what
Deckard was dreaming, then we can assume that Deckard was a replicant
himself, and Gaff knew he would be dreaming of a unicorn just the way
Deckard knew about the spider outside Rachael's window.