Even though the original Blade Runner ended with Sean Young’s Rachael surviving, she has been nowhere to be found in the trailers or marketing for Blade Runner 2049. Does she made a cameo in the movie at all, or is Harrison Ford really the only actor from the original back?
SPOILERS FOLLOW BEYOND THIS POINT.
Young is credited with appearing in the film in the credits. CGI is used to make her look like she did in the original Blade Runner. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) created a clone of her as an offering to Deckard (Harrison Ford) in exchange for him telling Wallace about the child he and Rachael had. Deckard refuses, and also makes a remark that the real Rachael’s eyes were green. Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) shoots the Rachael clone.
However, unlike ILM’s explanations for how Peter Cushing was brought back to “life” for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the crew behind 2049 haven’t revealed how exactly a Young version was made. Was Young actually involved or was the Rachael clone created completely with CGI? That will likely not be answered until the film has been out for awhile.
In Ridley Scott’s original 1982 classic, Young starred as Rachael, a replicant Decker (Ford) fell in love with. She is a NEXUS-7 model, the latest creation from Eldon Tyrell and is more advanced that the other replicants Deckard hunted down. She was programmed to believe she is human and has the memories of Tyrell’s niece, but Tyrell thinks Rachael might be figuring out what she really is. In the end, Rachael and Deckard were allowed to live. Some cuts of the original end with Deckard’s elevator doors closing on them. However, the theatrical cut spelled it out even further, showing them leaving Los Angeles to live in exile.
Young’s role in Blade Runner 2049 has been kept under a tight lid, but it’s been revealed that she was involved. A source told the New York Daily News in early September that she worked “in secret with minimal crew knowing about it, and even the editors have been on lockdown about her appearance.”
The 57-year-old Young started talking about the Blade Runner sequel in 2013, revealing to Crave that she had a meeting about the project.
“Well, I did meet with Alcon, the company that owns it and is planning to do the remake* with Ridley,” Young said at the time. “I did meet with them, but I think at that point they just wanted to meet me and I don’t think they have any plans of using any of the original people, although I can’t say for sure. I do think, let me just say it right here, I do think it would be a disappointment to the audience not to have Rachel in it but you know what, folks in Hollywood make mistakes all the time.”
(*Blade Runner 2049 didn’t end up being a remake, but is a true sequel.)
In another 2013 interview, this time with Entertainment Weekly, Young suggested people should boycott the sequel if she wasn’t in it.
“But my official opinion is that, if they don’t include me in it, everybody should boycott it,” Young said. “Because it’s stupid not to have me in it. It’s really stupid. That’s my opinion! I mean, you try to tell people something sensible in Hollywood and sometimes they just don’t listen, you know. And they usually pay the price too, because everybody’s an expert.”
In a 2015 interview with the Guardian, she said she hadn’t heard anything from Scott since her initial meeting. “I saw Ridley a month ago and not a peep was uttered from his mouth about it and so I left it alone,” she said.
Young spends most of her time today making appearances in indie movies, and her IMDb page lists 13 movies that are either in pre-production or completed that haven’t been released yet. In 2017, she’s already been seen in Escape Room, Lost Cat Corona and Police State. In 2015, she appeared in the acclaimed Kurt Russell Western Bone Tomahawk.
After small roles in Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980) and Stripes (1981), Blade Runner was Young’s first big movie role. But after her clashes with Oliver Stone led to her part in Wall Street getting cut and her infamous public battle with James Woods, her career nosedived in the late 1980s. She didn’t appear in Batman (1989) as she had hoped and got fired from Dick Tracy (1990). But in recent years, she has found TV roles and went to rehab in 2008 and 2011.
Young was married to Robert Lujan from 1990 to 2002, but remarried in 2011. They have two sons, Rio Kelly and Quinn Lee.