You just can’t keep a good trophy-hunting alien down, and now The Predator is scheduled to stalk the big screen again beginning September 14. Just a few days before the film’s premiere, a clip from the film was released that offered the best look so far at the movie’s supersized new alien.Directed by Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang filmmaker Shane Black — who also played a supporting role in the original 1987 film — The Predator is expected to be set between the events of 1990’s Predator 2 and 2010’s Predators. Narcos and Logan actor Boyd Holbrook stars in the film, while Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Jacob Tremblay, and Thomas Jane have supporting roles.
Here’s everything we know about The Predator so far.
Hello, big guy
Humans won’t be the only prey for the aliens in The Predator. A clip released by the studio in September (just a few days before the film’s premiere) offered the best look so far at the genetically modified, supersized hunter that will debut in the film — and will apparently hunt other Predators.
How’s that for raising the stakes?
The final, bloody look
20th Century Fox released the final, full-length trailer for The Predator (see above) in late August, and the studio went all-in on its last look at the film with the most intense, footage-filled preview so far. Along with offering an introduction to the movie’s colorful cast of human characters, the trailer also showcases the bloody beatdown the alien predators will dish out in the film — and not just to humans.
Clearly, the studio was saving the best for last when it comes to The Predator.
Behind the scenes
With the premiere of The Predator looming, AMC Theatres debuted a brief, behind-the-scenes feature with footage from the film and some insight from writer-director Black on his approach to re-igniting the iconic alien’s franchise.
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) August 23, 2018
The ultimate hunter
A television spot for The Predator released in August put the focus on the film’s alien hunters — particularly the genetically modified “ultimate” version of the Predator.
Seeing red in new trailer
A red-band trailer for The Predator released June 26 offers a good reminder of the film’s ‘R’ rating to go along with a lot of fresh — and violent — footage from the movie.
The preview also offers a bit more context for the film’s placement in the franchise timeline, and how the latest group of human protagonists (or in this case, prey) end up on the wrong side of the alien.
A new kind of Predator
A second preview of The Predator debuted on television in early June, and the teaser trailer offered quite a bit of fresh footage, as well as a peek at something unexpected: A new kind of Predator.
The variant Predator debuts near the end of the preview; it’s seen grabbing one of the standard Predator aliens and pulling it through a wall, then slamming it on a car and standing over its body. It’s clearly taller than the typical Predator and has some other different features (although it’s hard to make out too many details in the low light).
A terrifying teaser
20th Century Fox released the first teaser trailer for The Predator (see above) on May 10, and the 106-second preview provides a peek at many of the featured characters in the film — including the genetically modified Predator(s) that turn a suburban community into their hunting grounds.
Genetically modified Predators
Your standard garden-variety Predator is bad enough, but the film’s synopsis, obtained by ComingSoon, promises even deadlier hunters. It mentions upgrades obtained from the DNA of other creatures. Is it too much to hope that one of those creatures is a Xenomorph? The synopsis reads:
“From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter, and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.”
The Predator has been in the works for a long time for good reason: The film had to undergo a major rewrite and substantial reshoots. Key participated in a roundtable on April 11 and was asked about how reshoots had gone. In response, the actor revealed how much work went into them.
“We just finished last week,” Key said, according to CinemaBlend, “and just about three-quarters of the third act was rewritten.”
The actor continued, sharing high praise for director Black, who co-wrote the script with Fred Dekker.
“Shane Black is… he’s just a consummate professional, and a consummate writer,” Key said. “He’s a wordsmith! It was a really, really exhilarating experience, and I think that he’s still one of our most vibrant writers of cinema.”
In addition to giving Black and Dekker a chance to keep improving the film, the reshoots also provided more opportunities for them to share glimpses of their work. Dekker posted a photo from the set on Facebook on March 20, writing that they were “shooting some touch-ups” and that the “body count is alarming.”
Hello, all. Currently in Vancouver shooting some touch-ups for our little movie. I can't tell you what's beyond this fence… except to say the body count is alarming. THE HUNT BEGINS SEPTEMBER 14, 2018.
The Predator was originally slated to hit theaters in February.
Attendees at the Brand Licensing Europe expo in London got an early look at an electrifying promotional image for The Predator.
The image, which was on display at the 20th Century Fox booth and posted on Instagram by an attendee, features bolts of lightning that form a silhouette of the Predator’s iconic mask. It’s unknown whether the image is actually the first, official poster for the film, or simply a preliminary teaser image for the movie.
From ‘Battlestar’ to ‘Predator’
The impressive cast of The Predator became a little more impressive in late March 2017 with the addition of Battlestar Galactica actor Edward James Olmos to the film’s cast.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olmos will play a “military character” in the film. This shouldn’t be much of a stretch for the veteran actor, who famously played Commander (and later Admiral) William Adama on SyFy’s award-winning Battlestar Galactica series, and even directed several episodes of the acclaimed drama.
More recently, Olmos played the leader of a rival faction of S.H.I.E.L.D. on five episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series on ABC.
Cameras rolling, killers posing
Shane Black unleashed a few major updates on the film in mid-February 2017, all via Twitter. The first update, posted on February 18, 2017, confirmed the film’s R rating.
And, just to be clear… PG-13 is for pussies. Spines bleed… a lot.
— Shane Black (@BonafideBlack) February 18, 2017
He then posted a “partial cast” photo featuring many of the actors appearing in the film, along with the announcement that cameras had officially begun rolling on the movie.
Partial cast… beautiful human beings, good people. Also, killers. Cameras roll today. Follow me on Twitter for updates. Wish us luck. pic.twitter.com/vYGgGesW0Y
— Shane Black (@BonafideBlack) February 20, 2017
From left to right, that’s Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, and Keegan-Michael Key in the back row, along with Jacob Tremblay and Black himself in the front row.
Hunters and hunted
Although the alien Predator is the true star of the franchise, the series has lined up some memorable prey for its hunter over the years.
In January 2017, Hung star Thomas Jane (pictured above) was reportedly added to the cast of the film in an unknown role. No stranger to genre fare due to his starring role in 2004’s The Punisher and various sci-fi and horror films and television series over the years (including the current sci-fi series The Expanse), Jane hasn’t appeared in very many big-budget movie projects lately, so it will be a return to the big screen of sorts for the actor.
In November 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse actress Olivia Munn (above) reportedly joined the cast of the film, with The Hollywood Reporter indicating that she’ll play a scientist opposite Holbrook’s character. In early 2017, Key & Peele co-creator and actor Keegan-Michael Key was also added to the supporting cast, along with Moonlight actor Trevante Rhodes.
The project appeared to be narrowing its search for a leading man when Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro was reported in September 2016 to be in talks for the starring role in The Predator. Those talks appeared to have broken down in a hurry, though, as Narcos actor Boyd Holdbrook was announced as Del Toro’s replacement just a month later. Holbrook and Rhodes are both rumored to be playing ex-Marines on a mission to take down the alien hunter.
New hunting grounds
In past films featuring The Predator, the alien hunter has stalked its prey in a Central American jungle, the urban jungle of 1990s Los Angeles, a vast temple underneath Antarctica, and an unknown planet that served as the extraterrestrials’ game reserve. This time around, the film will reportedly feature a new environment — once again, on Earth — for one (or more) Predators to seek out trophies.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Predator will be set in the unpredictable wilds of suburbia. Exactly how the alien will end up in the suburbs — or exactly which suburbs it will stalk — remains unknown, along with many of the other details regarding the film’s plot.
Naturally, the initial casting discussion surrounding The Predator focused on whether the film would bring back any of the (admittedly few) characters to survive previous installments of the franchise — particularly, Schwarzenegger’s tough-as-nails Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer. After successfully battling the creature in the 1987 original movie, his character didn’t appear in any of the sequels or spinoffs outside of vague references to his encounter in a Central American jungle.
“These things all happened in 1990,” said Black when asked in May 2016 if there’s a chance we’ll see Schwarzenegger reprise his role. “But now it’s 25 years later. So in other words, if Arnold’s in it — which I’m not allowed to discuss — he would be old Arnold.”
One character who’s definitely returning for The Predator is yet another representative of the deadly alien species that debuted in the 1987 film. According to Black, the iconic hunter is getting an upgrade of sorts for the film.
“It’s not to ‘improve,’ it’s make it fun, make it different, make it organically different,” Black told Coming Soon in May 2016. “So what’s the extension of it that makes sense, that’s exciting? There have been a lot of changes to Stan [Winston]’s design over the years. These different Predator movies have done different things. . . . In The Predator, we’re doing a lot of upgrades to what you would consider to be the traditional Predator technology and look, but hopefully, the story is what’s going to drag people in, not just the attention to the minutiae.”
Embracing the ‘R’
The success of recent, R-rated sci-fi and superhero genre films appears to have paved the way for The Predator to return to its bloody, violent, mature-audience roots.
According to Black, the success of superhero movie Deadpool — which had the biggest opening weekend of any R-rated film ever made and is currently the second-highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time — made studio 20th Century Fox more amenable to taking a restricted-audience approach to The Predator.
“Fox has been very cooperative,” Black told Collider in November 2016. “Part of it is the success they had with Deadpool, but I also made a case — and I think they agreed — that fans of the Predator generally, probably aren’t looking to go to see a PG-13-rated version of it. It would be more of a letdown if it was sort of tailored to a family-friendly audience than if it were allowed to play out to the same scale and level that the first R-rated one did.”
Bringing back hunting season
The 20th Century Fox studio first announced plans for a reboot of the Predator franchise back in 2014, with both Black and Dekker attached to the project from the very start.
The Predator is a reunion of sorts for Black and the titular trophy-hunting alien. Along with playing a supporting a role in the original film, Black was also offered a chance to rewrite 1987’s Predator due to his success with Lethal Weapon earlier that year, but opted instead for an on-screen role and some unknown, uncredited contributions to the film’s script.
Also returning for the reboot is franchise producer John Davis, who weighed in on Black’s plans for the film in an August 2015 interview.
“I’ve read a lot of [Black’s] script and I think it’s genius,” Davis told Collider. “I think it’s genius and I think it’s entertaining, and what it did is re-create a famous franchise in a different, interesting way; looking at it from a different light. He’s just an amazing writer-director.”
Black has indicated that the film won’t be a full-scale reboot of the franchise, with the film acknowledging the events of the first two installments of the series — 1987’s Predator and 1990’s Predator 2 — but it’s unknown whether the following two crossover films will also fall within the film’s newly established continuity. What is known, however, is that The Predator will be set in the present day, a fact that Black himself confirmed.
“I think it has to stand on its own two feet, but our goal is to make sure it acknowledges that, yeah, it is 30 years later in the continuity of the story,” explained Black. “In other words, Dutch Schaefer’s patrol, which was attacked and largely slaughtered, happened 30 years ago in the context of the story. It’s referenced, it’s part of the mythology. In that way, it’s more of a sequel than a reboot.”
Fans got their first look at the version of the iconic alien that will debut in The Predator via an image posted on the franchise’s official Facebook page in February 2016. The image featured the text “You’ll Never See Him Coming” over a background image of the alien, along with red text featuring the film’s newly announced title.
Filming concluded on The Predator in June 2017.
Updated September 10 with a new clip from the film.