What We Know: The Predator
By Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
We all remember Arnold Schwarzenegger covering himself in mud and battling the mandible menace in the jungle. We remember Danny Glover and the cruel creatures in the city. We sort of remember a couple movies where Aliens (with a capital “A”) were having a show down or two with some other aliens (lower case “a”) who just refused to be prey. (But let’s be honest, we sometimes wish we could forget about those.) We might even remember that time Academy Award winner Adrien Brody led the fight against other-world hunters with that scrawny kid from That 70s Show (and some other people). I haven’t said it yet, but you know I’m talking about a particularly proficient killer alien species whose name begins with a big fat capital “P.” And in 2018, Shane Black will take us back and reintroduce us to those killer aliens in The Predator.
That’s right, folks! Shane Black has written a new film, The Predator, along with Fred Dekker. Black will be directing the newest addition to the Predator universe, working with original Predator producers John Davis, Lawrence Gordon, and Joel Silver. And in case you were wondering, yes, it is THAT Shane Black… That dorky communications guy, Rick Hawkins, with the big glasses and comic books that was the first to fall victim to the vicious Predator in the first film. (Don’t believe me? I’ll wait here while you go check the credits… Done? Told you, didn’t I?) Black might actually be better known for work off-screen, such as writing the script for the 1987 classic buddy-cop action flick Lethal Weapon, or directing films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Iron Man 3.
Alright, I can hear you already… ANOTHER film about Predators? Haven’t we been there and done that? When initially approached by 20th Century Fox, Shane Black felt similarly to the fans. He was reluctant to get involved, as he felt Fox has “been churning out these AVP whatever… they’re okay, but there’s no effort to elevate them or make them any kind of event.” Speaking at the London Film Club, Black also said, “Back in the original, there was a real sense of mystery, I thought. And discovery… then… over the years… it had lost its luster.” But the studio countered, promising to reinvigorate the franchise and give it the event status they have given to other franchise pieces, like the Alien prequel. Black got on board, hoping to move the direction of the Predator franchise from meh to massive, and in June 2014, Fox officially announced the sequel.
So what do we know about The Predator right now? Well, to be honest, not much! Filming began on February 20 of this year in Vancouver, but other than some casting news, things are being kept tightly under wraps. Director Shane Black has said, “We’re trying to up the stakes… just making it full of ideas and mystery.” And so far, the mystery is holding. For some time, there were rumors that The Predator would be a reboot of the series, but Black told Collider in an interview that that was not the case. “Why start over when you’ve all this rich mythology yet to mine?” So it looks like The Predator is in sequel territory, as Black has confirmed that the film will be set in present day, following events in Predator and Predator 2, but will taking place prior to events in 2010’s Predators. (You may note the lack of mention of the AVP stories in that timeline… Could it be Black is trying to forget them too, like many of us?)
We know it’s a sequel. Shane Black has also made it abundantly clear that the film will be R-rated. (Truthfully, could anyone make a good movie about Predators and go PG-13?) We also know that the film has a “singular” title for a reason (in case you were wondering if it was a typo). It is referred to in the script according to writers Black and Fred Dekker. The plot of the film has yet to make its way into the light, however. But despite the sequel status of The Predator, we might be avoiding boring story rehashing, according to Boyd Holbrook, the film’s lead. “Shane Black has made something totally new, somehow keeping within the realm of ‘Predator’ [while also being] absolutely new in terms of the story that we’re talking about today, and rooted in something real. It’s real fresh.”
One of the few things we DO know about The Predator is some of the talented actors and actresses we’ll be able to see on screen! While many of them have not had character names released yet and very little fictional biographical information, at least we have some faces to put on the project! Have a look below for casting information!
*Boyd Holbrook (Narcos, Logan) will play male lead Quinn McKenna, a former Marine and Special Forces member who discovers the existence of Predators, even though he’s alone on the belief boat at first. (This part was initially offered to James Franco, then Benicio del Toro was cast, but was unable to keep the part due to scheduling conflicts.)
*Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse) will be Casey Bracket, a scientist who will be working with Quinn in some capacity.
*Jacob Tremblay (Room) will play Quinn’s son, who has a form of autism and a special talent for languages that will pull him into the fray against the alien big bad.
*Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) was cast 2 days into filming as Quinn’s ex-wife and mother of Quinn’s child.
*Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) will be playing an ex-Marine and Quinn’s best friend. (There is no character name available yet.)
*Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele) will be playing a (thus far nameless) man who will team up with Quinn and Casey to fight against the Predator(s).
*Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) will be playing a government agent who imprisons Quinn at some point, but gets on board the Predator belief boat eventually. (Yes, another character who is yet to be named to the public.)
*Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones) will be playing another ex-Marine who teams up to stop Predator(s). (Maybe he’ll get to keep certain body parts in this role.)
*Augusto Aguilera has just been announced as a part of the film, reportedly finally filling out the main cast (in a role that we know nothing about just yet).
Now, you want to know about Arnie… we all do. While Schwarzenegger told one news source that he would be meeting with Shane Black about The Predator, we know nothing about whether we will see Dutch make a comeback in the 2018 sequel. There have also been rumors that Thomas Jane (The Punisher) might have a role in the film, but there have been no official announcements and no mention on the film’s IMDB page. But speaking of the IMDB page… prowling around, it seems that a certain 6’9” actor/dancer by the name of Kyle Strauts has a fairly significant character tag attached to his name – The Predator. The Vancouver resident, nicknamed “Too Tall” was unable to comment on the credit (so we’re kind of thinking that’s a confirmation). Strauts might not be alone wearing the Predator suit (with new armor for the film). Although there has been no confirmation and no credit on IMDB, Brian A. Prince, a 6’10” actor posted a photo on social media, training with Strauts and working on a project in Vancouver that he can’t talk about. (You know, like The Predator or something…)
To track the progress of the film and stay up to date, writer/director Shane Black has encouraged fans to follow him on Twitter (@BonafideBlack). You can also follow the movie’s official Twitter page (@predatormovie). And while you’re waiting for news, do a web search for the real-life goblin spiders of the genus Predatoroonaps. (Yes, Predatoroonaps rickhawkins and others are a real thing.) You know, just for kicks.
The Predator is currently set to release in theaters (including IMAX) in the U.S. on February 9, 2018 and in the U.K. March 2, 2018.