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Why The Predator Will Be Even Better Than We Thought

There have been so many remakes and updates of old franchises that it's inevitable some of them are going to be stinkers, and we've all been disappointed by them at some point. But there's plenty of reason to hope The Predator will do right by its predecessors.

Filled with top-drawer talent, The Predator is neither a direct sequel of the original films nor a reboot. It takes place as part of the overall narrative begun with 1987's Predator, and the filmmakers of today enjoy effects tools the creators of the late '80s could only dream of. And if the involvement of fans in a new project sets minds at ease, then the casting of Sterling K. Brown is worth getting excited about — Brown told Entertainment Weekly he loved the original movie so much that his buddies in college used to tease him about it.

If that doesn't convince you, don't worry — we've got plenty of other reasons why The Predator will be even better than any of us thought.

Resistance is futile

The alien hunter of the original Predator was, to put it mildly, a formidable warrior. He was strong, fast, could camouflage himself, and had weapons capable of blasting a watermelon-sized hole in Jesse Ventura's torso. If that's all the heroes of the new film were facing, it would be tough enough.

But the hunters of the new film promise to be above and beyond. The Predator's official synopsis speaks of the aliens using their prey as more than just sport; since the events of earlier films, they've "genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species." Like the cybernetic Borg of Star Trek fame, the aliens of The Predator are getting even better by absorbing the strengths of their conquered. The second trailer ends with a likely example of this upgrading: a much larger version of the Predator who, for some reason, doesn't seem particularly pleased with his buddies.

If Predators end up with abilities more diverse than just "bigger," fans might expect to have fun trying to figure out which species they got their new powers from. We know the hunters have encountered the xenomorphs of the Aliens franchise. Imagine if a Predator had acid for blood, or a baby mouth inside its regular mouth?

The Reaver gets to shine

Boyd Holbrook played the merciless Pierce in Logan, the leader of the cybernetic soldiers who pursued Logan and Laura. Anyone watching the movie who wasn't thinking "that guy should get his own movie" wasn't paying attention — and now Holbrook is getting an even better chance to break out with The Predator.

Holbrook plays Quinn Mackenna, a soldier who – according to the second trailer — is one the first of The Predator's stars to encounter one of the aliens. We know that director Shane Black means for him to be the movie's hero, meaning he'll enjoy more screen time and more of a chance to shine.

Holbrook refers to his character as an assassin in the second trailer, so his work on Logan likely has something to do with being tapped for this role. The earlier movie showed Holbrook had a knack for being able to evoke viciousness while remaining likable. 

A fresh take

In articles and interviews about The Predator, the word that keeps popping up is "fresh." Everyone attached to the project wants people to know it'll be faithful to the spirit of the original and a refreshing take on the franchise. Stacy Snider, CEO of 20th Century Fox, called the movie "unexpected and utterly fresh." Sterling K. Brown said it's "very different from the original Predator." Keegan-Michael Key told Entertainment Weekly that anyone expecting something identical to the earlier film "is in for a surprise...a very pleasant surprise."

So what does this mean? What exactly is "fresh" and new about The Predator beyond the casting and the special effects?

Speaking to a small group of journalists on the set, Shane Black gave some indication of exactly how it would stay faithful to its predecessors while getting even better. "[W]e just tried to take the existing mythology and take it a step further," Black said. "Why do Predators do what they do? What would be the next step for them?" He also hinted at the notion that the events of The Predator will be more than just a safari for the aliens involved. "[W]hat happens when the Predators get a little more ambitious?" Black said. "Maybe it's not just a weekend anymore."


The Predator cast members have been fairly tight-lipped about specific plot points so far, but while talking to Entertainment Weekly Sterling K. Brown – playing a government agent whose name has yet to be revealed – did say a number of things about the feel of the film, and in particular he said the characters enjoy a "real camaraderie" he thinks "folks will be attracted to."

If true, this could be a part of the film that's even better than its predecessors. The chemistry between the characters of 1987's Predator couldn't really be described using a word like "camaraderie." Sure, they were friends. In fact Mac's (Bill Duke) breaking point came when his friend Blain (Jesse Ventura) fell to the hunter, but there wasn't a lot of chemistry between the soldiers. They mainly showed off their muscles and did their best to one-up each other in terms of toughness and of who could intimidate Dillon (Carl Weathers) the most.

They've got time to bleed; a lot

The 2004 mash-up AVP: Aliens vs. Predator made the utterly insane choice of going the PG-13 route, which no one with any hope for the film expected. The film put two franchises together that were defined, in part, by bloodletting. In one corner you had a horde of aliens with acid for blood who, as newborns, burst out of people's chests. In the other, you had intergalactic hunters who not only stalked and murdered because it was their idea of a good time, but tended to do things like skin their prey or rip their spines out. You would think an R rating for a film that put those franchises together would define "no-brainer." 

It is possibly because of this mistake that fans have been worried about The Predator being a kid-friendly entry. Maybe the fact that the first trailer opens with the young Rory McKenna (Jake Tremblay) playing with what appears to be a toy spaceship helped to fuel those fears. Shane Black took to Twitter to put any concerns bluntly to rest. 

"Just to be clear," Black tweeted, "PG-13 is for p—–s. Spines bleed... a lot."

So whether or not Black gets invited to fewer kids' parties, fans of Predator can be sure this won't be a bouncy house addition.

Wickedly funny

Sterling K. Brown told Entertainment Weekly that one of the things that stands out about The Predator is its "wicked sense of humor." It's easy to believe considering Shane Black's previous work (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys), not to mention comedy gold mine Keegan-Michael Key, who's featured prominently. 

The original Predator had its humor, of course, though most of what tickles about the earlier movie doesn't necessarily seem like it was meant to be funny. Jesse Ventura's classic "I ain't got time to bleed," or the moment Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers lock hands and the camera gets a close-up on their arms — apparently meant to make half the audience swoon — are hilarious now, but seem like they were probably meant to get a completely different response back in the day. 

And of course, there's the simple fact that those of us old enough to have seen Predator in the theater can turn to our younger acquaintances and point out that among the sweaty soldiers stomping through the jungle who were chosen more for their muscles than their talent, there are not one but two future United States governors. 

The Great Busey legacy

For anyone worried that Shane Black is forgetting the past, one of the few characters we have confirmed details about should quell those fears — and the casting choice sounds even better. 

Specific plot points and character details are hard to come by for The Predator, but Jake Busey has confirmed he plays the son of Peter Keyes — the character his father Gary Busey played in 1990's Predator 2. He posted a picture of himself on Instagram from the film set wearing a lab coat, and since Gary Busey played a government agent who was secretly hunting the Predator — and considering at least two other actors (Boyd Holbrook and Sterling K. Brown) are playing covert agents — it's possible Jake Busey's character is likewise some kind of federal spook, though maybe more on the egghead side of things.

Regardless, it's fairly cool to cast a Busey as a son of a Busey, though it's a safe bet The Predator's cast was grateful to have Jake Busey as a coworker and not his more infamous father.

Maybe we'll get a new musical

If any fan of the original Predator doesn't know about Legolamb's Predator: The Musical, they need to watch it. Immediately. 

Jon and Al, the supposed duo making up Legolambs, specialize in turning popular films and TV shows into short musicals. One of their greatest achievements is 2011's Predator: The Musical. Using dialogue lifted directly from the film, Jon and Al have impersonators singing as the entire cast of Predator to the tune "If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It," ending with a mud-covered Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting a torch over his head and roaring in challenge. If you've never seen it before, it's largely safe for work, unless you suspect your boss and/or co-workers would be annoyed by you laughing without stopping for about three and a half minutes. Because you will. 

And now with a new, fresh take on the franchise, Jon and Al will have a chance to add music and song to another classic.

You'll never see him coming

The Predator was preceded with a poster featuring the tagline "YOU'LL NEVER SEE HIM COMING." It's certainly a fitting phrase for an alien hunter who can camouflage himself by hitting a few buttons on his wrist, but anyone paying attention to director Shane Black's career may recognize it, or a variation, from another franchise.

"You'll never see me coming" was the threatening catchphrase Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) — disguised as Iron Man bad guy the Mandarin — used in his faux terrorist videos during Black's Iron Man 3 and subsequently used to entertain his fellow inmates in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King.

Could it be that there's some connection between addict/crappy actor Trevor Slattery and the deadly aliens of The Predator? Is Black connecting the MCU to the world of The Predator (and therefore, to those of Alien and Blade Runner)?

No. Definitely no. There's pretty much no chance. But he may get a joke out of it, and that could be even better — although it'd probably be funnier if you hadn't been warned about it beforehand. You're welcome.