Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Crazy Predator Cameo You Completely Missed

Writer and director Shane Black crammed a lot of coolness into The Predator, his take on the hallowed sci-fi action franchise that centers on the titular heat-seeking, spine-ripping, skull-crushing alien terrorist from outer-space. Though the film received mixed reviews from critics, The Predator had tons of banter characteristic of Black's unique sense of humor, a heaping helping of action, some awesome practical effects, and a strong cast — including Narcos actor Boyd Holbrook, This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown, Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale actress Yvonne Strahovski, and Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes. 

However, when looking at the best elements of The Predator and all the small details for fans to pick apart, there's one thing everyone missed: a crazy, incredibly well-hidden cameo that will have fans of 1987's Predator smiling wide. 

On September 16, two days after the film opened in theaters, The Predator cinematographer Larry Fong tweeted a picture of a red creature, and asked if anyone knew "what this has to do with the original Predator" and "what the related Easter egg is" in the new Predator movie.

It wasn't long before Fong's notifications were flooded with responses to his tweet, with several movie-lovers correctly answering that the picture is actually of Jean-Claude Van Damme dressed in a red "cloaking suit" when he was attached to play the Predator — you know, before he was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.

"Kudos to those who knew the story behind this. And REPEAT, there is an awesome Easter egg (that everyone seems to be missing) concerning this in the new @predatormovie you will LOVE," Fong later posted

While the vast majority of watchers didn't see the Van Damme-related Easter egg, a few eagle-eyed fans were able to spot the exact moment the original, lobster-esque design for the Predator makes a cameo appearance in Black's movie. In The Predator, when Quinn McKenna's (Holbrook) son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) goes trick-or-treating on Halloween night, with the stolen Predator mask taped around his head and the creature's gauntlet around his tiny arm, a person dressed in the earliest Predator costume walks past him. 

Like many others, Bloody Disgusting editor in chief John Squires missed the cameo during his first viewing of The Predator, but, after seeing Fong's tweets on his timeline, he made the discovery the second time he saw the film. 

"Cool thing I spotted on my 2nd watch of #ThePredator, thanks to the cinematographer hinting at it. During the trick or treating sequence, a kid walks past the screen dressed in the original, unused creature suit from Predator '87. It's magical and amazing. Keep eyes peeled!" Squires tweeted on Monday, September 24. 

Apparently, the original Predator suit that the Muscles from Brussels wore way back when popped up a few more times within The Predator. Twitter user @TESDNinjaAnt noticed that "some of the shots from the original movie where the Predator is in stealth mode are of the original suit" as well. 

For anyone who isn't super familiar with the Predator franchise and the making of the film that started it all, here's a condensed course on how Van Damme was cast as the Predator, why he had to step into that goofy red suit, why he eventually dropped out of the project, and how the terrifying alien that trophy hunts other species for fun got completely redesigned into the beast everyone knows and fears today. 

Following the release of Commando in 1985, film producer Joel Silver wanted to continue his streak of success and craft another movie starring a muscled action star in the vein of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Meanwhile, screenwriters Jim and John Thomas were working on a script for a film entitled Hunter. Legend has it that the Thomases based their story on a popular joke that swirled around Hollywood after Rocky IV debuted in 1985: after Rocky Balboa (Stallone) bested the Soviet Union's boxing champion Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and avenged the death of his best friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the only place the Rocky film series could go would be to have Rocky fight an alien in the next installment.

The validity of that cinematic urban myth is up for debate, but regardless of its truth, 20th Century Fox eventually bought the script for Hunter (later re-titled Predator) and the Thomases teamed up with Silver and his co-producer Lawrence Gordon to bring the project the life. Silver and Gordon tapped Schwarzenegger to lead the film as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, cast Weathers as CIA operative Al Dillon, and selected Jesse Ventura to play Blain Cooper. Then Van Damme came aboard the film, set to play the Predator opposite the three hulking men. 

Unfortunately, Van Damme had anything but a damn good time in the Predator suit, first designed by a company called Boss Film Creature Shot. The actor was apparently told that he would "be in a tight leotard with half-human, half-animal makeup on [his] face," but in reality, the costume was bulky and Van Damme's face wouldn't be shown on screen at all. 

Steve Johnson, Boss Film Creature Shot's makeup effects supervisor at the time, revealed in 2014 that Van Damme absolutely hated the red Predator suit, which was meant to be keyed out in editing so that the creature would be invisible for most of the film. (As Johnson explained, red was used because it's "the opposite of green on the color wheel," and Predator "had been shot against green in the jungle.") 

"Jean-Claude comes in and we're fitting him in this red suit and just assuming, like the slaves that we are, that the higher ups have told him exactly what's going on," Johnson said in an interview with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. "But he thought this was actually the real look of the monster in the movie, and he was, 'I hate this. I hate this. I hate it. I look like a superhero.' He was so angry."

Johnson added, "I'm like, 'Jean-Claude, did no one tell you? It's a cloaking device. You're invisible for half of the picture. This is not you.' Which made him even angrier because he thought he could do his martial arts, he could fight Arnold Schwarzenegger. Impossible. Absolutely impossible."

Van Damme didn't like the look of the real, non-cloaking Predator suit, which showed his face through its neck, much better. "You could see his eyes through the rubber muscles of the neck and he's like, 'I hate this head. I hate it. I hate it. Hate it,'" said Johnson.

The film's crew, including director John McTiernan and Schwarzenegger himself, soon realized that the original design wouldn't work, and Van Damme was pretty fed up with the situation as a whole. Thus, Van Damme parted ways with Predator, Kevin Peter Hall climbed aboard to replace him, and the legendary special effects and makeup effects designer Stan Winston saved the day by redesigning the Predator. 

Everything wound up panning out wonderfully, as fans are now left with double the greatness: a kickass creature that doesn't look like a weird marine crustacean and a seriously cool deep-cut cameo tucked inside The Predator