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The Inspiration Behind Prey's Dog Sarii Makes Too Much Sense

The following article contains spoilers for "Prey"

Since its premiere on Hulu, the action-horror film "Prey" has garnered massive amounts of success. Not only did "Prey" set a jaw-dropping Hulu viewership record upon its release, but the movie also has a 92% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The character-driven story centers around young Comanche woman Naru (Amber Midthunder), who is intent on completing her first big hunt. When the male hunters in her community fall victim to the alien menace known as the Predator, it is up to Naru to save her friends and family, which she does with ingenuity and conviction. But when it comes to the best main characters of "Prey," special mention must be given to Naru's dog Sarii.

A faithful canine companion (who thankfully survives the entirety of the film), Sarii is Naru's constant ally who helps her through all her trials — alien and otherwise. As it turns out, director Dan Trachtenberg looked to another classic action film series for inspiration for Naru's furry friend.

Sarii was inspired by Dog from Mad Max 2

Just as "Prey" calls back to the original "Predator," it also draws influence from another fan-favorite film of the '80s. But instead of aliens, it is a dystopian tale set in Australia. While being interviewed ahead of the film's release, director Dan Trachtenberg revealed that Sarii was inspired by "Mad Max 2," aka "The Road Warrior." The film depicts former cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) as he is thrust into truly being on his own at the end of days. Max is the epitome of a loner type, but is not without his trusty canine companion who he only refers to as "Dog." This appealed to the director of "Prey" and he was certain to include that dynamic in his own film.

"'Road Warrior' was a big inspiration for having a badass and their dog," Trachtenberg told Dextero. "I love having there be this buddy relationship with this creature, with another animal, amidst a 'Predator' film." The director also remembered showing friends and family cuts of the film before it was finished, and everyone was asking for more of Sarii. "I was like, 'You don't understand. We are using every usable frame of this dog,'" Trachtenberg told FreshFiction. It turns out, there were a lot of unusable frames of the pup for one particular reason. 

Sarii wasn't the easiest pup to work with on set

Sarii is played by a civilian dog named Coco, who has zero film experience. "She was a little bit of a hot mess — but in a sweet way," "Prey" star Amber Midthuner told Dexerto. "She was not a movie dog, she was literally adopted to be in this movie, and she just happened to be very high-energy." Dan Tractenberg agreed, noting that Coco was "Super rambunctious. Very energetic. Always a nail-biting moment for us on set, 'Is Coco gonna like, make her mark and do what she needs to do?' It was sometimes a journey to get there, but eventually, she always did. It was very exciting, lots of cheers would happen when we finally got a great take with Coco."

Tractenberg also revealed that Sarii was never going to be in the movie as much as she was, and they decided to include her more and more as filming went on. "One of the great things about 'Road Warrior' is the way Mad Max uses his doggy, so we wanted to have the same kind of fun in this movie as well," he said. 

Even though she didn't always nail her takes, Coco did well enough to earn legions of fans.