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Prey Almost Had A Much More Mysterious Ad Campaign According To Dan Trachtenberg - Exclusive

"Prey," the fifth film in the "Predator" franchise, offers something very new to the long-running series in returning to the past. Taking place hundreds of years ago as a Yautja lands in Comanche territory, it's a clever action-sci-fi-horror epic that innovates in a franchise first by returning to the past. "Prey" is the first time the galactic hunters we colloquially know as Predators have gone to prior eras in human history (minus the "Alien vs. Predator" pair of non-canon crossovers), a very clever and genuinely distinct contribution to franchise lore.

The novel historical setting inspired director Dan Trachtenberg to advertise the film in a unique way, a plan that would have been a mysterious campaign if it had come to pass. In an exclusive interview with Looper, the director explains what his stunning original "Prey" ad campaign would have been. For franchise fans, while we may not have seen this plan in action, we can now know the intriguing idea that might have been.

Cloaking Prey in the original ad campaign plan

In the exclusive interview, Dan Trachtenberg discusses how he originally pitched "Prey" when the studio was already working on "The Predator." He had wanted to premiere the trailer ambiguously at first. He explains that "I thought it would've been awesome to have a trailer come out for this movie with no title attached that was set-up [with] Naru setting off to prove herself." In this vision for the ad campaign, like in the film, "[she] goes into the woods and sees a fire in the sky, and so we immediately go, 'Oh, this is set in this earlier time in the 1700s, and it's about a Comanche,' but there's some sort of science fiction element." It's a great and mysterious set up, much like the film's own inciting incident.

In this initial idea, we see the scene where the ship lands (and is taken for a sign), but at this point neither the character nor the audience has seen the Yautja. "That's all we would get," he adds, "which already is a captivating premise and worthy of having a trailer." It would be a mysterious ad, but one that's cinematic and which prepares the audience for the right sort of film. Then once "The Predator" was in theaters, "Prey" would drop the real trailer. 

Trachtenberg explains that the mysterious visual wasn't the only element of the plan, but rather "the pitch was when the 2018 movie comes out, we'd attach with it our full trailer that would have that same setup." The trailer would then move a little farther into the story, "into the bear sequence," where we see "the bear lifted up into the air and reveal the Predator and people [would] go, 'Oh my gosh, that thing we were already talking about, that's a Predator movie.'"

You can catch "Prey" on Hulu, where it is now streaming.