2017 will see the return of the xenomorph in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, which 20th Century Fox is seemingly so confident in, the studio has moved the film to a prime summer spot. That’s not the only space meanie the studio’s prepping for a return either, as 2018 will bring back the two-mouth monster’s famous nemesis for Shane Black’s The Predator, eight years on from the last movie in the franchise (director Nimród Antal’s Predators). The film has been in development for a while – it was first floated in mid-2014 – but after a shooting delay (it was originally set to start filming last September) and a few casting hiccups (Benicio del Toro almost signed on), it’s beginning to move forward for a mid-February production start-date.
The film’s been slowly building up its cast in that time. Boyd Holbrook (who’s also playing Logan villain Zander Rice for Fox in just a couple months) is the lead, reportedly along with Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes playing an ex-Marine, backed up by Olivia Munn as a scientist. The latest addition to the movie’s cast, however, comes from a distinctly more comedic background.
According to THR, Keegan-Michael Key (of Key and Peele fame) is in final talks to appear in the film. His role isn’t specified in the THR article, but it look to be a core part of The Predator‘s main ensemble, with the exclusive report saying the character will team up with Holbrook and co. to take on the deadly yautja.
Key’s been a comedy mainstay for a while thanks to both his series with Jordan Peele and a raft of movie appearances (he’s been in everything, from bit-parts in the likes of Role Models to the duo’s first feature, Keanu, last year), but The Predator could offer bit of a career change; presuming it isn’t a straight-up gag-role a la Tomorrowland, this could see him move into (moderately) more serious territory. Not that comic relief would be out of the question; last October Black talked about how the Predator films manage to cross genres, being funny as well as scary, and how he wants to replicate that here.
The Predator was at one point rumored to be bringing the deadly hunter to the suburbs, a detail THR first reported and that its Key story repeats – even though other reports refute the claim (which is hardly surprising, given how suburbia is a little too close to the small-town aesthetic of AVP: Requiem, a film neither franchise wants to hearken back to). As such, it’s hard to really speculate on how Key might fit into the movie, but more details will likely come out once he’s signed on the dotted line and production on Black’s film officially begins.