With five films currently residing in its cinematic portfolio, the Predator franchise has been going strong since Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers first battled the otherworldly alien hunter in 1987. While the pseudo-sequel Predators, starring Adrien Brody (Houdini) and Topher Grace (American Ultra), didn't exactly light up the box office nor garner much in the way of positive attention from critics or audiences, it still fulfilled that empty space fans of the franchise were craving.
A few years later, 20th Century Fox decided to put Shane Black (The Nice Guys) in charge of directing a new Predator installment, tentatively titled The Predator. Black is also co-writing the movie's script with Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad) - himself no stranger to sci-fi or action genre stories. Filming for The Predator is supposed to begin in either September or October of this year, but with no leading star attached to the project that might not be possible. Though a short list of rumored potential lead stars had emerged (which included James Franco) no official word on who might land the leading role had been announced.
Now, according to Deadline, it appears that actor Benicio del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy) is entered into talks with Fox Studios to star in Black's re-envisioning of the classic eighties action/sci-fi film - though his actual role is currently unknown. Of course, "talks" can always fall through and this del Toro news could turn out to be nothing more than Hollywood agents tossing their client's name around, but for now it appears as if he might be the next person to battle the skull-collecting alien.
As an Oscar-winning actor, del Toro (who also has a role in Star Wars: Episode VIII next year) definitely brings a certain amount of credence to The Predator reboot. Of course, Black's unique approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 3 has been debated, but generally fans liked his darker, more mature, take on the character and subject matter. Black said during a Q & A back in June that he wanted to make his Predator movie feel like an event film, more inline with Close Encounter of the Third Kind than any of the other films in the franchise.
Those famliar with the original movie will remember that Black actually starred as "Hawkins", the comic book-loving commando who eventually becomes target practice fooder for the Predator. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Schwarzenegger did meet with Black earlier this year to talk about The Predator. Either way, it certainly appears that Black has his own take on the property and a specific direction in which to steer the franchise and its infamous antagonist.
It's not totally out of the realm of possibility that with The Predator, Black gives some sort of nod to longtime fans of the franchise in the form of cameos by either Arnold and/or even himself - though that's never really been Black's style in the past. Expect to learn more soon, as The Predator (presumably) gears up to star production in the next few months, in order to make its current theatrical release date.
The Predator opens in U.S. theaters on February 9th, 2018.