New concept art for The Predator reveals the monstrous Ultimate Predator could have been even creepier looking. The Predator is the 4th entry in the long-running sci-fi series and introduced the idea the titular alien hunters were upgrading their abilities by splicing their DNA with other creatures they’ve hunted. The movie originally had more of a focus on this plot thread, including a major battle sequence where the heroes fought mutated hybrids like a Spider Predator, but this subplot was pared down during reshoots.
This restructuring of the third act instead positioned the Ultimate Predator as the movie’s main threat. This beast is the product of genetic tampering to make it bulletproof and nigh-on unstoppable, and the final act features the main characters being hunted by it in a dark forest. The Predator’s hybrid concept was met with a mixed reaction by longtime fans, with some finding it a silly new addition to the mythology, though some found the Ultimate Predator to be a formidable new villain.
Various pieces of unused art have cropped up for The Predator following its release, including an alternate ending that had direct ties to the Alien franchise. Now artist Ken Barthelmey has revealed an unused design he created for the Ultimate Predator, with the hulking monster taking on more human looking features.
It’s certainly a creepy alternate take on the monster, but director Shane Black probably made the right call not to use this design for The Predator. While it would have been an interesting departure, given the backlash that greeted the human-looking Newborn creature from 1997’s Alien: Resurrection, sometimes it pays to stay close to a classic design.
Despite featuring a great cast and some action setpieces, The Predator failed to connect with audiences and proved to be a box-office letdown. The movie felt compromised in editing, with the story feeling choppy and rushed. This can partly be blamed on the major restructuring of the third act, but the movie as a whole feels like large chunks of character development and plot were ripped out to make it move faster. Black has also stated its unlikely The Predator will receive an alternate cut restoring the original plotline since the effects weren’t completed. Considering the movie’s lukewarm box-office, its unlikely Fox would cough up the funds to complete that version now.