The Predator may be trying to return the alien hunter series to its roots, but it's making one big change: it's finally calling them "predators" (and has a fairly convincing argument for why). The eponymous monster has previously never got a name in the movies, known as either Yautja or Hish-qu-Ten depending which expanded universe source you're going from.
Shane Black's upcoming reboot will present a new take on that iconic ugly motherf*cker. The Predator introduces several new types of creature - including the genetically-engineered Ultimate Predator and Hell Hounds - and according to early story reports will see a human boy able to communicate with them. Although the most substantial evolution of the mythology may be something simpler.
A new trailer for The Predator debuted today that showed considerably more of the military team that will take on the monsters, with Sterling K. Brown's Traeger identifying them by name to Oliva Munn's Casey Bracket: "Predators, they exploit weakness, tracks its prey, like a game." That will already prick fans ears. The word "predator" has barely been spoken in any of the Predator films. It wasn't used in Predator, Alien vs. Predator or AvP: Requiem, and was only used once apiece in Predator 2 and Predators as a descriptive of the monster ("Well, we've prepared a trap for this predator") and the human protagonists ("It's because we are predators. Just like them") respectively. This makes The Predator unique, the first time the movie title has been used directly in a movie.
It doesn't end there, though. Casey challenges the naming, saying a more suitable title would be "sports hunter". Traeger agrees but said the scientist team had a vote and agreed predator was cooler. This provides a genuine, in-world reasoning for why characters would go for something so innately "cool" as Predator for a name, and also echoes fan questions over the franchise title.
The decision to address the Predator is probably a contextual one - it's what even die-hard fans call the creature, after all - but given the long-held tradition it's a bold change for Fox to make all the same. With the explanation a pretty big joke, however, it's clear that this aspect - and perhaps more - of the movie isn't meant to be taken totally seriously.
More than a cool moment, all this sly winking also help reframe our view of The Predator as a movie. Thus far, the marketing has been rather lacking - the first teaser was a hype dampener, and nothing since has really come close to redressing the balance. The latest trailer, however, turns things around. It's funny in a very Shane Blackian sense, gory as an R-rating requires, and overall has the promise the project once had. If everything is as well handled as the canonizing of the movie title, this one might work out after all.
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018