Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch Schaefer has almost returned to the Predator franchise four times – but despite the close calls, he has yet to make a second appearance. Following the release of the original Predator an urban legend joked the premise was born from a failed Rocky V pitch, where following Rocky’s defeat of Ivan Drago, the only worthy opponent left would be an alien. This rumor has since been debunked, but it highlights the inherent B-movie cheesiness of the idea – the toughest man on Earth versus a joy killing alien hunter. Cheesy or not, Predator is rightfully considered a genre classic; it introduced an iconic monster, it had great action and dialogue and it's topped off by John McTiernan’s taut direction.
Predator's story finds Arnie’s elite commando squad being picked off by the titular trophy collector one-by-one until Dutch is the last man standing. After heavy firepower and modern tactics fail to best the predator, Dutch reverts to primal instincts and finally manages to slay the monster. He barely escapes with his life, but Arnold has surprisingly never returned for a rematch despite it being considered one of his signature roles.
It turns out this wasn’t for lack of trying, and the actor has been approached for sequels numerous times. The first draft of Predator 2 featured Dutch in the role eventually taken by Peter Keyes (Gary Busey). In an intriguing inverse of the original, Dutch would have led a team tasked with hunting and capturing the City Hunter. Unfortunately, it seems a number of factors prevented Arnie’s involvement. The first is he wasn’t keen on the city setting, or that Dutch would have taken something of a villainous turn.
Director Stephen Hopkins claimed Arnold left to focus on Terminator 2, but producer John Davis has since confessed a pay dispute led to him walking. Predator 2’s script revealed Peter Keyes visited Dutch in a hospital following the first movie, where he suffered from radiation sickness from the Jungle Hunter's self-destruct blast. We learn that Dutch escaped soon after and disappeared, but the movie ultimately cut this dialogue. It’s possible a remnant of Dutch’s dialogue remains in the final product, however; when Keyes confronts the Predator in the finale, he yells "Guess who’s back!" - a play on Arnie’s famous catchphrase.
The series went on hiatus following Predator 2's lukewarm box-office, but Alien vs. Predator director Paul W.S. Anderson reveals he spoke with Schwarzenegger about a cameo. Arnie agreed to appear on condition he lost the election for Governor of California – history knows how that played down. Sadly, no information regarding Dutch’s possible role has emerged, and given how AVP’s story ended up, it's difficult to see where he would fit in.
Next up is Predators, which was based off a screenplay written by producer Robert Rodriguez in 1996. That draft featured Dutch being taken to a Predator planet and forced to fight in gladiator-style battles with predators and other alien creatures. The script was deemed too expensive, but while the eventual movie differs heavily from this draft it retained the core concept of soldiers being taken to a Predator game preserve. Arnold was still Governor when the film was being shot so he could never have played a lead role. That said, Rodriguez offered him a cameo at the very end, where he would have emerged from a ship - accompanied by a dozen other Predators - decked out in full Predator garb and praising the survivors for winning. Again, his Governor duties ruled this out.
Finally, Arnold was offered a part in Shane Black’s The Predator, which according to rumors, would have played out in a similar fashion to his planned Predators role. Dutch would have appeared at the end and teased a bigger battle to be fought in another sequel. Arnie has since said he didn’t like the size of the role and passed, though fans are hopeful that extensive reshoots on the project found time to squeeze in a surprise Dutch cameo.
While Predator fans have dreamed of Dutch’s return, it seems the biggest obstacle is Arnold’s apparent lack of interest. Outside of the Terminator franchise he rarely commits to sequels, and he’s stated his distaste for the Predator sequels that did emerge. Maybe if Black's installment succeeds, another entry could lure Dutch out of retirement - but it doesn't look like he'll be getting to da choppa anytime soon.
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018