[UPDATE: According to Shane Black, the film will be a sequel, not a reboot.]
Movie remakes and reboots are (unfortunately) a standard part of the business these days - and it seems like no property is too sacred to be meddled with. And yet, after years of some lackluster reboot films, we have, admittedly, seen more and more reboots that actually manage to follow our rules for redux success, offering a different or exciting spin on a property we thought we knew. 21 Jump Street, Dredd and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are examples of some recent reboots that managed to justify their recycling of old intellectual properties - with films like The Equalizer and Terminator Genesis offering at least the hope that future reboots will be just as worthwhile.
...Then again, there are plenty of reboots that fail for one reason or another (Dredd), and there are also films that we consider SO sacred that they should not be meddled with at all. In that latter category we would place classic films like Casablanca or The Godfather - but also an action movie classic like Predator. Now, much to our collective horror, it's being reported that Predator is indeed getting a reboot (a bullet we thought we dodged last year), with the story being crafted by none other than Iron Man 3 director, Shane Black.
THR dropped the news that 21st Century Fox has tapped Black to reboot Predator. To be specific, Black will handle the treatment for the project, and then hand actual scripting duties to Fred Dekker, who is best known for writing/directing late '80s/early '90s cult films like Robocop 3 and The Monster Squad - which itself was almost remade a few years back. Black and Dekker (the Hollywood guys, not the tool parts company) have strong collaboration history; they co-wrote Monster Squad together, which has got to count for something (and does, at least in our book). On his own, Black has history with the Predator franchise: it's a not-so-secret story that as young screenwriting prodigy (Lethal Weapon), he was given a small role in the original 1987 film as attempted bribery for him to polish the script. (See him in the cast photo below standing behind Schwarzenegger's right side.)
No details yet on exactly how the studio plans to reboot the franchise - but it certainly is a looming question. After two installments in the late '80s era (touching 1990, if we're getting technical) - and slogging through Aliens vs. Predator films during the early to mid-2000s - the Predator franchise got its best shot at new life with the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators in 2010. That film was supposed to be a hard reboot of the franchise, and soon after its modest reception ($127 million worldwide on a $40 million budget) there was serious talk of a Predators sequel. Four years later and it's obvious that Predators 2 lost all momentum - so what's the game plan to make this Shane Black reboot more enticing?
With Black teaming with another '80s/90s veteran - not to mention John Davis, a producer on the original film - it seems that this time, there's going to be an attempt to recapture the nostalgia of the first film. Does that mean bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger in some capacity? Wouldn't be surprised if it did. Beyond that, a Christmas setting is about the only bet we can make right now (Black loves to set his films during the holidays).
After Iron Man 3, however, there is going to be no end to the barrage of jokes fans are going to toss at this new Predator project. For as much money as IM3 made, hardcore fans were less than thrilled with some of the... "liberties" that Black took with the material. "So what, we going to find out that the Predator wasn't a REAL alien - just a junky English actor in a body suit?" Yep, we can already hear the jokes spreading across the Interwebs...
Bottom line, though: Predator is one of the last movies from my younger years that I still carve out time to watch nearly every time I catch it on TV. For nearly all of my thirty-two years of life, it's been there to bring me entertainment and pleasure on some of the most dreary, lazy, sickly, or boring days. Never once have I wished to have an updated version to replace the jungle misadventures of Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves and Kevin Peter Hall in the Predator suit - and I'm probably not alone in saying that I haven't started wishing for that change in recent years. In my eyes, this reboot is facing a steep uphill climb to relevancy and/or appreciation.
We'll keep you updated on the status of the Predator reboot.