The writers of Predator 2 originally had a very different setting in mind for the iconic alien hunter to stalk his prey in. The original Predator is now considered an action classic and followed a band of elite soldiers being stalked through a South American jungle by a hunter from another world. The sequels to the film have been a mixed bag, however, and the franchise has never recaptured the thrill of the original.
Predator 2 found the hunter in Los Angeles during a heat wave, where he squares off against Danny Glover’s vengeful cop. While the film has some great action and expanded the lore of the series – including a fan-baiting Alien skull easter egg – it wasn’t as successful as the original, and fans were disappointed that Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t return.
During an anniversary screening of the original with the Arkansas Cinema Society (via MovieWeb), co-writers Jim and John Thomas revealed a couple of pitches they had for the sequel. The studio was very keen to bring back Arnold initially, so an early concept was about figuring out a way for his character to return organically.
"We had an idea where at the end [of Predator], with the burned up clearing where the explosion happens... [Predator 2] opens there. Predator's invisible feet come into view and a hand plunges down into the dust, into the ashes, and brings up the Predator's arm and then activates the computer and get's a readout to see everything that had happened up to that time, focusing on Arnold, and 'this is my target.' We went from there and we had to think of how to bring Arnold back into it."
During this period the writers also had an intriguing alternate pitch that was totally different to the resulting film.
"We also had an idea about doing a World War 2 version in the Battle of the Bulge, in the middle of the winter. A German foot platoon and an American platoon separated, and had a stalemate fighting each other off when the Predator shows up. They have to join together to defeat it. We thought the snow Predator effect would be quite different."
Despite this killer hook, the studio was convinced the next film should take place in a big city. The earliest drafts of Predator 2 actually featured Schwarzenegger’s Dutch working for the government and tracking the new alien, but the actor didn’t like the script, the city setting or the dark turn his character would have taken. He ultimately opted out to focus on Terminator 2, and the Dutch character evolved into Gary Busey’s Peter Keyes instead.
Despite Schwarzenegger's noted affection for the original film, he appears to be in no hurry to return to the franchise. He turned down cameos in both 2010’s Predators and Shane Black’s forthcoming The Predator; in the latter case, he didn’t like the size of the part. Black's new sequel is set to be a reboot for the series, and will take the unusual move of bringing the alien hunter to the suburbs.
Source: Arkansas Cinema Society Facebook