Director Shane Black is referencing an experience with Iron Man 3 when it comes to his approach to rebooting The Predator franchise. Black, of course, has had a storied history in Hollywood, dating back to 1987 when he wrote the scripts to the blockbuster Lethal Weapon and cult hit Monster Squad. That same year, the screenwriter made his acting debut, in a small but memorable role opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator.
Thirty-one years after the release of Predator, Black has wandered back into the cinematic jungle, but this time as co-screenwriter and director of The Predator, which is being billed as a sequel to the original film. And while the filmmaker has been hard at work crafting the project for the past couple of years, the hype truly started to build Thursday with the release of the official synopsis and first trailer for the film, which will debut in theaters on September 14.
During production, Collider talked with Black about returning to the franchise, and just published the interview, which includes his thoughts about his journey in the Predator universe coming full circle. And while Black admits that he hasn't given that concept much thought to date, he believes he will once audiences see the film. One thing he appears to hope The Predator will avoid is the backlash that came when he was at the helm on Iron Man 3. He says:
I suppose, once it’s over and I have time to reflect back it’ll feel satisfying that we’ve continued the tradition, assuming we pull it off and people accept what we’ve done. I still get the beheadings hate mail from Iron Man 3 because we changed something and I understand that. I think that we’re not changing what the sense of The Predator is, I think we’re expanding on what’s there.
Fans of both Iron Man 3 and the Predator franchise can probably take a couple things away from Black's observations. For one, it sounds like the writer-director is remaining status quo as far as respecting the original Predator, and not reinventing the wheel and pulling off any huge surprises like he did with Iron Man 3.
The biggest surprise –if not complete shock – to fans of the Iron Man comics was how the time-honored villain The Mandarin was revealed to be a phony character played by an actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley). A subsequent Marvel One Shot short film starring Kingsley attempted to soothe fans' ill-will with the Trevor controversy by creating a scenario with the real Mandarin, but with no more One Shots or another Iron Man solo movie on the horizon, the thoughts of what might have been will likely have to live in fans' imaginations.
While Black didn't specifically reference the flap over Trevor in his Collider interview, chances are pretty good that that's what he's hinting at. As far as The Predator is concerned, fans will find out in about four months if Black will make good on his promise to expand the Predator story rather than try to reinvent it – and avoid more hate mail in the process.
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018