When thinking of the ‘holy trinity of ‘70/’80s-born science fiction action horror, it’s easy to feel nostalgic. The truth is that, barring a few years’ hiatus within each franchise, Hollywood has never actually left Alien, Terminator, and Predator alone.
At least when it comes to Predator, though, we’re not always left complaining like we are with the hugely underwhelming Alien and Terminator sequels (almost everything since their ground-breaking first sequels have left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, with Alien: Covenant and Terminator: Dark Fate being the most recent of stinkers).
That’s not to say all the Predator sequels have been as excellent as the first, though. Predator 2 and Predators remain something of a mixed bag, though each of them did make impressive strides to be as different as possible to the first, while also expanding the mythology of the alien warriors.
But the less said about the enormously divisive The Predator, the better. While a financial hit, the film was torn apart by fans and critics. But now a sequel is underway, with Disney hoping to keep it a lucrative property, much like other franchises they've inherited, with a sequel also planned for the latest Apes series.
And the Predator franchise is indeed a massive cash-cow, both on and off the silver screen. Onscreen, it’s now almost five films strong, but it has been even busier in video games and in graphic novels over the decades. And let’s not forget the Alien Versus Predator series, which has also encompassed all the aforementioned forms of media.
The two films might have been ill-received, but the first entry has, in more recent years, earned some respect back from the fanbase, despite its star-Predator being made somewhat ‘family-friendly’.
On that note, with Disney now occupying the top floor, what could this mean for the new movie? Following the acquisition of Fox, CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that certain properties will remain R-rated, so it’s likely Predator 5 will follow suit with its predecessors in terms of violence.
But we know that you have many more questions – probably about as much as a poor commando lost deep in the Guatemala jungle where they’re being stalked by an unseen alien foe. But don’t worry – here’s everything you need to know about Predator 5. Unless of course you ain’t got time to read…?
The release date for Predator 5 is currently TBA – which was confirmed by producers John Davis and John Fox in an interview with Collider last month. However, they also confirmed that they’re three-quarters of the way through filming, which indicates that Predator 5 is likely to be set for a 2022 release. Keep checking in for a confirmed date.
Recent reports suggested that the fifth film in the Predator series is to be titled ‘Skulls’ – this was even confirmed by the producers in their interview with Collider. However, director Dan Trachtenberg recently took to Instagram to semi-clarify things, offering that Skulls has been the film’s working title since last year. He posted a picture of the 10 Cloverfield Lane slate, which shows the working title Valencia. Alongside the image he said:
“Looking at this old picture of our slate from when we shot 10 Cloverfield Lane and thinking about how sometimes they report on a movie’s title, but it’s actually just the code name it is shooting under...”
It’s possible that the producers were deliberately referring to the working title, to keep the real title under wraps. Or perhaps there’s a bit of a communication breakdown. Either way, we’ll just have to refer to the film as Predator 5 for the time being (which probably won’t be too far from the truth given the franchise’s track record in ill-imagined titles).
Earlier this year, it was reported that actress Amber Midthunder was cast as the film’s lead character, who must face the dreadlocked alien warrior. However, when prompted to discuss her casting in an interview with Collider in June, Midthunder was somewhat evasive, choosing only to talk about her role in this year’s Ice Road starring Liam Neeson.
Nevertheless, it has been confirmed that Predator 5 will feature a female lead, so it will be refreshing to finally see such a character go head-to-head with a Predator. While Alien Versus Predator’s Sanaa Lathan (Alexa Woods) was a great female protagonist, we never got to see her fight the Predator, instead teaming up with him to battle the xenomorphs.
No other cast members have been confirmed as yet, but one thing’s for sure where Amber Midthunder is concerned – given the new film’s historical setting (though the exact period remains ambiguous), she definitely won’t be telling anyone to “get to the chopper”.
As Predator 5 is still filming, a trailer is yet to be released, but we’ll be the first to let you know when that ominous triangular laser appears on our screens (after looking over our shoulders, of course).
2004’s Alien Versus Predator was the first prequel either of the two franchises had seen at that time, focusing on a pyramid buried deep in Antarctica that houses an imprisoned xenomorph queen, whose offspring are hunted by Predators as part of a ritualistic rite of passage.
However, while the film and its awful 2007 sequel Requiem aren’t really canon with the Alien movies, having messed with its timeline quite a bit, and adding to that the fact that in 2012 Alien got its own prequel in the form of Prometheus, which made things even more complicated, it’s difficult to know where the two spin-off movies stand where the Predator franchise is concerned.
Either way, Predator 5 will serve as the first official prequel in the main Predator series. The movie is confirmed to be set long ago, which was confirmed by producers John Davis and John Fox, who also added that it will be “Predator’s origin story” and the species’ “first journey to this planet”.
As for when exactly it will be set, rumors currently point towards the American Civil War, where the film would focus on a Comanche woman who “goes against gender norms” as a hero-cum-warrior who must face the Predator. With that said, while the two producers didn’t reveal the period, they did say “use your imagination – it is early”, which would suggest that it predates the Civil War.
These rumors are likely the result of the producers comparing the upcoming film to 2015's The Revenant, which follows the simple premise of a man on a path to vengeance while facing the perilous elements and nature’s deadliest creatures along the way.
It sounds like the filmmakers want to keep things fresh by going down the prequel route, and it’s likely we’ll learn even more about the Yautja species and their first interaction with the earth.
While the world’s most iconic action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger has appeared in every single Terminator entry to date (even in CGI-form in Terminator: Salvation), he is yet to reprise his role of Dutch in the Predator franchise – which fans are dying to see happen – having only appeared in the original 1987 movie. But will he be appearing in the upcoming Predator 5? There’s no word on the actor making an appearance just yet, but here’s to hoping that he’ll “be back” …
In an interview with Collider last month, producers John Davis and John Fox discussed the film, while also keeping specific details under wraps. When asked about the possible R-rating, the two explained that while the film was conceived as R-rated, it all depends on how it ends up being cut.
They also admitted that the film was conceived while 2018’s The Predator was still in the middle of shooting, before promising that the film will be a “worthy complement to the first one”, that it “goes back to what made the original work”. They also confirmed that it will focus on a female lead, and the “ingenuity of a person who won’t give up”, likening the film to The Revenant.
10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg is helming the project. Previous directors are John McTiernan (Predator 1987), Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, 1990), Nimród Antal (Predators, 2010) and Shane Black (The Predator, 2018). The latest director recently took to Instagram to clarify that Skulls isn’t necessarily the name of the new film, saying that it’s a working title.