WARNING: Major spoilers for The Predator ahead.
This armor is a sleek silver with piercing red eyes, and a considerably more svelte build to the standard Predator. In terms of weapons and abilities, we see that the Predator Killer has the classic invisibility and, from the multiple tracking dots, several plasma canons. It’s presumably kitted out with more than that, and there’s definitely room in the pod for some other weapons like the ever-useful staff from Predator 2. Even as is, though, the armaments make it one of the most powerful suits seen yet in the movies, meaning that humans have a serious advantage over any returning hunters.
Throughout the movie, we’ve seen several humans use Predator tech. Quinn wears the gauntlet and evades capture using invisibility; Rory controls the ship remotely, views a hologram creation of the Ultimate Predator, wears the mask (with the help of tape), and later gets hands-on with the Ultimate Predator’s craft; Traeger uses a shoulder canon in the finale (before accidentally blowing his head off); Casey befriends a Hell-Hound and uses invisibility to sneak up on the Ultimate Predator. Clearly, while this is science beyond our current developments, we’re more than capable of using it. What the Predator Killer does is give something purpose-built. And that’s going to be very important…
The Predator Killer Is The First Weapon In The Human/Predator War
The Predators want Earth – but humanity isn’t too keen on the idea. The Predator‘s biggest change wasn’t to the motivations of the Predators per se, but more the implication for the future of the franchise. For the longest time, this has been a mash-up of 1980s action films and horror monster with a sci-fi twist, but now it looks like the series is stepping out to being an alien invasion revenge thriller. Think Starship Troopers with even uglier motherf*ckers (and less satire).
The Predator Killer is humanity’s first weapon built to work against the Predators, providing Quinn – who claims it at the end – a fighting chance without the need for mud or makeshift traps. But this lone armor needn’t be the be-all-and-end-all. Like a figurative monolith, the technology on display could usher in a new period of technological development. In all previous Predator films, the alien has been killed and almost all trace of it destroyed (either by emergency self-destruct or other over-watching Predators). This time, bodies and ships remain before we even get the Predator Killer, providing humanity with its first proper look at how they work. The future situation in a sequel to The Predator could be similar to Terminator 2: Judgement Day where the surviving T-800 skeleton was used to actually create Skynet, or Alien where the nefarious Weyland-Yutani wanted the Xenomorph to derive new weapons from.
Space travel, new weapons, perhaps even hybridization. It’s all to come in a sequel…
What The Predator Ending Means For A Sequel
The Predator sequel is being set up to be about the war, but there’s several ways to take it. The obvious suggestion is that, using the newly-developed tech, Quinn and co. will head into space and take the fight to the Predators. This could see us visit the Predator homeworld properly after a breif tease in Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. The cheaper flipside is it becomes a defense game, with humanity getting ready for the increasing frequent Predator attacks.
Of course, neither deal with the big problem that The Predator raises: human extinction. If climate change really is that close to wiping out the dominant species on Earth, then that’s a bigger concern than a few space aliens coming for a closing down DNA sale. It’s possible the leaps forward caused by the Predator Killer will allow us to find a way to avert catastrophe, or the development of interstellar space travel will render our home planet redundant. This development could even lead to the colonizing seen in the original Alien films (which, per the Alien vs. Predator spear Easter egg is canon).
One other aspect a sequel to The Predator really should look at is the possibility of a team-up of various heroes. Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator), Harrigan (Danny Glover in Predator 2), Lex (Sanaa Lathan in Alien vs. Predator), Royce and Isabelle (Adrien Brody and Alice Braga respectively in Predators) all survived their Predator run-in, and would be perfect to form a team of sci-fi Expendables. This has already been flirted with – Arnie has been close to returning four times (a couple of which we’ll look at later), while Laurence Fishburne’s Predators role was conceived as being for Glover – and now we’re talking about taking on the aliens, the time seems right.
This is, of course, all dependent on box office. At the time of writing, The Predator is currently tracking to open around $30 million; enough to see it beat The Nun to the top spot but less than AVPR. Could this be another Independence Day: Resurgence, where a new entry in a Fox franchise served as a backdoor reboot into a “humans taking the fight to the aliens” story until terrible box office stopped it dead? Hopefully not!
The Predator Ending Before Reshoots
As has been widely reported and openly discussed by the filmmakers, The Predator underwent substantial reshoots early this year, with particular attention paid to the third act. The nature and motivation of these changes is still up for debate: director Shane Black has repeatedly cited it was primarily to move the sequences from day to night, but the choppiness of the editing in the finished movie and overall confused flow suggest something more fundamental.
Indeed, we know that two whole sequences from the later part of the film were cut: the Looneys fighting with good guy Predators and the team getting attacked by hybrid Predators when approaching the ship. No trace of these scenes or related subplots is in the finished film, with the Ultimate Predator’s hunt in woods looking to be the replacement; it changed the deaths of several major characters. However, based on script leaks, the final showdown with the Ultimate Predator played out about the same, with survivors Quinn, Casey and Rory together taking the beast down.
Early leaks suggested that the victory would beeline directly into an Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo where he recruited Quinn for a Predator fighting cause, although the Governator turned down such a small part. The second trailer then showed the survivors looking up at the sky and Quinn saying “come and get us, motherf*cker“, an Arnie free-adaptation of that idea. It’s up in the air whether the Predator Killer was part of principal production and came after that beat or the reshoots replaced it, although the disconnected nature of the scene and shaky CGI suggest the latter.
Whatever the case, considering what we got, the planned Arnie appearance and a similar cut scene from Predators, it’s clear that Fox’s grand plan with the series has always been about taking the fight to the Yautja.
The Predator Killer In Other Media
While this is the first time a human Predator armor has appeared in the movies (although Lex in Alien vs. Predator was gifted a makeshift shield and spear from Xenomorph body parts), the idea isn’t totally new to Predator canon. Following the original movie in 1987 and throughout the 1990s, the Predator was a major license for Dark Horse Comics, who greatly deepened the mythology (this was where Alien vs. Predator first emerged) including some human companions to the aliens.
Most prominent is Machiko Noguchi, the human focus of the original AvP comic. Similar to Lex, she survived being in the middle of the Xenomorph/Yutja conflict and was branded as a result. However, unlike Lex her story continued, with Machiko joining a Predator clan and working with then on several hunts (until an attack on humans had her question her identity). During this time, she worse a human-sized Predator mask and armor. A little weirder, there’s also Caryn Delacroix (again part of the AvP series), who was kidnapped to be the trophy wife of a Predator and later took up a mantle herself. The term “Killer” was also used to describe a clan of Predators who sought only to kill their prey, not hunt.
Both of these human characters are shown working with the Predators and eventually turning on their violent compatriots. This is obviously very different to where the movies are heading, but shows that the human Predators teased at the end of The Predator really have been a long-time coming.