The Predator franchise is due for a big comeback following the success of ‘Prey’ (Image Credit: Space.com)
One of Disney’s promises following the acquisition of Fox and its assets in 2019 was that the Alien, Predator and Planet of the Apes franchises were top priorities in their “adult blockbusters” plans. So far, this is true, with all three properties appearing in several forms of media over the years and either releasing or having in development new live-action projects. It seems, however, that Predator is lagging a bit behind its brethren.
Of course, the universe’s most lethal hunters have appeared in Marvel comic books, video games and even one excellent prequel movie, Prey, since Disney became their new overlord. And yet, it feels like Alien is getting way more love despite being in the same precarious situation when the acquisition happened. The franchise had lost a fair amount of the audiences’ trust after 2017’s Alien: Covenant, a divisive installment which underperformed at the box office and killed off Ridley Scott’s plans for a prequel trilogy to his 1979 masterpiece. As for Predator, 2018’s The Predator (directed by veteran actor-filmmaker Shane Black) cratered even harder and still is regarded as shockingly disappointing and misguided, even for a sci-fi franchise which traditionally embraced schlocky B-movie DNA.
Before we push onwards with some thoughts on the current state of the Predator IP and what the future might hold, we suggest looking at our best sci-fi movies picks. Looking to get deeper into the Alien universe? Explore our Alien movies ranked list to figure out whether they’re all deserving of your time, and maybe discover the best Alien games of all time if you want to blast some xenomorphs. Last but not least, we also ranked all the Predator movies released so far.
Prey was a massive hit, so what’s next for the movies?
The weirdest thing about the current situation of the Predator movie series is that no new projects have been put in active development ever since Disney took over. Last year’s Prey – arguably the best installment alongside the original – was inherited from the last Fox regime, so we’ve yet to see what a Disney-ordered (through 20th Century Studios) Predator movie looks like. If other recent sci-fi features from the same studio, such as No One Will Save You and The Creator, are any indication, the future could be bright.
In a way, next year’s Alien movie from Fede Alvarez (2013’s Evil Dead) will be a solid test for Predator’s sister franchise and Disney-funded sci-fi features for adult audiences as a whole. While we have yet to hear more about the future of Predator in movie form, the fact the upcoming Alien movie was moved from Hulu (streaming) to a theatrical slot is great news. We bet the folks at Disney are still kicking themselves over making Prey – which locked down a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – skip theaters.
The logical next step is to green-light a direct follow-up to Prey, especially after the subtle tease thrown at viewers during the movie’s credits. However, at the same time, the unexpected period-piece Predator prequel makes a good case for adopting a format closer to that of an anthology. The Predator comics from Dark Horse already played with the idea several times, and using different historical settings to keep things fresh without complicating the mythology too much seems like a sensible direction to take right now.
The bolder moves: crossovers and T.V. series
We haven’t forgotten about all the potential a new take on Alien vs. Predator (AvP) holds. In the era of cinematic universes and punctual crossovers, a proper adaptation of the AvP comics and/or video games doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. We already discussed at length why this makes sense, especially under Disney’s umbrella, but we just want to once again underline the past two AvP movies were bad because of half-baked creative decisions and talent which wasn’t quite ready to take on such massive IPs. These two bloodthirsty extraterrestrials actually gel with each other quite well.
Of course, a new Alien vs. Predator movie could only happen after both franchises start printing money and garnering praise regularly on their own. The pre-Disney situation was, as we mentioned, less than ideal, so it’ll be a while before casual audiences and diehard fanatics are ready to accept a return to big-screen crossovers. This makes the plan 100% compatible with separate, mid-budget movies like the ones we should realistically expect in the coming years.
Another big elephant in the room is that of a potential T.V. series on Hulu, much like the Alien T.V. show already in development for the franchise. Like the Fede Alvarez movie, the still-untitled Alien T.V. series is quite promising based on the creatives involved alone, so a remarkable xenomorph-centric success on Hulu would be another positive sign for the Predator IP. With the giant production budgets thrown around nowadays, neither an Alien nor a Predator T.V. series are too difficult to actually get made. Plus, Disney seems to be interested in tackling both shows and movies at the same time for their most renowned properties.
Good Predator video games are nowhere to be found
Predators are no strangers to showing up as guest characters in games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts or Mortal Kombat X, much like the xenomorphs, but it’s been too long since they last starred in a good video game of their own – we’d have to go back to 2010’s underrated Aliens vs. Predator reboot. No, Predator: Hunting Grounds (2020) wasn’t good. It’s kind of a sad state of affairs if we consider all the love the Alien IP has been getting recently across a variety of genres: co-op shooters, real-time strategy and even VR.
It’s quite obvious that Disney is happy to move the Alien IP around, looking for suitable partners to come up with new fun interactive experiences based on the famous universe. So, what’s the deal with Predator? It’d fit the open-world mold perfectly, for example. And if you looked for a veteran studio, a proper multiplayer game wouldn’t be that hard to crack either. Don’t even get us started on a new, big-budget Aliens vs. Predator title that lived up to the legacy of the original games by Rebellion and Monolith. None of these ideas are being considered at the moment, so we can only sit down and expect these fearsome hunters to pop up unexpectedly in online, multiverse-like games like Fortnite.
In conclusion, the Predator franchise is far from dormant, and we can’t stop thanking Prey for fixing what The Predator broke. Yet, it’s still very frustrating to see it get strangely sidelined, waiting cloaked in the shadows, when it has so much to offer and adult sci-fi flicks are on the rise again. Stuff like a Predator vs. Wolverine comic miniseries is fun, but you can’t let the xenomorphs grab the spotlight all the time.