The ’80s was a golden decade for the horror movie, and many can argue that the genre was at its finest during this creative era. It introduced us to a variety of iconic characters, many of whom are still relevant and as terrifying today, and some are still thriving for the modern generation of cinema-goers. On the other side of this double-edged blade, some popular franchises have been worn thin and run dry by the constant remakes and sequels, becoming mere shadows of their former selves. However, some truly memorable characters have survived intact.
The Predator is one of those few. Featuring in only five movies thus far, the unstoppable, culturally popular alien still has plenty left in the tank, something not lost on director Shane Black — who earned uncredited script contributions on the 1987 original. Its fitting, then, that Black is now behind the reboot of the franchise, and when a fourth solo Predator film was announced back in 2014, fans rejoiced at Black’s involvement.
Until now, nothing has been confirmed aside from the title, but it’s now official — The Predator has a release date of March 2, 2018.
The film will be written by Fred Dekker and Shane Black, and Black is also rumoured to be directing the movie. His dedicated involvement in the project has been very vocal and hands-on, much to the joy of the fans. Black has also insisted the fourth movie will not be a reboot but a continuation of the franchise, and is planning on writing The Predator so that the film fits into the mythology of the original trilogy. In a world dominated by remakes and reboots, the decision to create a fourth instalment, rather than start from scratch for a modern audience, is welcome, refreshing news.
Black also has a personal link to the franchise, one that many hope will see the director do right by the material. As a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special forces team in 1987’s Predator, Shane Black’s character was the first victim of the fabled hunter, a brutal death that shocked audiences, and introduced us to a primitive, more cunning foe. In the era of Voorhees and Krueger and Myers, to show an antagonist hunting for sport, and using clever tactics rather than sheer fear and brute force, was a whole new way to hook the audience. The tension and genuine terror on display — as we watched a host of highly trained, deadly soldiers get cut to ribbons by an unseen force — was what made Predator such a classic movie to begin with, one that hasn’t been topped since.
The sequels were rare, which is why the franchise still feels so fresh. With Predator 2 in 1990, the hunting ground was moved from the jungle to the urban jungle, where the alien took on the vicious drug gangs and overworked cops of a crime-ridden Los Angeles. Twenty years later, in 2010’s Predators, the roles were reversed as host of humans were taken to the Predator’s home planet, and dumped in a game reserve for a variety of Predator species.
This was the last solo entry in the franchise, one that followed two crossovers with Fox’s other extra-terrestrial property, Aliens. Using the successful video games and comic books as inspiration, Aliens vs. Predator, and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem were met with mixed reviews, but weren’t considered canon entries into the Predator franchise itself.
So, we have two years until The Predator drops into cinemas. With more details sure to follow — a rumoured Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo is probably too much to hope for — fans can rest easy. Shane Black has a reputation for creating dynamic, thrilling movies, and with The Predator, he looks to be right on track.
The Predator is released on March 2, 2018.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]