After Predators had been released in cinemas in 2010, many thought the Predator franchise was done and dusted. Nimród Antal's sequel paid homage to the original movies, the 1987 original in particular, with lavish settings, plenty of cannon fodder, and the reintroduction of the Predator's hunting M.O., but it was also considered a departure from the theme of the franchise and received mixed reviews. Although considered an improvement over the two Alien vs Predator movies, fans and film goers alike expected it to be the last cinematic outing for the iconic alien hunter.
When Shane Black announced his interest in rebooting the Predator franchise, many thought it would never happen. After a few months, people realized that the Iron Man 3 director was serious about the project. His passion for the franchise spoke volumes, and it wasn't long before a release date was secured. As revealed by Bloody Disgusting back in March, Black also appealed to 20th Century Fox for a hefty budget in order to resurrect the franchise in style. He wanted to make the film the right way and give the fans an experience they deserve. It was a serious statement of intent from the ambitious director, but no details have surfaced to make this claim credible.
Until now, that is!
Casting announcements have been non-existent in regards to The Predator, but some details have finally surfaced, and one thing is perfectly clear; Shane Black is intent on living up to his promise. This week, reports have revealed that the director has approached the Oscar-winning actor, Benicio del Toro, for the lead role.
Deadline has reported that Benicio del Toro is currently in early talks to star in The Predator. Although the site didn't reveal any details about his character, or the extent to which he would participate if cast, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that he is currently vying for the lead role in the picture. Del Toro is expected to portray the main character in an ensemble piece with various actors and/or actresses playing supporting roles around him. So far, the project sounds similar to 1987's Predator. Shane Black starred in the original film as Hawkins, and the interesting ensemble cast was a pivotal part of the film's success, so it's no surprise that Black wants to return to the original formula.
Apparently, difficult scheduling has played a huge factor in delaying the talks, which have actually been planned for months, but Benicio del Toro is finally free to discuss the project. After starring in Guardians of the Galaxy and with an upcoming appearance slated for Star Wars: Episode VIII, it seems the actor is keen to add more successful franchises to his illustrious CV. In 2015, he also starred in the popular crime-thriller, Sicario, which is being developed into a franchise with its sequel, Soldado.
As for The Predator, if Benicio del Toro is cast in the lead role, it would be a huge coup for the franchise and 20th Century Fox. The actor has immense talent and star power, both of which will bring a diverse, ticket-buying audience to theaters and cast the Predator franchise in a positive light once again. The report is only days old, but fans are already looking forward to the combination of Shane Black and Benicio del Toro should the casting go ahead. Both men are considered masters of their craft, and the prospect of the two working together will have fans buzzing with excitement. The project is in its early days yet, and production won't start until next year, but The Predator is certainly looking like a hot property already.
As for more casting, we wait with bated breath to find out who else will feature in The Predator. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson teased a potential role a few months ago, as revealed by Screen Rant, and then there's the long-rumored return of Arnold Schwarzenegger; a story that is yet to be debunked. In an interview at the Arnold Sports Festival in early 2016, the Austrian Oak revealed that he was meeting with Shane Black to discuss the project. As of now, nothing has come of this, but we keep our fingers crossed in hope. A cameo from the star of the original film would be a nice touch for the returning fans, and a substantial role could even be a massive nostalgic moment. It would certainly be a fitting way to reintroduce people to the franchise in style. We can only wait and hope.
Directed by Shane Black, The Predator will be released on March 2, 2018.
[Featured Image by 20th Century Fox]