Over the various Predator films, comics, games, fans have met numerous iterations of the camouflaged alien hunter, and each of them have been formidable, bloody threats in their own ways. The upcoming Prey, which releases next week, winds back the clock to 1719 in the Comanche Nation, and its Predator stands as the oldest of the bunch. For director Dan Trachtenberg, the time period served as a way to make the tried and true hunter species feel new again.
Speaking to Polygon, Trachtenberg opened up on how the goal with Prey’s Predator was to make it as terrifying as the original version was back in 1987, hence the skull mask meant to evoke the alien’s now iconic faceplate. Predators are always positioned as technologically superior over humans, and that continues here. Visual effects house StudioADI made weaponry that is both new to this Predator and also similar enough to the gear that its successors will wield. “In key moments, it could always feel like a living, breathing thing,” explained Trachtenberg. The visual team, he added, augmented the Predator suit so that the hunter would come across as superhuman and pretty damn terrifying for Amber Midthunder’s Naru and the rest of her people. “You know that it can always feel the way it should feel like as an alien creature.”
There’ve been great Predators, and there’ve been ones who are lacking, and it was important this one maintain the sense of dread and discovery that’s key to the character. As played by actor Dane DiLiegro, this Yautja is possibly the first of its species to touch down on Earth. The time period presented a clear challenge that all prequels face: making a distinct version of an established character that also fits with previous film incarnations. “I wanted it to feel much more like an alien creature than ever before…at once older, but also far more advanced.” Even with the technological edge, this Predator is more than willing to just get kills through good old fashioned melee violence. “It’s much more feral, ferocious, primal, and be less armored,” he continued. “We wanted to change it more than it’s ever been changed before so it could be a new sight, a new thrill, even for diehard fans of the franchise.”
Prey hits Hulu on August 5. Expect our thoughts on the film in the coming days.
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