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Where Shane Black's The Predator fits into the Predator timeline


This September, a certain trophy-hunting, alien humanoid – and 10th greatest sci-fi monster, as voted for by SFX in 2010 – returns in Shane Black's The Predator.

This will be the sixth movie in the franchise and, as cinematic universes are becoming more and more prevalent in cinema, you may be wondering where The Predator (2018) fits in with the other films. Thankfully, that's where we come in...

The story so far

These deadly extra-terrestrials have featured in six films so far, including this latest one. They are: Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) and Predators (2010).

The series kicked off with the classic 1987 Arnie actioner, one that ultimately stripped him of his weapons and pitted him against the galaxy's ultimate hunter. He plays military operative Dutch whose team are systematically obliterated by the creature while on a top secret mission in the South American jungle. The movie was a huge box office success and spawned not only an entire franchise, but also a host of imitators.

Arnie jumped ship for 1990 sequel Predator 2, and he was replaced by Danny Glover, playing policeman Harrigan who runs into the Predator's activities and ultimately confronts the monster. Similarly, the tropical environment of the first movie was replaced by the sweltering urban jungle of Los Angeles, into which the Predator comes to wreak havoc.

As their titles imply, the Alien vs. Predator movies expanded the mythology of the series to pit the dreadlocked, camouflaged hunters against the equally terrifying, acid-for-blood xenomorphs. These movies are somewhat controversial, initially seen as non-canon, although they've now been widely accepted as part of the Predator franchise.

Predators, meanwhile, took things back to basics, focusing on a group of people stranded on an unknown planet that turns out to be the Predators' home world. Oscar winner Adrien Brody leads the cast as a hardened mercenary.

So where does The Predator fit in?

The titles are slightly confusing, but the main thing you need to know is that The Predator takes place between Predator 2 and Predators. A lot of fans were worried it was a remake of the original 1987 film, so it's reassuring to know that the Arnie classic isn't being remade but this film can be watched alongside that and the others within the universe.

In fact, the latest film occurs in present day 2018, which is enthralling to picture as the technology the human characters use and the setting of the film will be familiar to us. As comedian-actor Keegan-Michael Key (who plays Coyle, an ex-marine suffering PTSD) told CNET: "What we're doing is a chapter of a larger story that we could call The Predator Universe. There are five movies in the Predator canon, and this will be the sixth. You could watch them in any order you want because they all exist in their own right."

What the casting tells us

In addition to the cast members already listed, Logan's Boyd Holbrook plays mercenary Quinn McKenna and Jacob Tremblay (Oscar-nominated for Room) portrays Quinn's son Rory, the one who lures the Predator onto Earth with a piece of its technology. Then there's Trevante Rhodes, acclaimed for his powerful performance in the Oscar-winning Moonlight, as former Marine Nebraska Williams, and Game of Thrones' Alfie Allen as Lynch, another ex-soldier.

That's already quite the ensemble, but there's one person we're particularly interested in. If you're an avid Predator fan, you'll remember the character Special Agent Peter J. Keyes from the second film, as played by actor Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, Point Break), as seen below. In The Predator, Busey's real-life son Jake Busey (from the Dusk till Dawn TV series) plays Keyes' son.

Nothing more has been revealed, which may indicate surprises are in store, but this little fact tells us that The Predator will be sitting quite comfortably in the wake of the events of Predator 2, as Busey himself confirmed in an interview with SlashFilm.

The director

It's exciting to note that the latest Predator film is written and directed by Shane Black, acclaimed for Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling comedy The Nice Guys (2016), and the Robert Downey Jr. twosome of sleek Marvel superhero flick Iron Man 3 (2013) and noir black comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).

In addition, Black wrote classic Mel Gibson-Danny Glover buddy comedy/thriller Lethal Weapon (1987), itself a huge influence on all subsequent movies in its wake. He also appeared in the very first Predator movie as the ill-fated Hawkins, so given his personal connection to the series already, it's safe to say this film is in good hands.

What Shane Black has said

What does it take to get into the right mind-set to create a brand new Predator film? Black explains: "The trick is to go back in time and look at the other earlier films and say, for instance, in the first movie, what is there? Is there a scene in here that suggests something that we can almost in retrospect say, 'See, it was set up in the first one!'? How do we find that little niche?"

With Black creating meaningful connections between the movies, indications are The Predator will be an exciting and scary addition to a popular series that has constantly had us on the lookout for camouflaged enemies hiding in trees.

The Predator is released on 13th September, and before that, it's set to make an appearance at this year's Comic-Con festival in San Diego, so stay tuned @Cineworld for all the latest news.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.