Everything We Know About Prey, The Predator Prequel, So Far

Like its titular monster, the "Predator" movie franchise has proven very hard to kill, even after multiple sequels and crossovers that've seen wildly varying results when it comes to their financial success and, most importantly, their actual quality. The plan was for Shane Black's 2018 quasi-reboot "The Predator" to usher in a shiny new era for the spine-ripping, skull-collecting aliens, but it wound up disappointing both critically and at the box office after a series of behind-the-scenes woes that included third act reshoots and much more.

So, what now? Well, it seems the property is getting back to its roots with "Prey," a "Predator" prequel film that director Dan Trachtenberg had spent nearly four years working on in secret when the news of its existence leaked in November 2020. But don't worry, this isn't some misbegotten origin story revealing that one of the members of Dutch's paramilitary team crossed paths with the alien hunters prior to their deadly mission in Central America. No, "Prey" winds back the clock to long before the events of the 1987 action movie classic that started it all.

When and Where to Watch Prey

"Prey" is slated to begin streaming exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and on Star internationally in summer 2022. It will be the first "Predator" film to skip theaters, as well as the first entry in the franchise produced since Disney bought Fox's movie and TV assets in 2019. And while it's certainly plausible that "The Predator" and its not-so-great commercial performance are directly to blame for "Prey" not getting a theatrical rollout, there could be other factors responsible.

It's worth noting the "Predator" movies have never done boffo business at the box office. Even the highest-grossing live-action film to feature the titular aliens so far, 2004's "Alien vs. Predator," only took in $177.4 million worldwide. No, the property has only lasted as long as it has (and, save for "Alien vs. Predator," delivered R-rated levels of carnage) because its movies tend to be mid-budget fare, not high-risk, nine-figure tentpoles. Combined with the fact that studios are increasingly splitting their releases between theaters and streaming services in the COVID-19 era, it's not too shocking that Disney decided this would be a good fit for the streamers that house its more adult offerings.

What We Think Prey Will Be About

Per its official logline, "Prey" takes place "in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago [and] follows Naru, the skilled warrior who fiercely protects her tribe against a highly evolved alien predator." Period setting aside, the film's premise represents a return to the setup of the original "Predator," which ultimately came down to a battle between one of the titular extraterrestrial hunters and a human warrior who just won't quit.

Producer John Davis called attention to this element when describing the film back in the summer:

"[Prey] goes back to what made the original Predator movie work. It's the ingenuity of a human being who won't give up, who's able to observe and interpret, basically being able to beat a stronger, more powerful, well-armed force."

"Prey" is also the first "Predator" movie to feature not just a female protagonist but an Indigenous American character as its lead. It's a welcome development for a franchise that has never been, to put it charitably, particularly inclusive when it comes to gender, to mention nothing of the continued need for better representation of Native Americans (in the contexts of both the present-day and history) in mainstream cinema. Now, whether "Prey" will provide good representation in those regards ... well, here's hoping for the best.

What We Know About the Prey Cast and Crew

Amber Midthunder ("Legion") is starring in "Prey" as Naru, with Dane DiLiegro ("American Horror Stories"), Stefany Mathias ("Longmire"), and relative newcomer Dakota Beavers also playing roles in the film. Elsewhere, behind the camera, Trachtenberg is collaborating on the project with a crew that includes writer Patrick Aison ("Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan") and the director's "10 Cloverfield Lane" cinematographer Jeff Cutter, as well as production designer Kara Lindstrom ("Den of Thieves") and editor Claudia Castello ("Creed").

Trachtenberg came out swinging with his feature film directing debut on "10 Cloverfield Lane," a movie which he, admittedly, had more luck keeping a secret before its marketing began than he did with "Prey." That said, "Cloverfield Lane" was a nerve-wracking (mostly) single-location thriller that delivered a compelling story and female protagonist while also thriving as an unconventional expansion (or continuation, take your pick) of the original "Cloverfield." That bodes well for his sophomore effort, which notably shares many of the same basic traits and could be the kick in the pants the "Predator" franchise needs to get back on track.