The Entire Predator Timeline Explained

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Since 1987, the "Predator" franchise has made humanity realize that being our world's apex predator doesn't mean we'll go unchallenged. The original film pits a mercenary team against a single guerrilla hunter, and the odds are in the hunter's favor. Undeterred, this species — also known as the Yautja, as first identified in Steve Perry and Stephani Perry's "Alien Vs. Predator: Prey" novel — later arrived in stalk Los Angeles to undertake a strange abduction mission.

Around the fringes of these hunts are more details that make the Predator one of our favorite scary visitors. An offshoot clan controls a galactic hunting preserve, and stories of dubious canonicity suggest the Yautja are familiar with the Xenomorphs. While traditionally the "Aliens vs. Predator" films aren't regarded as canon, as they contain major timeline conflicts, "The Predator" did keep a few Easter eggs to muddy the issue, including a shot of the Xenomorph bone spear from "Alien vs. Predator" and the concept of Yautja hybridization. All of this makes for a twisted timeline for fans to sort through. Let's work through it with a little history-style flair.

3000 B.C. — The Temple Builder Era

A controversial report, ("Alien vs. Predator," 2004) suggests that the Yautja established temple-style compounds on Earth, some of which were hunting and training grounds for their youthful warriors. Humanity is in its early agricultural and settler era in this period, with the first Egyptian pharaohs concluding their reigns. It is unclear how many human civilizations encountered the Yautja. The descriptions of the temples suggest they were of early Central American human architectural style and not extraterrestrial.

At least one of these alleged temples, located under the Antarctic sea off the coast of Bouvet Island, contained human remains. More concerning, this location is further alleged to have contained a so-called Xenomorph queen, whose out-of-control offspring eventually required this temple to be explosively sealed by the Yautja. Hieroglyphs within this location suggest the Yautja created a ritual culture, and humans offered themselves as sacrifice to the queen so that their alien "gods" could undertake a special centenary hunt. This information was collected in 2004 by individuals representing a Charles Bishop Weyland. 

1718 — The Adolini Hunt

A small folio recovered in 1996 (the story "Predator 1718" from the comic "A Decade of Dark Horse" #1)  written by Henry Gilroy with art by Igor Kordev) records a probable incident somewhere in the islands of Papua New Guinea in the year 1718. The Golden Age of Piracy is nearing its close, but small crews continue to resist capture by the Spanish and British navies among others. The folio records a mutiny aboard a vessel helmed by pirate captain Raphael Adolini.

After landing on an unnamed island, Adolini sparked a mutiny during which he demanded that a recently-stolen trove of gold be returned to the church from which it was liberated. Captain Adolini took on his crew alone until a Yautja joined the attack in Adolini's favor. It is clear this was an action made for the Yautja to duel his chosen opponent fairly. However, a crew member spoiled matters by fatally wounding Captain Adolini from behind. The Yautja slew the final crew member and took the flintlock pistol the dying Adolini offered them. This pistol was later given to Lt. Harrigan (Danny Glover in "Predator 2") while aboard a confirmed Yautja ship.

1719 — The Great Plains Comanche Incident

While much remains unknown about the encounter between a Midwest Comanche tribe and at least one Yautja ("Prey" premieres on Hulu on August 5th), current information suggests that the tribe suffered major losses — if not local extinction. One individual, a young Indigenous woman named Naru, is recorded to have taken a warrior's role against the Yautja in defiance of tribal norms. It may be worth noting that European colonization of North America was underway at this point, with 12 of the original 13 Colonies now established along the Eastern coast. Trade (and conflict) had long since begun with the Indigenous tribes.

Although the Yautja is technologically advanced and prefers what it deems an "honorable" hunt, records suggest it continued to use at least some of its superior tech to slaughter the tribe. Stealth camouflage and laser tracking tools are confirmed to have been used. The Comanche, however, had the advantage of familiar terrain and high skill with their armaments. The outcome of this incident is currently under review.

1904 — The Razorback Whaling Station Disaster

By 1904, a successful Norwegian whaling station was operating out of Bouvet Island off the Antarctic coast. According to the controversial Charles Bishop Weyland report ("Alien vs. Predator"), on an unknown date, the settlement claimed to experience a number of mysterious events that ranged from unidentifiable lights in the sky to unusual seismic activity. The Weyland report claims that the whalers eventually retrieved an object from the ice — a metal pod that released a Yautja.

The report further claims the Yautja annihilated the whalers along with a number of Xenomorph drones that had been somehow released from the alleged temple, long since frozen in the ice. The entirety of the Weyland report remains in doubt, and there is no physical evidence to support that the 1904 desertion of Razorback was due to localized intergalactic conflict. It may be possible to re-open this investigation as a tragic mass hysteria incident such as the Smalls Lighthouse disaster or the 2016 clown panic.

1987 — The Guatemalan Slaughter

During the height of U.S. interference in Central and South American political affairs, CIA operative Al Dillon (Carl Weathers) hired mercenary Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team under the guise of a hostage rescue operation. While this was a cover and the actual operation was a guerrilla strike against a growing Russian and Central American alliance, it's moot in the face of the first confirmed Yautja encounter in modern military history ("Predator," 1987).

Dutch's team encountered the Yautja in mid-hunt. It had previously obliterated a Green Beret team sent by the CIA. The team captured one individual, Anna Gonsalves (Elpidia Carrillo), who eventually explained that previous Yautja hunts were alleged to have occurred in her country. Dutch and Gonsalves would be the only two to make it to extraction, with Dutch suffering major injuries and shock from a one-on-one encounter with the Yautja. While most other incidents suggest Yautja prefer honorable hunts, this one chose to incinerate itself and its surroundings with an explosive device.

1997 — The Los Angeles Wave

In the years leading up to the turn of the century, Los Angeles endured a cartel street war as two competing gangs fought for turf. Unnaturally hot — presumably due to climate change — the already heightened conflict zone drew the attention of a Yautja. Los Angeles Police Lt. Harrigan (Danny Glover) took note of an unusually violent crime scene and a departing figure ("Predator 2," 1990), but the investigation remained focused on the cartel violence with the assistance of DEA officials.

As the violence continued to escalate and Harrigan's investigations uncovered extraterrestrial metal and other peculiarities, DEA liaison Keyes (Gary Busey), admitted he represented OWLF or the Other Worldly Life Forms Program, which had secretly investigated the 1987 incident with little assistance from Dutch. However, Keyes' attempt to capture and study the Yautja ended in the near-total loss of his team. Harrigan, meanwhile, engaged the Yautja in one-on-one combat, resolving in a human victory just inside the Yautja's vessel. At this time, it was made clear to Harrigan that the Yautja had not arrived alone, confirming that these predators have been hunting Earth regularly. Harrigan was given the Adolini flintlock by one of the departing Yautja.

2004 — The Charles Bishop Weyland Report

With the true identity of Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) in doubt, much of the rest of the 2004 incident is questionable. Independently wealthy, Weyland gathered a small crew of experts from a variety of fields to investigate the Bouvet Island "temple" location ("Alien vs. Predator"). Upon arrival at the ruins of Razorback Station, this field team, along with Charles, claimed to enter the temple via a tunnel alleged to be of recent Yautja creation.

Inside the temple, the team entered a conflict between Yautja and the reawakened Xenomorphs. Weyland is alleged to have died in the temple to help other field team members to escape. One survivor, Lex (Sanaa Latham), claims to have allied with the Yautja to push back a possible Xenomorph escape. With the temple and its Xenomorph queen destroyed, the alliance was successful. There is no clear evidence of Weyland's actual goal. However, a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer may have been a factor in his actions. Lex's story is uncorroborated, though OWLF later recovered a Yautja-style bone spear.

2004 — The Gunnison Controversy

The mystery of Charles Bishop Weyland is compounded by the involvement of someone who claims to be a Ms. Yutani (Françoise Yip), who may have also released the initial Razorback Station report. Miss Yutani's secondary report alleges that a further situation arose from the Bouvet Island temple encounter, involving a mutated Yautja, or rather a Predator with Xenomorph characteristics ("Alien vs. Predator: Requiem," 2007).

This chaotic and generally unreliable report (12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) suggests that not only was the town of Gunnison, Colorado, at the mercy of a Yautja attempting to contain this "Predalien" situation but that it went out of control so far as to require a scorched earth response from the United States military. To date, there is no confirmed tactical nuclear response — much less on U.S. soil — and no global radiation reading to suggest the Gunnison event happened. In truth, this situation may be best explained as a false flag report left as a watermark to trap an agent selling confidential documents with the event taken out of context by conspiracy theorists.

21st Century — The Yautja Schism

The greater politics of the Yautja aren't clear, leaving the society and laws of this predator species up to speculation. Some sources (NECA toyline lore, "Predator: Bad Blood," written by Evan Dorkin with art by Derek Thompson) suggest that conflict within their society was becoming a new normal. A subspecies of Yautja had developed, carrying larger physiques and a disregard for traditional methods of hunting.

By Earth's early 2000s, the schism between the traditional hunter clans and these enhanced predators saw the new breed strike out and create a planetary game preserve ("Predators," 2010) to suit their preferred, more merciless style of hunt. Traditional Yautja set about hunting them instead, sometimes losing their lives to the new clan. One such preserve had a suitable ecosystem for a regular prey creature: humans. Within this closed system, even a successful prey opponent like Ronald Noland (Laurence Fishburne) could only be expected to prolong survival but not escape.

2010 — Game preserve prey encounter a traditional Yautja

Although the circumstances are unclear, at least eight humans were abducted from varying locations across the globe and delivered to the new Yautja game preserve planet ("Predators"). Former Special Operations soldier Royce (Adrien Brody) maintained loose leadership of several mercenaries, soldiers, a death row inmate reported missing from San Quentin (Walter Scoggins), a Yakuza (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and a Los Zetas cartel enforcer (Danny Trejo). One arrival, Isabelle (Alice Braga), recognized their hunters as the species involved in the '87 Guatemala incident.

Adaptation to the environment was quick, but nonetheless, many of them died quickly. As their numbers dwindled, Royce and the rest encountered a crucified, smaller Yautja at one of the hunting camps. Later, Noland, otherwise proving himself untrustworthy, explained some details he'd gleaned about the feud between the two tribes of Yautja. Eventually, a brief truce was arranged with the captured Yautja. Unfortunately, this did not result in Royce and Isabelle's escape from the game preserve.

2018 — Precursor to alleged invasion threat

OWLF's later reports of an incident within an unidentified U.S. suburb ("The Predator," 2018) do not leave investigators with a clear understanding of events. What is known is that a Yautja landed near an active military operation, getting into conflict with soldier Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook). Both survived, with the soldier shunted into a treatment facility. Meanwhile, an organization primed to replace OWLF, Project Stargazer, was intent on studying the Yautja prisoner and the recovered alien materials. Unfortunately, another larger Yautja soon arrived.

It is not clear why this Yautja deviated from its purpose and attempted to abduct a child with autism. The explanation of possible future hybridization makes no sense and is detrimental to discussions of autism. The conflict was reportedly resolved, with McKenna and other combatants carrying the day, while the initial Yautja's arrival was apparently meant to warn humanity about a possible future invasion and offer technological assistance via an armored suit. The Yautja's intentions were unclear because it promptly fought armed forces. This incident may be verified by OWLF but retains numerous disappointing elements (Rotten Tomatoes score: 33 percent) and may be disregarded as future developments unfold.

2020 and beyond — OWLF expands operations

OWLF has operated since before the 1987 Guatemala incident. Confused with a variety of other alphabet soup organizations, the Other Worldly Life Forms Program remains the standard in investigating Yautja incidents on Earth. However, during the 1997 incident, the program realized that the previously unhelpful survivor, Alan "Dutch" Schaefer ("Predator") had now begun a private operation that was both parallel and counter to OWLF's work ("Predator: Stalking Shadows" by James A. Moore and Mark Morris). Dutch interfered with a soldier named Scott Devlin who was assigned to assist OWLF in controlling the Yautja landing site.

This prompted Devlin to begin his own investigation of OWLF and a tentative friendship with Dutch. Dutch would report an overall increase of Yautja hunts, observing the arrival of a newer, freshly adapted Yautja in Malaysia. By the mid-2020s, Dutch was now working directly with OWLF and a survivor of the previous 2018 Stargazer incident. Devlin would be retained by the organization to run their operations command center. The nature of future Yautja incursions is currently unknown, though Dutch agrees that a full assault on Earth could be possible.