The Significance Of The Raphael Adolini Pistol In Prey Explained

Note: this piece contains major spoilers for "Prey," so read at your own risk if you haven't seen it yet.

Just when you might have thought that the movie career of the Predator was over, "Prey" proved that the franchise can still produce some great scares and thrills. While it's a shame that audiences won't be able to see them in a theater, at least we've got another good "Predator" movie again, and this one comes with a very deep-cut continuity reference.

In order to explain why the pistol is such an important Easter egg, let's take a look at how Naru (Amber Midthunder) acquired it in the first place. After she and her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) survive being used as Predator bait by a group of French settlers, Naru encounters a translator she met earlier in the movie, credited as Waxed Mustache (Nelson Leis). He appears to be severely injured by the alien, offering her a gun in exchange for medicine. She reluctantly accepts his offer and is told how to use the gun as she's tending to his gashed leg — don't put too much or too little powder into the keg. However, it isn't long before the Predator returns to the French campsite, killing Waxed Mustache and leaving Naru with the gun. At the end of the movie, she gives it to her village elders, where its original owner of Raphael Adolini is revealed.

This isn't the first time Adolini has been mentioned

Raphael Adolini might not have been seen in "Prey," but that doesn't mean he's an unfamiliar name in the "Predator" universe. In the Dark Horse comic story "Predator: 1718," Adolini was introduced as a pirate captain whose ship is anchored in Guinea as he's dealing with a potential mutiny. Tensions quickly escalate, resulting in a full-blown battle between the captain and his crew.

In the distance, a Predator is found hunting for his next trophy and watches the battle. Wanting to eventually claim Adolini's death as its own, the creature decides to side with Adolini in the conflict, and the two end up fighting side-by-side despite their staggering differences in abilities. That is until the two almost begin to fight themselves before Adolini is shot by a hidden crew member. He dies of the gunshot wound and gives the Predator his engraved gun as a sign of respect. Needless to say, he sounds like a pretty cool dude outside of the normal pillaging that pirates were known to do.

It's also been featured in the films before

However, the most significant appearance of the Adolini pistol happened far before the "1718" comic was even published. It first appeared in the most underrated "Predator" film, "Predator 2" (do not argue with me on this), in 1990. As one may recall, that movie took place over two centuries after the events of the comic in the "futuristic" war zone of 1997 Los Angeles.

After a cat-and-mouse chase through the city and many people getting killed along the way, it finally looks like LAPD Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) is about to be defeated by the invading Predators. After all, groups of them are suddenly teleporting around him after he killed one of their own, nicknamed the City Hunter for the film and once again played by Kevin Peter Hall. However, what he wasn't expecting was for them to show not only mercy but respect for the cop. Instead of punishing him for killing one of their own kind, they instead give him a trophy as a sign of respect before returning to their spaceship. If you've been keeping up with what I've been dropping, then it isn't hard to see what form this trophy took.

One strange catch

However, the existence of the pistol does bring up an interesting plothole. The comic that the character of Adolini was developed in technically isn't canon, at least not anymore. When taking the comic into account, it's pretty implausible how Waxed Mustache was able to have the gun in the first place to give to Naru.

The Predator being given the gun by Adolini is all fine and good, but the problem is that there is no way that this origin for the gun can be possible now. Remember, "Prey" takes place in 1719, one year after the events of the one-shot. Thus, there is no logical way for the translator to have obtained the gun having no knowledge of the Predator's existence up until then. Sure, the series has never been a stickler for maintaining canon, but it's a weird mix-up given how it's a clear callback to an important part of the franchise.

Wait, so what now?

Another place where things get tricky is how the Predators now even obtain the pistol in the first place. Well, the end credits to "Prey" could hint at it, but even the definitive nature of those is a bit confusing. As you might recall, the painting-inspired end credits to the new film end with Naru being celebrated by her village like how the movie itself ended. However, it then transitions into a painting version of what appears to be several Predator ships arriving on Earth.

There are two potential ways this could have turned out. The first is very bleak and sad, but also unfortunately likely; the rest of the Predators have located Earth and are ready to attack the rest of Naru's village. From there, the Predators could have easily taken the pistol for themselves. This would be a pretty upsetting ending, given how so much of the movie felt like an allegory to the horrors of American colonization, and this would seem like a significant step backward.

However, let's go back to "Predator 2" for a second. Remember when a group of Predators also came to surround Harrigan, only for them to pick up their dead comrade and leave? The same could very well have happened here, with the elders giving the Predators the pistol as a sign of respect instead, as why would they want to keep the gun given to them by colonizers?

"Prey" is now streaming on Hulu.