The Many Possible Futures For The Predator Franchise

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for "Prey."

After Shane Black's disappointing 2018 movie "The Predator," it seemed like the franchise was ready to be put out to pasture. The extraterrestrial game hunters were now endowing humanity with a laughable "Iron Man" tech suit to fend off their species, which makes you wonder how the series had devolved to this point. But thankfully, it appears that Dan Trachtenberg's "Prey" has reinvigorated the movie monster, and, by extension, the deceptively simple premise at the heart of this franchise.

"Prey" brings "Predator" back to its roots, with a lone Yautja, the Predator's species, using the Northern Great Plains as its hunting ground. The 18th century sci-fi thriller showcases the awesome Amber Midthunder as Naru, a persevering Comanche warrior trying to prove herself, only for a Feral Predator (Dane DiLiegro) to come down and put her hunting skills to the ultimate test. "Prey" feels like such a stripped down breath of fresh air because it understands that the appeal of this series is the thrill of the hunt.

The greatest advantage of the "Predator" movies is that they're largely individual stories, which is a surprising trend in franchise horror. It's actually shocking that Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been courted for a full legacyquel in the vein of David Gordon Green's "Halloween" (he was asked to return for the ending of "The Predator," but he declined), but the fact that he hasn't shown back up just creates more opportunities to show off the Yautja in different environments.

'I think this character can show up throughout history'

While interviewed for Variety's retrospective piece for the 35th anniversary of "Predator," series producer John Davis reflects on where the Yautja have been and where they could possibly go next:

"Well, maybe there's an origin origin story. Right?...Maybe there's another 'Alien vs. Predator' story in a different situation. And maybe there's a new modern-day version. And maybe there's something somewhere in between. I think this character can show up throughout history."

I personally can't see a possible path forward with another "Alien vs. Predator," but Davis is right on the money with the wealth of opportunities the titular monster provides. Each movie starts and ends with a new Yautja entering the arena before realizing that they've met their match with the prey they've chosen to hunt. The "Predator" series, especially Nimród Antal's "Predators," proved that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The template provides all sorts of exciting opportunities for the Yautja to come down and wreak havoc, so let's brainstorm a few ideas of where they could make their claim next.

Let's get the loose end of "Prey" out of the way first, considering the ending shows Naru in possession of the pistol belonging to Raphael Adolini, the same pistol a Yautja hands to Danny Glover's Lt. Harrigan in "Predator 2." Naturally, this creates a conundrum in which the Yautja have to reclaim it at some point, which sets up a potential "Prey" sequel that sees them return to face off against Naru and her people — but that seems less interesting than opting to explore a whole different environment.

Where could we send the Yautja next?

"Predators" features an awesome katana battle between Yakuza assassin Honzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and a Falconer Predator (Brian Steele), which only cements how cool it would be to drop the space hunter in the Shogun era. A band of samurai vs. a Predator already sounds like the best premise this series could ever have.

If we're going with an environmental change, let's send a Yautja to a time-honored location of the screen slasher: summer camp. You'd be able to keep the Predator in the trees, while giving it a smorgasbord of prey to hunt, and only the grizzled camp counselor could rise to the challenge of defeating it. While we're at it, let's send a Yautja to medieval times. It would be pretty amazing to see a once-disgraced knight reclaim their honor by jousting with a Predator.

"Predators" demonstrated that there is a hierarchy among the Yautja, so why not bring it back to either the game reserve or the Yautja homeworld itself, where they engage in a dialogue-free battle to the death? This would ultimately defeat the purpose of the simple hunt ... but I would be lying if I didn't also secretly want to see a Yautja attempt to fight a dinosaur.

If the setting is the key element, dropping a Predator in the midst of World War II would be a blast, if only because of the glorious sequences that would see the Yautja turn Nazis into mincemeat. Time will tell if any of these will see the light of day, but the success of "Prey" proves there's still gas in the tank for more "Predator" adventures.

"Prey" is currently streaming on Hulu.