The Predator Reshoots

When The Predator arrived last year, it was to mostly mixed responses. While there was plenty of bloody action to behold and a great ensemble to revive the sci-fi action franchise, there was something about the final cut of the movie that felt slapped together, almost like pieces of the movie were missing. And since the movie underwent reshoots that significantly altered the ending, it’s clear that something went on behind the scenes resulting in an entertaining mess. And now we know more about that debacle.

Speaking with Moviefone, The Predator co-writer Fred Dekker talked about some of the issues behind the scenes that led to major changes in the final cut of the movie, including a major sequence that would have involved a military envoy and Predators who weren’t bad guys. Dekker explained:

“We had devised a sequence, which I confessed was my idea, which was essentially, our heroes have to get from point A to point B and they commandeer military convoy. And at that point in the film, we had established a pair of Predator emissaries, basically good guy predators.

What was interesting to Shane and I was to ask a question that nobody gives a sh*t about, which is, what do predators do, except for hunt? Because they’ve invented interstellar spacecraft. So they’re not stupid. They’re not just a bunch of Arkansas rednecks who come to Earth to play the most dangerous game. They actually have a civilization and a culture. And presumably that’s worth exploring since none of the other movies do it.”

So the studio thought audiences wanted more of the basic plot of people getting hunted down by the villainous Predator, and having Predators who weren’t about that life just seemed like too much to process. If those good guy Predators didn’t get cut, they would have revealed that their own planet was dying and they hoped to find a home on Earth. Meanwhile, the hybrid Predator was sent to destroy mankind instead so the rest of the Predators could simply take over Earth.

Of course, getting rid of those Predator emissaries is a big reason that the third act needed to be changed. The sequence that originally had several Predator emissaries fighting with the human ensemble turned into something much different. First of all, the sequence originally took place during the day, and the mutant creatures the hybrid Predator brought with him were used to attack the military envoy transporting the Predator emissaries. But since that was all being changed, the entire sequence shifted:

“At some point or another, the studio, I think, and I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but there were these misgivings that we were straying too far from what people expected the movie to be. And so we sat down and went, ‘I guess we need to do a hunt and it needs to be at night, so it’s scarier.’ So we ended up going in that direction, which I don’t think served us because it didn’t top anything we’d seen before. I’m actually quite pleased with the first half of the movie, but it kind of goes off the rails, and Hollywood does this all the time, by trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.”

This is exactly where a lot of the complaints surrounding The Predator originated. Many enjoyed most of the movie but felt it went completely off the rails by the end. Some still found it mostly entertaining, even if logic seemed abandoned by the time all was said and done. After all, even the final sequence of the movie was up in the air. Don’t forget that instead of that advanced Predator-hunting suit revealed in the final cut of the movie, two other endings were considered that included Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise and a grown up Newt from Aliens. There was also an ending that would have included Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch, so it’s clear no one really knew what to do with the end of this movie.

In the end, it sounds like the original cut of The Predator would have been more satisfying, especially from a narrative standpoint. But the studio just wanted to rehash more of what they thought people loved about the original Predator.

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