Audiences weren’t the only ones baffled by Shane Black’s The Predator as Prey director Dan Trachtenberg shares his candid thoughts on reading the script before making his movie. The 2018 sequel, led by Boyd Holbrook and Olivia Munn, followed a group of dishonorably discharged soldiers who work with a scientist to fight two of the eponymous alien hunters, only to discover they have a bigger plan for humanity. Despite high anticipation for Black being at the helm, The Predator was met with mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike.
While speaking with Collider for the movie’s Emmy’s consideration push, Prey‘s Dan Trachtenberg recalled his efforts to make his franchise prequel while production on Shane Black’s The Predator was underway. The director shared his candid thoughts on the 2018 sequel, not explicitly dismissing the movie, but feeling it took a “bonkers” approach that was a risk. See what Trachtenberg shared in the quotes and video below:
The thing that we were relying on is, in success, Shane’s movie was so — and really, we were working off of only having read the script for his movie, and there was a lot more going on. There’s a lot. It was even more Shane Black-y than one could imagine. And [I] was like, ‘So if this works,’ it was just very kitchen sink. It’s going very bonkers with it, so then it’s still cool that we have this other back-to-basics stripped down take. And if it turns out that that doesn’t work, when they eventually decide to make a Predator movie again, which has to happen at some point even though there was a couple of years where I felt like, ‘Maybe they won’t. This sucks,’ but, when they do, this would be the move you make, right? You make the movie that is more stripped down.
Where Shane Black’s Predator Went Wrong
When it was first announced Black would be at the helm for 2018’s The Predator, response from fans of the franchise was largely positive, recalling his having starred in the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led original movie and made a name for himself writing the likes of the original Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3, among many others. With his plans to also connect the previous Predator movies in the sequel, there was curiosity for what the 2018 movie would do for the future of the franchise.
Despite these high expectations, the writing was on the wall when it was revealed the entire third act of The Predator was being rewritten after poor early test screenings. This ultimately resulted in the polarizing ending in which Holbrook’s Quinn watches as a “Predator killer” suit was recovered from the alien’s ship, putting him on the path to take the fight to the Predators should they return. Other incarnations of the ending even saw the potential return of Schwarzenegger’s Dutch, as well as another Alien crossover in the forms of either Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley or Carrie Henn’s Newt.
Black’s efforts to also offer a positive representation for those on the autistic spectrum in The Predator was met with much backlash, feeling the movie misrepresented those living with said neurodiversity. Paired with criticisms of an unbalanced tone, it’s been clear that though the Predator star had high ambitions for his step behind the camera on the franchise, but couldn’t grasp them all. Given Trachtenberg’s Prey became a hit with its back-to-basics approach, audiences may be more interested in more grounded takes on the Predator lore.