It’s not a secret that Fox had high hopes for ‘The Predator’. The film was meant to reinvigorate the notoriously uneven franchise, and going in it seemed to have a fair shot at just that, given the involvement of writer/director (and supporting player in the original film) Shane Black. Black is, after all, noted for a snarky, deconstructionist approach to filmmaking that would, if nothing else, bring something new to the table. Sadly, whatever might have been was undermined by the well-publicized and extensive reshoots and re-edits, which had the effect of radically altering the film’s third act in particular.
There’s no telling if or when we might get a more complete sense of what the film looked like before it was hacked to the bone in the edit bay, but as the home video release approaches, we’ve got our first hint of the original ending. In the theatrical version, the film ends with the opening of a pod that reveals that the much-ballyhooed “gift for humanity” to be the so-called Predator Killer – basically a suit of Predator armor designed for a human. The clear implication is that a sequel would see the hunted become the hunter. But the original plan for the pod and its contents was to be a bit… different, and thanks to a pair of Instagram posts (one from VFX artist Jon K. Miller, the other from concept designer Fausto De Martini), we have some idea of what that was.
From what we can piece together, the original ending would still have seen the reveal come from an opening pod, but instead of something, it would have contained someone. A cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch? Well, it’s not something we can rule out (and it would certainly be the fan-pleasing answer), but supposedly Schwarzenegger declined a cameo early enough in production that it would be hard to imagine them designing and building props for the scene. In any case, the pod would have opened to reveal an occupant in a breath mask. And this is where it becomes clear that the question may not be who was in the pod but rather where it came from. See, the designs incorporate some pretty explicit ties to the ‘Alien’ films. Both the pod itself and occupant’s mask would have been adorned with the logo of the ‘Alien’ franchise’s nefarious and seemingly omnipresent Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Beyond that, both Miller and De Martini refer to the “breathing apparatus” as a “the facehugger,” because of its obvious resemblance to… Well, see for yourself.
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Here’s a “facehugger” breathing apparatus we built for an alternate ending in “The Predator” @thestudioadi. I feel very fortunate to have been the lead on this one, but it was a short build “7 days” and it would of never gotten finished without @saratheterra @ape5150 @h2originals Garth Winkless, and Zach Teller. It was a huge pleasure to finally build something by one of my favorite designers @faustodesign sadly it was cut from the final film.
And of course, this wouldn’t have been the first time a ‘Predator’ sequel slipped a connection to ‘Alien’ into its ending. The closing scenes of ‘Predator 2’ famously included an Alien skull in the trophy room of a Predator space ship. And that’s without even getting into the long-running ‘Alien vs Predator’ spinoff franchise, which has been pitting the titular monsters against each other in comics, video games, and feature films for over twenty years.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more behind the scenes information on ‘The Predator’ as the film’s home video release draws closer.