Retrospective on The Predator Franchise

Retrospective on The Predator Franchise

The Predator franchise is one of the most popular movie series of all time. Each sequel portrays different violent clashes between humans and a race of extraterrestrial creatures. These creatures hunt humans for sport and keep their skulls as accolades. The predators also have an advantage of advanced technologies which their weapons make full use of.

The Predator franchise interestingly combines the science-fiction genre, action movie genre, and horror movie genre in every franchise, making it a highly acceptable movie to a vast audience.

The franchise consists of four movies which include: Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1997), Predators (2010), and The Predators (2018). While there are also two ALIENS vs. Predator films, both films are not a proper part of the franchise. So, they will not receive any focus.

Join us as we look back on the Predator movies!

Predator (1987)


Jim and John Thomas wrote the original 1987 Predator film while John McTiernan sat in the director’s chair. Predator debuted in June 1987 starring actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, a character whose name was a household name for action movies. His starring roles in movies such as Terminator and End of Days further boosted his prestige as an action film superstar. 

Other characters such as Shane Black were also part of the movie, a character that wrote and directed the last franchise in 2018. Kevin Peter acted the first Predator role, with the design provided by Stan Winston, a popular special effect artist at the time.


The 1987 Predator was the first encounter between Humans and Predators. A group of elite soldiers led by Major Dutch Schaffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a retired war veteran, deployed on a rescue mission to a Central American Jungle. After arriving in the Guatemalan jungle, the special squad rushed to rescue the Foreign Cabinet Minister and his aide, who a guerrilla faction held as hostages.

It took some time for the highly courageous leader of the group to detect the mission was a set-up, and that was not the original motive of the assignment. However, time was no longer on the side of the elite soldiers as a creature now tracked and hunted them down one by one. This creature originates from another world and delights in hunting humans. He even keeps their skulls as souvenirs.

Ignorant of the true nature of their foe, the elite soldiers created several traps, one of which caught a pig, and for a moment, they felt it was the beast.

The creature continued reducing the number of the soldiers by killing them gradually until Dutch realizes that the creature does not target unarmed prey. Dutch tactically disguises in mud and engages the Predator in a nasty one-on-one fight. Dutch emerges as the winner. Unfortunately, the Predator has one last trick on his arm, a self-destruct bomb that would have taken Dutch with him if he had not quickly fled away. After Dutch survives the explosion, a helicopter rescues him just in time.


Of all those impressed with the movie, the 20th Century Fox was one remarkable name. The company quickly greenlit a sequel film to the franchise. The 1987 film’s success also helped keep the franchise alive with a total of three sequels. Also, video games and comic books have adapted the film for their genres.

Unfortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of the original movie, refused to feature in other sequels of the movies. Instead, Stan Winston’s creation, the Predator himself, has become the face of the franchise.

Predator 2 (1990)

Predator 2

Jim and John Thomas also wrote the second Predator film. However, there was a change in director, with Stephen Hopkins, who replaced John McTiernan. While Kevin Peters kept his role as the Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger did not return as the hero of the movie. Instead, Danny Glover took on the starring role for this film.

Unlike the first movie, where a large part of the movie occurred in a Central American Forest, this sequel shifted settings to a more modern setting in Los Angeles.


In the movie, a heavily violent drug war between Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels defined Los Angeles. As an observer in one of the clashes between the two drug cartels and the police, the Predator stormed into the Colombians house and killed everyone he faced. However, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan ignorantly aided the Predator’s spree by shooting the Columbians.

The severe heatwave in Los Angeles made it an ideal habitat for a Predator who roamed around, killing everyone in his way and keeping their skulls as awards. The freely moving monster also killed a policeman who was an associate of Harrigan. This strengthened the resolve of the policeman to kill whatever has taken the life of his colleague. 

The chances for Harrigan’s survival rose after a Jamaican drug lord gave him a scientific explanation of the weapons used by the Predator. Harrigan’s colleague, who had earlier replaced him in the assignment, had also found that they were up against an extraterrestrial creature from another space that has infrared vision.

Harrigan achieves his aim and hunts down the Predator after several attempts and a lengthy confrontation. After killing the Predator, other similar Predators appeared and retrieved his body, a scene that further told the nature of Predators as a race.


Although the second Predator was not as suspense filled as the first, it was not short of excitement. Harrigan and Schwarzenegger also was very different heroes, with the latter quite tougher than the former.

The ALIENS vs. Predator movies

In the early 2000s, 20th Century Fox decided to reinvigorate both the ALIEN franchise and the Predator franchise by creating a cross-over series. Thus, in 2004, ALIENS vs. Predator released to theatres with financial success. Following the success of the first film, a sequel was quickly greenlit, 2007’s ALIENS vs. Predator: Requiem. Unfortunately, the reception to the sequel led to the downfall of this offshoot to the franchise.

For a more in-depth look at these two films, check out our Retrospective on the ALIEN franchise!

Predators (2010)


Robert Rodriguez, John Davis, and Elizabeth Avellan produced the third movie in the Predator Franchise, 2010’s Predators. Then, Alex Litvak and Michael Finch wrote the script for the movie. The new names reflected a heavy change to the first and second sequels, a change that was also clear in the storyline. 

Writing for the first draft of the film finished in 1994. However, 20th Century Fox did not authorize production of the film until 2009. Rather than reflect any form of continuation to the second, it shared some similarities with the first.


The storyline of the third sequel centered around Royce and a group of armed men who found themselves trapped in a new planetary body. The group was ignorant of why, how, nor who transported them, but they soon made up their mind to find a way out.

Royce and the group soon discovered that they were in a domain of fiery predators headed by three super predators. The predators consistently attacked the group and reduced their number drastically while the group’s internal division hastened the process. 

Royce, who had learned from another occupant, who, according to him, has been surviving by hiding, found that there was a spaceship that could transport him back to earth in the custody of the super predators. Having learned of the internal feud between the small predators and the larger predators, Royce thought he could capitalize on it to achieve his aim. 

Before they achieved anything, the group’s numbers reduced to the point that only Royce and Isabella remained alive. Meanwhile, one of the predator’s wrist devices self-destructs the spaceship. 


The sequel showed different shapes of predators and was nothing short of the previous sequels in terms of actions. Although the movie shared no link with the second sequel, Isabella referred to the Predator from the original movie while she was informing Royce about the things she read up about the predator. She also mentioned how only one of the groups of elite soldiers survived the monsters.

The Predator (2018)

The Predator

Shone Black, who played a character from the original 1987 film, became the writer and director of the fourth film in the Predator franchise. The fourth sequel was also the most commercially successful of the predator franchise. The unique storyline of the fourth sequel attributed to the success. While the film profited, critics and audiences negatively viewed the film.

Of all the Predator franchise, the fourth sequel was the only one to abandon a mere confrontation between the races. Or at least, partly ignore the hunting nature of the predators for a more captivating storyline.


The fourth sequel was more concerned about a scientific inquiry into the nature of predators. The huge question was how one capture a Predator so it could become the subject of rigorous scientific study. However, when a predator ship crash landed on earth, the eagle-eyed sniper-like Quinn MC Kenna, who alongside his group of soldiers, became the target of the Predator’s hunt. Intelligently, McKenna immobilizes the Predator and sends the part of the Predator’s armor to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.

The government handed the Predator over to the custody of Casey Bracket, a remarkable biologist who was the best person to handle such a situation. Her earliest discovery was that the creatures have human DNA, a subject she will have to critically explain after more observations. 

Unfortunately, the Predator was awake and hunted down the nurses and the soldiers guarding the lab. However, he spared Bracket because she did not have any weapon. The broken Predator went in search of his armor, an object McKenna’s son has worn as a defensive mechanism against his bullies in school. The little boy had, by his simple act of ignorance, triggered the return of predators to the earth. McKenna and other soldiers get to his son just in time and protect him from approaching predators.

In time, a larger predator appears, which forced the soldiers to give up the Predator’s armor. However, McKenna continued the chase against the Predators. As often in the Predator franchises, by the time that he achieved his dream, he was the last man standing alongside Bracket, whose discovery has produced information sufficient to destroy the predators and their goal of protecting their future.


Critics of the Predator sequels have often stated that the movie never returned to the quality of the original movie in 1987. The sequels before the fourth failed to meet the lofty expectations set before them. However, the fourth appears to have been closer in quality to the original movie.

The Promising Future

When Disney bought 20th Century Fox in 2019, it appeared it was going to be the end of some movie franchise. However, with news of the company’s desire to revisit the Alien franchise, it may be too early to conclude the fourth sequel was the end of the Predator franchise.

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About the author

Author: Chris Ingledue 


Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

About the author

Author: Chris Ingledue 


Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

Retrospective on The Predator Franchise
Article Name
Retrospective on The Predator Franchise
Join us on a retrospective on the Predator franchise. Look back at the movies that have made the Predator an iconic movie monster.
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Wheeljack's Lab
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