The Predator is not a good movie, and that’s such a huge bummer given the talent involved. You can tell it’s a heavily jeopardized picture of conflicting visions that kind of adds up to a total bore that eventually devolves into nonsense.
Moviefone recently spoke to co-writer Fred Dekker about what he and director Shane Black originally had planned, and it’s quite the departure from what we actually got:
I think we were halfway through the shoot. Um, we had devised a sequence which, 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 to give a shit 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 our idea was that their planet is dying. And so they’ve decided to take what previously was explored, which is to dope up creatures with the DNA of other types of predators from alien worlds and create new targets for their hunt. But now they realized, well, hey, we need maybe to upgrade ourselves just to survive. And then they go to themselves, well, hey, earth is warming up. We like a warm environment. Maybe we should move in. So the premise of the movie is that in the third act was these two predators come aboard the ship and everybody’s freaking out and the predators actually want to communicate. They want to say, “Hey, we’ve got a problem, you have a problem. Maybe we should team up.”
So that whole convoy was trying to get the emissaries to the ship to get away and they were going to be chased by A, the upgrade who we meet in the finished version of the movie and B, and this was a huge change from our initial premise, is that at the beginning of the movie, you see the first Predator that shows up in the movie. He leaves the ship and we push in on this container in the, in the ship. And what they ended up with was the terrible ending that I have nothing to do with it. Shane didn’t write either. That was sort of someone decided it was a good idea.
There’s something on the ship. Well, originally there was a whole bunch of those in the ship. And what those were was those were the gestating hybrids. Essentially what they were nurturing and growing in these pods were the hybrids of Predator DNA mixed with the DNA of creatures from all over the galaxy that would enable them to basically eradicate mankind so that they could populate it themselves. And so the convoy chase, the idea was that it would be all of our heroes on these badass, big military vehicles and the upgrade releases the hybrids and chases them and the hybrids jump onto the convoy. And it’s a big, rootin’, tootin’ fantastic action sequence.
Dekker went on to explain that the studio said that the sequence needed to be at night to be “scarier” and retooled it back to just another hunt. He also says they tried to get Arnold Schwarzenegger back for a Force Awakens-esque cameo that would have set up a sequel, but they couldn’t pay him enough to do a half-day’s shoot up in Canada, so that plan was nixed. And as for the final scene with the chamber, in the finished film it’s just a more-powerful Predator suit, but they had toyed with the idea of making it Ripley or Newt from Aliens. As for why they didn’t go in that direction:
The whole thing seemed to not be in step with that particular franchise. It was one of many ideas that we floated and shot. We shot a version where Ripley was in the cocoon and we shot one where Newt from “Aliens” was in the cocoon. Sigourney didn’t want to clear any future for Ripley in the franchise and ultimately I don’t think anybody remembers Newt well enough for that to have meant anything.
The Predator is just kind of one of those sad tales of conflicting visions and studio skittishness that Dekker wisely sums it up as, “Hollywood does this all the time by, trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.”