'Predator 2' Was Originally Meant to Be a World War II Movie

Friday, 10 November 2017 - 8:42PM
The Predator
Friday, 10 November 2017 - 8:42PM
'Predator 2' Was Originally Meant to Be a World War II Movie
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20th Century Fox
Predator 2 isn't exactly the best movie in the series - it has its fans, but it's nowhere near as popular as the original. Had an earlier draft of the script ended up being the basis for the film, things might have turned out differently.

In a recent Q&A event discussing their career, co-writer Jim Thomas explained a few of the earlier ideas for the sequel. The original plan was to pick things up immediately where the first film left off, with Arnold Schwarzenegger's character Dutch using the original Predator's equipment to wage war on additional would-be attackers.

That idea fell flat when Arnie categorically refused to return for another movie in the franchise, and that left the writers without a logical next step to take. At this point, they started spitballing, and came up with a pretty intriguing idea that sadly never saw the light of day: a Predator film set during winter in World War II, where soldiers on opposite sides would have to team up after a Predator starts hunting them all. According to Thomas:

Opening quote
"We also had an idea about doing a World War II version in the Battle of the Bulge, in the middle of the winter. A German foot platoon and an American platoon separated, and had a stalemate fighting each other off when the Predator shows up. They have to join together to defeat it. We thought the snow Predator effect would be quite different."
Closing quote

There's a lot here to love in this simple statement. While Predator 2 took the iconic monster and placed it in a new setting (urban grime instead of jungle foliage), setting the movie somewhere remote, isolated, and snowy would have been a fantastic way to carry some of the themes of the first movie forward while giving audiences something visually distinct.

Then there's the idea of using a World War II setting, which is fabulous. We've seen a few alternate history sci-fi movies where old fashioned heroes fight otherworldly threats, but the idea has never really lived up to its potential. Setting this movie in such an iconic time period - the brief window in history that most defined the Twentieth Century, there would be opportunities for a wider commentary on borders, warfare, and human politics, all wrapped up in an aesthetic that's become weirdly nostalgic for a lot of us, considering that it comprised a hellish never-ending nightmare for our grandparents.

A World War II setting would also have meant that Predator 2 could have avoided the challenge of not being able to get the whole band back together for the sequel. With a new time period comes a bunch of new characters, and no specific need to follow up anything that happened in the first movie. Nobody can be disappointed by the lack of Arnie if the film couldn't realistically include him anyway.

Besides, the first film isn't called Prey - the movie is about the villain, and, as with all good horror monster movies, the human characters are entirely disposable. There's nothing wrong with switching them out for a new set of protagonists each time, in order to keep things fresh, which is what the franchise has typically done anyway.

Alas, this idea wasn't the one that ultimately became Predator 2, and the world is a little poorer as a result. Perhaps when Shane Black is finished with his inevitably Christmas-themed Predator reboot, we might get the chance to see the classic villain hunt its way through various different wars from human history.

And if that's the path the franchise ends up going down, we might finally get to see the best possible Predator movie, in which the famous alien goes head-to-head with a group of angry Vikings. Don't pretend that wouldn't be awesome.
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