Warning: SPOILERS for The Predator
The Predator may be injecting new life into the classic movie series and antagonist, but it’s definitely not ignoring all the movies that came before. Aside from homages and inside jokes linking Shane Black’s film to the original movie series, a few clues show the Predator timeline isn’t being reset at all.
Whether it’s Easter Eggs and subtle references that even devoted Predator fans would miss, or confirmation that the events of Alien vs Predator definitely happened in the movie’s universe, these details shouldn’t be missed. Not to mention the signature trademarks and winks to the audience that Shane Black could never resist.
To make sure fans can catch every single one, we’re breaking down The Predator: Every Easter Egg & Movie Connection.
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The Hanging Corpses
When the original Predator was released in theaters, nobody actually knew that the secret villain was an alien, let alone one of the finest hunters in the galaxy. So when Dutch and his unit stumbled across a horrifying sight – defeated men who had much of the skin and flesh removed from their bodies, and strung up in the jungle, nobody knew what to make of it in or outside of the film. It was revealed to be part of the Predator’s game of pride and intimidation, and it’s apparently not an isolated practice.
When McKenna and his squadmates realize that one of their own has gone missing in a similar Central American jungle, they find out they’re being hunted in the exact same way: with a fellow soldier flayed, and strung up in the canopy. This time, the Predator is there to taunt them, and make sure nobody misses the callback.
Predators Visited Earth in 1987 & 1997
When Casey Brackett is recruited by Project Stargazer to help understand the blending of alien and human DNA in the captured Predator, she has more than a few bombshells dropped directly on her (and bringing plenty of exposition for the audience along with it). She may be surprised to learn that intelligent alien life does exist… and visited Earth more than once, with visits in 1987 and 1997 called out specifically.
Those years are references to both Predator and its sequel Predator 2. One released in 1987, the other set a decade later. To double down on the confirmation of franchise lore for the fans who caught that detail, the surveillance photos Casey views are both taken from their respective movies.
The Predator Spears
Getting to see the masks of both Predators (and their shoulder-mounted cannon, too) in a trophy case is cool enough, but it’s the second case that Brackett observes which holds the real Holy Grail for fans of Alien vs Predator. The case includes the compact, extendable spear brought by the Predator in the sequel, but it also holds the spear made famous in AvP.
It was constructed by the Predator of the film, combining a staff with the removed tail of a Xenomorph. This weapon, in tandem with a Xenomorph head shield, were both gifted to AvP’s heroine. How it wound up in Project Stargazer is a mystery, but a cool Easter Egg all the same.
When the first reports of Shane Black’s Predator film arrived, some believed it wouldn’t be a continuation of the original series, but a true reboot, wiping the slate clean and staring fresh. That obviously isn’t the case, as the new Predator is a sequel to the original films – a tradition embodied by the role of Sean Keyes, played by Jake Busey.
Thise names should ring a bell, since it was Gary Busey playing FBI Special Agent Keyes in Predator 2 (the government agent who Secretly knew the alien existed). Jake Busey is Gary’s son, and the same dynamic is at play in the film, with Sean obviously taking a scientific path towards the same alien target as his father.
They Really Shouldn’t Be Called “Predators”
For as long running and illustrious as the Predator films have been, the newest movie marks the first time that the masked alien creatures are referred to as “a Predator,” in the form of a formal nickname. The serious fans know that the true name for the Predators is the Yautja (“Ya-OOT-ja”), but the movie offers its own moniker. The fact that a killer who hunts for sport, and not survival actually isn’t a “predator” in the true sense of the word soon becomes a running joke, since it would make more sense to call them… well, Hunters.
That decision pays a bit more love to Alien vs Predator, since that’s exactly what the characters refer to the Predators as (and refer to the Xenomorphs as “serpents” or non-descriptor pronouns). In the actual movie canon, the fans and production also refer to the creatures as Hunters, ever since the first Predator/Jungle Hunter battled Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“You Are One Beautiful Motherf**ker”
Arnold Schwarzenegger is best know for his catchphrase informing enemies and allies that “he will be back,” but his one-liner in the original Predator is immortalized for a completely different reason. When the Predator first removes its bio-mask helmet to expose its true face, Arnold’s hero stares in disgust, informing his enemy that “you are one ugly motherf***er.” The line is also repeated by Danny Glover in Predator 2.
For a soldier and cop, respectively, the disgusting face of the Predator is a horror to look upon. But for an evolutionary biologist, the Predator is a scientific breakthrough. A point made clear when Casey gets up close and personal with the face of the Predator, and expresses her wonder by calling the alien “one beautiful motherf**ker.”
Your Second Question
When you’re dealing with writers Shane Black and Fred Dekker, you know that the references, homages, and tributes are going to start on the pages of the script itself. For instance, when Casey Brackett is being walked through the existence and capture of the Predators, and the scientific mystery they represent. Before she can voice objections, Traeger is one step ahead, guessing that her second question is going to be something along the lines of “what is she doing here?”
It’s a saying that will slip by most viewers, but for those who remember Arnold’s Dutch being brought into the story of the first Predator without much explanation, it’s an even more meta joke. Dutch first asks why the captured hostages were in enemy territory to begin with. His second question? Yes, also inquiring as to why he in particular was asked to be a part of the mission. A truly subtle touch.
“Get To The Choppers”
Even if action movie fans never got around to seeing the original Predator, they may still know Arnold’s infamous screaming, urging (ordering?) the woman who survived the Predator hunt to “RUN! GET TO THE CHOPPER!” The line has reached meme status by now, and Shane Black finds the way to pay what may be the most overt callback of the entire new movie.
After the Predator escapes from Project Stargazer and the Looneys are left without a fitting vehicle for escape, their rescue comes in the form of a pack of nearby motorcycles. Once again, the heroes have no choice but to “get to the choppers,” but with a completely different context.
Nebraska’s Bullet Necklace
When Nebraska explains what circumstances have landed him in psychiatric care, he claims that he shot his commanding officer. The twist only comes later when Nebraska shows Quinn the scar along the side of his head – the mark left behind by the bullet he fired at his own head (and missed). At the time of our set visit, Trevante Rhodes wouldn’t explain the significance of the necklace worn by Nebraska. But now that the film has been released, fans can put the pieces together themselves.
The necklace holds a single brass shell casing, crushed so that it can never be used in a live round again, and mounted around his neck. A heck of a way to remember his rock bottom.
“Home of The Warriors”
When the action moves from war-torn jungles to small town America, the name of Rory’s middle school is hard to miss. And many fans will (rightly) assume that the “Lawrence Gordon” for whom the school is named is a producer from behind the camera. A true legend on some incredible films… but that’s not the best part of this Easter Egg.
The other message printed on the school sign proclaims it to be the “Home of the Warriors.” And yes, it was Lawrence Gordon who first acquired the rights to produce what would ultimately become the cult hit The Warriors in 1979.
New Predator, Same Runtime
Not every Easter Egg needs to be groundbreaking, or even noticeable while watching the film. Sometimes, the best running tributes can’t even be seen on screen. For instance, the fact that Shane Black’s role in the first Predator may not be all that memorable aside from his gags… but he certainly learned exactly how long to make a Predator movie.
The official running time of The Predator is 1:47:00, the exact same as the first movie (and Predator 2). Who knew?
“East on Woodruff Road”
Just when the Looneys and McKenna are on the search for his son Rory, the boy comes through (albeit unintentionally). A bit of bullying triggers Rory’s helmet-mounted cannon to obliterate a no-candy burnout and the entire upper floor of his home, bringing more than just his father in pursuit. A report over the police scanner claims that Rory was fleeing along the city streets, and running out in front of a patrol car. From there, he was last seen heading “East on Woodruff Road.”
Thats almost definitely a reference to special effects and creature creating legend Tom Woodruff Jr., who aside from working with Black and Dekker on Monster Squad, was also in the Xenomorph suit for Alien vs Predator (as “Grid,” the Xeno who ended up with a net pattern of acidic burns across its head).
Who Taught You Math?
Fans of Shane Black may have been disappointed at a lack of any nods or winks to his previous movies, but there was one dropped during the film’s showdown between the military of Project Stargazer and the Looneys. Specifically, when Traeger tries to talk McKenna and his team into surrendering, since his own forces outnumber theirs 7 to 6. At which point a sniper shot takes out the soldier next to him, revealing the numbers are now perfectly even.
In response, McKenna loudly inquires as to “who taught him Math,” mocking him after his own fighters removed the advantage. That’s the exact same question Perry posed to Harry in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang after he placed a single bullet into his revolver to intimidate a suspect… and then spun it, clocked it, and shot him dead. In hindsight, the odds of that happening were actually higher than Harry assumed.
Predator Goes Back Into The Water
There aren’t many overt references to the action scenes of the previous Predator films, and the ones that are there may be broad enough to avoid calling them direct homages, or tributes (you can only fight a Predator so many ways). But one moment will stand out for fans of the original. When McKenna drops to safety from the crashing Predator ship, the alien pilot grounds it in a lake surrounded by trees.
The shot that follows reveals the Predator walking through the water towards McKenna – and is seriously evocative of the same scene from the first Predator. With Dutch realizing the Predator is still coming to kill him, seeing the Predator rising from the water, camouflage flickering, became one of the most iconic shots of the film. If the new Predator movie seeks to pay homage at any point, this is the closest fans are going to get.
The Wardrobe Secrets Most Will Miss
The Looneys enter the film so quickly, it may be tempting for audiences to take their characters as only skin-deep. But when visiting the set, we learned how much time certain members of the cast had put into their backstories and irregularities. Aside from Nebraska’s bullet, Coyle may be the best example, as was explained in our interview with The Predator’s Keegan-Michael Key:
I said I want a version of Travis Bickle’s jacket from Taxi Driver. That’s what I want Coyle to wear, and I want it to have a Great Santini feel to it, which is that it’s not his jacket. It’s his father’s jacket from the Vietnam War. And as you’ll see, half the jacket has vet material from Desert Shield, and half has vet material from Vietnam.
He also wears his father’s Army ring even though he wasn’t in the Army, he was in the Marine Corps. My favorite part is that he has his work shirt, he works at a cold storage plant, and she said, ‘Oh we’ll put your name tag under your dad’s name tag.’ So the costume’s kind of a living museum, a tapestry, pardon the pun, of him and his father’s relationship.
Those are the Easter Eggs and references that we’ve spotted in The Predator so far, but if you spotted ones we missed, be sure to leave them in the comments.
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