Prey was a good Predator movie not by virtue of it being in a historical setting. It was good because it made the most of it and found an interesting and relevant story to tell in that setting. The past is full of stories and cultures that we don’t often get to see. As noted in the Prey review, a different setting and type of protagonist allows for fresh take on the sci fi series. This movie opens the door to further historical Predator movie settings, and fortunately there’s a lot of history that could be used to make a great film. From the jungles of Central America to the plains of Eastern Europe, here are 5 potential settings, chosen both for the potential storytelling and action.
Samurai Japan in the 1880s
The most common fan concept for a historical setting I have seen online has been a Samurai based Predator movie. It’s popular for the simple reason that it would be ridiculously cool. If you have seen the 2010 Predators, you may remember the scene of Hanzo (played by Louis Ozawa) having a showdown with a Predator. The sword fight, as well as the insight into both Hanzo and the Predator’s sense of honour was great. A long, well choreographed sword fight would make for a fantastic climax to a movie. A Samurai could also be used well to contrast with the Predator. Both have a code of honour that they aim to live by, and the idea of killing to defend vs to prove oneself could be an interesting dynamic.
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Of course, there are centuries of Japanese history to place this concept in. If it was up to me I would place it in the Meiji Restoration in the later part of the 19th century. The Samurai had lost their privileged social status and feudalism was abolished. This could add to the story with our Samurai protagonist facing the societal upheaval of the period. He could have to decide between embracing change or holding to a more traditionalist approach. Perhaps ending with a melding of the two, imparting the bushido code on the local village who could work together to bring down the predator after a heroic sacrifice. Another popular idea is of a Ronin Samurai seeking to avenge his master which could work as a simple story.
The fanfiction basically writes itself. It’s also a great way to link the movies together, with our protagonist’s sword being the one found by Hanzo on the alien world.
Stone Age Monster Madness
A particularly enjoyable aspect of Prey was seeing the Predator work its way up the food chain. Including taking down a bear with its bare hands. How do you top a bear fight? Go for an even bigger beast. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for prehistoric humans, there were some truly horrifying animals back in the day. A predator hunting down Saber-toothed Tigers, Giant Short-Faced Bears and Mammoths could make for a great visual spectacle.
Given how far back in time this is, it could be an opportunity to dial back the Predator’s technology, making for one of the more intriguing possible historical settings. It would be a nice addition to the lore to see how the Predator species has learnt from their encounters. This one could differentiate itself by having a less equipped Predator primarily hunting the creatures of the time, as humans would be less of a threat, but who could be watching and learning. It would be one of the more bizarren locales to place the Predator in. But if you wanted to go full ridiculous, you could consider Dinosaurs vs Predator. I’m just saying, a T-rex vs Predator scene would be glorious.
Knights and Mongols in 1241
Another popular concept amongst the many possible historical settings for a predator movie is one in which it faces off against the Knights of Europe. Even famous YouTube channel Red Letter Media posited the idea of an Arthurian type of story. I agree that this blending of folklore with a Sci-Fi monster movie would be an entertaining romp. There’s even an independent fan-film, Predator: Dark Ages that explores this concept. Heavily armed knights could be an interesting counter to the Predator. Maybe the cold metal of their plate armour (which came into use around 1200) could enable them to hide from the Predators heat vision.
However, I would pitch a slight alternative. Cavalry is something that we haven’t seen a Predator deal with. By placing a movie during the Mongol Invasion of Europe, specifically the 13th century incursions into Poland we could get a 2 for 1. The Heavy Knights of Poland on the one hand, and the horse archer forces of the Mongolian empire on the other.
This way we get a whole heap of different potential fight scenes, as well as weapons and traps that the Predator could use. Moving the setting to the plains of Eastern Europe rather than the traditional forest could make for a nice change as well. Furthermore, having the Predator come up against 2 distinct styles of warfare paves the way for some interesting adaptations to the situation.
WW2 and the Eastern Front
I love a weird mash of genres. A World War 2 Sci-Fi monster movie could be a phenomenal location. Of course, similar sci fi situations have been explored. Nazi zombie movies are a dime a dozen, but the 2018 Overlord showed that it can be done really well. Even if it delves into the realm of schlock, it can be done in a fascinatingly gritty way.
Again I think moving the franchise away from a forest would be a welcome change. The two locations that stand out the most to me are a Stalingrad or Battle of Kursk movie. The eastern front is less prevalent in western cinema, and so gives a change of perspective. Furthermore, the predator in an active warzone would be interesting. Tanks, artillery and the sheer amount of firepower would be next level. We’ve seen it hunt once in the city during Predator 2. However, a full-on war-torn city could make for a dark setting and great fight scenes. In this one we could see both sides attempt to weaponise the Alien, with Special Forces seeking to capture it.
Aztecs vs Conquistadors vs Predator in 1519
I may be biased because I think Aztec art and architecture is fascinating and beautiful, but I think this would also make for a wonderful location and setting for a Predator movie. Whether it takes place in the dense rainforests or the even the great island city of Tenochtitlan itself. This setting is not only beautiful, but also comes with an interesting dynamic of the Aztecs and Conquistadors. The arrival of the Spanish could be compared and contrasted with arrival of the predator if done from the Aztec perspective. 2 different strange cultures arrive on their doorstep, both a threat in different ways.
You could even have both sides interpret the predator in different ways. Either as a monster or a god sent avenger depending on the situation. Of course, the Alien vs Predator film already tried a blend of Aztec mythos with the franchise. It wasn’t great, playing on pseudo-archaeological ideas that different cultures needed alien help to develop the way they did. However, an exploration of the impact a predator would have on a religious society could make for an interesting story.
The options are as large as history itself. The creators could even go the route of 2010s Predators and have killers from across the globe taken to be hunted on an alien world. Some more settings that have strong potential could be:
- The Romans – Teutoburg Forest or the Disappearance of the 9th Legion could be executed well
- The Maori – This culture is underrepresented in film, but with a rich culture and folklore, there’s great potential here
- The Vikings – The culture of warfare and battle held by Scandinavian Vikings would work extremely well with a Predator
- The Egyptians – A deep dive back in history to Ancient Egypt would be fantastic, especially with a desert setting being fresh to the franchise
What Other historical settings would you like to see the Predator in? Which alternate cultures you would like to see fight a predator? Let us know in the comments.
The Romans conquered all of Europe except for one place…Scotland. so they built a wall to stop them. Hahahaha kilted Predators. I would watch that.
Dude that would be awesome, some Roman legion lost in the wild outskirts of northern Scotland, it’s standard taken as a trophy. The Romans obviously blame the savage picts for that and venture out with another stronger force to retrieve the standard and their honour, but as they enter the territory of the picts they find brutalised corpses of friend and foe alike. Finally realising that something else took their standard and butchered the lost legion. Something monstrous that has already killed hundreds of warriors. A lone Hunter beyond anything we’ve ever seen. Not just a rookie predator, but an old veteran that wishes to die a glorious death. In the end upon hearing the terrible stories of slaughter and death in that area Emperor Hadrian decides to build a wall to keep the terror out and draw a huge ‘NOPE’ on that part of the map.
This is such a good idea. You could have such great fight scenes, with the different tactics each people would bring. Perhaps the formations and style of the Romans makes them vunerable so they have to adopt tactics from the Picts. I wonder if you could put a Predator in an amphitheatre. Have gladiators compete to take it down
And to make things interesting you could have an African warrior (Somali or Ethiopia or Sudan) Venture out to save his daughter that has been taken from his tribe by Ottoman slave traders. he races against time before they take his daughter on a ship to a faraway country. On his path he encounters many other villagers that have been massacred or some have been taken away. He just needs to follow the trail of death and despair until he starts seeing corpses with spines and skulls missing. Also those of Ottomans soldiers. Up to the point he begins an uneasy alliance with an invisible demon that he helps when he tries to free some slaves. For he knows that monster is his only hope of ever seeing his beloved daughter again… This I would find interesting because you could actually have a historically and ethnically valid movie about coloured people that I as a white man would love to watch.