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One of the joys of Prey, the new film in the Predator franchise from writer/director Dan Trachtenberg, is how self-contained the film is. You don't need any prior knowledge of the franchise to understand the story, and by the time it's over, you're left with an intact, complete story that doesn't hinge entirely on a sequel setup.
But... that doesn't mean sequels aren't possible.
**Spoilers for Prey ahead!**
The meat of Prey's story follows the young Comanche hunter Naru (Amber Midthunder), as she tracks and battles what is, unbeknownst to her, the alien monster we know as the Predator. The battle takes a lot from Naru, including the life of her brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers), but by the end of the film, she's able to outsmart and defeat the Predator with its own weapons. Triumphant and exhausted, she takes the creature's severed head back to her people to show them what she's done, heralding her arrival as her community's great heroic hunter.
Then comes the film's closing credit sequence, which makes use of Native American hide art motifs done by actual indigenous artists contacted by producer Jhane Myers, herself a member of the Comanche Nation. The art depicts Naru's journey in the film, culminating with her arrival back home with the Predator's head... then goes one step further, revealing Predator ships emerging in the sky over the Great Plains, suggesting some kind of future retaliation for the Predator's death.
So, does that mean there's going to be Prey 2? Trachtenberg stopped short of confirming any sequel talks, but that doesn't mean there aren't ideas.
"We have lots of thoughts," Trachtenberg told SYFY WIRE. "How could we ever turn off the thoughts about fun and exciting things? But certainly what was really exciting about the [credits sequence] was what would be in any other movie, an end tag, a live-action tag [in addition to the credits]. That our end credit sequence actually has a story point in it, I think is really awesome."
Trachtenberg and Myers also opened up about the ending to the film itself, and revealed that two of the most memorable moments in Naru's final fight with the Predator were actually not in the original script. Myers noted that Naru's taunting whistle to call the Predator was inspired by an old Native American belief that one should not whistle at night, as it might draw in unwanted spirits. With that connection in her mind, Myers suggested the whistle to Trachtenberg and Midthunder.
"So, that night we were shooting, it was extremely cold, and we had done a few takes without it. And I ran up to Dan and I'm like, 'Dan, please, can we just do the whistle? Let's just do the whistle a couple of times and let's just see what it does,''" Myers recalled. "And I explained it to Amber, who's Native as well. And she goes, 'Oh, we don't whistle at night.' I said, 'Exactly!' So, that's why it's creepy, because that's her turning point. She decides that she's fed up, she's going after it. She wants it to come. So, she whistles, and then [in the] next scene, you see it coming. So, we did that, and then afterward in post, Dan was like, 'Oh my God, that creepy whistle is great because she just kind of turns and she whistles.'"
Trachtenberg also highlighted a key moment in the film's ending that wasn't expected in the film's planning: Naru's war cry after defeating the creature.
"I think the natural inclination would've been to have that be the taunt to the Predator and having it be [earlier in the scene]," Trachtenberg said. "In my mind, it was like the bit at the end of Captain Phillips, when Tom Hanks finally lets loose all that emotion. And so, to see that on her face, what she is emoting in that moment, I find it gives me goosebumps every time I watch. And I've watched it a bajillion times editing the movie. I absolutely love it. It's in a very unexpected place in the movie and I love it for where it is."
Prey is now streaming on Hulu.