Shane Black was last seen in Predator territory in the original 1987 sci-fi thriller as Hawkins, the crude-joke-slinging, Sergeant Rock-reading mercenary in a pair of enormous reading glasses. Lately, Black has become a competent director, helming Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys and taking his craft very seriously. Cameras are poised to start rolling on his Predator reboot/sequel this October, with a scheduled release date of Feb. 9, 2018.
The screenplay is being co-written by Black and Fred Dekker, his partner on the 1987 horror hit, The Monster Squad. Black was also an uncredited writer on John McTiernan's Predator, so he's familiar with the overall continuity, themes and origins of the story.
He recently chatted with IGN on preserving a cinematic stealth mode while depicting Predator's savage reptilian hunter, its foreboding similarities to Ridley Scott's Alien, and precisely what tone and timeline to expect in his return to the Predator's realm.
“We're going to get a great cast and we really just write it and write and and write it - just keep writing it to make it as interesting and stuffed with ideas as we can and hopefully to re-infuse it with a sense of mystery. The worst thing you could hope for in one of these is a shot in bright sunlight of a field and the Predator just kind of walks on and 'hello' - you want to do... I keep going back to Ridley Scott, the way he captured the alien in that first movie. The sense of mystery and portent. If we could just cut into a little piece of that - that sort of vibe - and then I think there's humour to be had too. And tonal shifting. I'm just having a ball. I'm getting more excited by the day, 30 years later working on this damn thing. Who would have thought when we started out and they were saying 'Geez the costume doesn't work - throw this back to Winston and let him save the day!" Eight weeks later "I don't know, looks like dreadlocks to me!" Suddenly it's the most iconic costume ever. It's the most iconic movie ever. It's lasted 30 years and here I am god blessedly making a... it's just unbelievable to me."
Regarding the film's timeline and position within the greater mythology of the franchise, Black offered this:
"Well it seems to me if we set ours in 2018 which is when the film [Predator 2] is set, then we can only be a prequel to that one, so you could say yes it exists, but people won’t be discussing it really…it’s in the midst of the mythology. It’s a movie that’s set in our present-day. Or maybe the day after tomorrow.”
Confident rumors are also swirling of an extended cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, the bulging-biceped special forces major who slays the alien warrior in the first film. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson could also come on board to join the testosterone-fueled cast and is currently in talks to possibly do so, after the superstar ex-wrestler was signed for the lead for Black's upcoming Doc Savage pulp-fest.
Do you have faith in Black's vision for a new Predator, and would you like to see Arnie back in action against these tribal alien warriors?