Shane Black studied acting in college, then shifted creative gears to become the hottest young screenwriter of the mid-to-late '80s and early '90s. In 1986, he was brought on to act in director John McTiernan's pulpy sci-fi thriller Predator, in part because he could help rewrite the script if needed (even though he suspected that wouldn't be necessary).
Black was proven right — there were no last-minute edits required on the shooting script, which was far less quippy than his regular work. The gritty Predator, directed by John McTiernan and released in 1987, wound up launching a franchise that turned out sequels, spinoffs, and comic books.
Now, over 30 years later, Black is finally steering the Predator ship and putting his trademark spin on the material as the writer/director of September's The Predator. But as he told SYFY WIRE after his Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, because his movie — which stars Thomas Jane, Olivia Munn, and Keegan Michael-Key — will be a sequel instead of a reboot, there will be plenty of nods to all that came before it.
"There's some Easter eggs there if you're looking; however many we keep by the end of the process — because we're still finishing the film— I don't know," Black said. "There's a history inherent in the film that says, yes the '87 movie happened, Predator 2 happened, they probably all happened. It's the same universe, same world."
The tenuous Easter eggs that Black alluded to may not just connect to the previous films, either. The director, who has spoken in the past about his admiration for the Predator comics, also said that the print continuity is included in the universe of his new film.
Still, when it came down to it, Black was most focused on preserving the original movie's ethos in his return to the franchise.
"We've looked through them. They're all there. There's stuff that informs various versions of this thing as we went along," Black said. "Ultimately we pretty much stuck to a pretty lean template that tries to honors the first movie in a way that if John McTiernan were to take a look, in my imagining, he'd say, 'Hey kid, good job, you did alright.' "