It’s all too easy for a franchise that’s been around for decades to become stagnant. In order to avoid this pitfall, Hollywood creatives might choose to keep things fresh by either changing the setting, playing around with the time period in which the film franchise takes place, or introducing new characters into the fold. The filmmakers chose all three for the latest picture in the popular Predator franchise.
Prey tells the story of a Comanche woman named Naru who navigates a treacherous world of culturally reinforced misogyny and colonizing fur traders. Soon, an all too familiar seven-foot tall, many-mandible alien hunter arrives, ready to take on the best fighters the 1700s planet Earth has to offer. This take on the franchise was as unexpected as it was different. And, if the film’s record-breaking debut numbers weren’t enough, Prey was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie, or Special.
So, what’s next for the series? While a release date for the next installment in the Predator franchise is still up in the air, there has been plenty of speculation among cast, crew, and fans as to what audiences might come to expect in a sequel. Let’s take a moment to imagine all the fascinating directions the next Predator film could explore.
Update February 11, 2024: This article has been updated with additional information after the announcement of two new movies set in the Predator universe.
- Release Date
- August 5, 2022
- Amber Midthunder , Dane DiLiegro , Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat , Dakota Beavers
- 1hr 39min
Sequel and More Finally Confirmed
After nearly two years of waiting, Prey fans can finally rejoice as two new films in the universe have been announced. The first of which is that a direct sequel to Prey is in early production with Dan Trachtenberg returning to direct. Amber Midthunder, who played Naru, is already in talks to return as the film would be set in that same period. This would be a historic moment for the franchise, as no cast member has returned for a sequel. Prey was beloved with some considering it the best in the series, and there’s much more of Naru’s story to tell.
The second announcement was that of a new film set in the Predator universe called Badlands. Trachtenberg is also set to direct this film, but it’s going to be drastically different from what Prey was. While plot details are largely unknown, as of right now, it’s confirmed to be set in the future. This would also be breaking new ground for the franchise, as the furthest in the future we’ve seen is only 2018. There are a ton of possibilities for a Predator movie in the future as both humanity and the Predator’s technology have evolved. It’s an exciting premise that takes the universe to new heights and would be a welcome change of pace.
Currently, there has been no announcement whether the two films will be put in theaters or arrive at streaming. Many were surprised when Prey was confined to a streaming release, as the film could’ve been hugely successful in theaters. In a day and age where studios are striving for every film to be part of a huge franchise, Prey was precisely that and had a lot of brand recognition behind it. Most importantly, though, it’s a fantastic film deserving of attention and shouldn’t get lost in the abundance of content on streaming.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and it broke records upon its release on Hulu, but hopefully, Disney learns from the films’ success and gives these new movies the theatrical release they deserve. There is a strong chance that both will get a theatrical release, given that Alien: Romulus is set for a theatrical release on August 16, 2024. If Alien is worthy of a big-screen cinematic release, so is the Predator. Yet now the question is why film will get prioritized first: Prey 2 or Badlands?
Prey 2 Could Feature an Invasion
With a Prey sequel officially in the works, it is clear the movie will follow up on Naru and utilize the 1700s Great Plains setting. Not only was it effective the first time, but the work has already been done. So, where does that leave us?
At the end of Prey, the freshly minted war chief Naru begins a long journey toward a safer destination with her tribe. Removing the tribe from a scene of so much death and destruction was a wise choice; however, it’s likely that even more Predators, inspired by the death of their comrade, will soon converge on planet Earth. Their combined force might be too big a challenge for even Naru’s formidable combat prowess.
This possibility is more than probable, given the film’s end credits sequence. In the animated closing credits, which is drawn in the style of traditional Plains hide art by a Native artist, we see Naru’s journey in the film from warrior in training to war chief. Blink, and you’ll miss the parting shot, which depicts a squadron of alien spaceships as they appear across the sky, following in their wake. This sets up a story for a potential sequel and outmatches Naru by a lot. She was narrowly able to defeat one Predator, but with three now on the loose, it drastically raises the stakes. Perhaps this tells a story where she and her entire Comanche tribe work together to fight off the hunters.
A Potential Team-Up Between Predator and Prey
Though Predators are much more likely to slice people open than collaborate with them, a Predator teaming up with humans is not entirely unheard of. When facing off against the Xenomorphs, they’ll usually take all the help they can get. It’s a rare thing to happen in live-action, but for a franchise that’s run as long as this one, it would be a breath of fresh air. The Predator’s species has already been established to be one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous, in the universe, so introducing a new threat that even they can’t defeat would shake the status quo.
A Predator only kills what it deems to be a threat, so it’s possible that a Prey sequel could see Naru and a Predator with their respective weapons drawn, facing off against a common enemy, perhaps in the form of the aforementioned colonizing forces. Could the Predator help Naru take on a brigade sent by the U.S. Army? Probably. That would be an interesting pivot for the franchise and offer something new. It could also continue the idea of the first film if they were to make the colonizer’s antagonists, and seeing the two working together fighting them off would be immensely satisfying.
A Prey sequel has to include some new weaponry. As has been the case in nearly every installment of the franchise thus far, this latest installment showcased a whole heck of a lot of previously unseen alien tech. One thing immediately apparent to fans of the franchise was that instead of more high-tech gear, Prey’s weapons were suited to the period. Gone was the high-tech of yore in favor of laser-guided arrows and a Telescoping Spear. Even some of the tools used by humans, like Naru’s throwing ax, were just as interesting as their extraterrestrial counterparts. A sequel would present the opportunity to introduce audiences to even more weaponry.
As for Badlands, which is being developed by the same creative team behind Prey, implying a certain level of interconnectivity than previous entries in the franchise, that future setting will likely require even more advanced weapons. It would be an inverse of Prey, which featured paired-down versions of classic Predator weapons, and a future set film would see the technology pushed to the next level. Humans might have cloaking devices and plasma weapons, meaning the Predators must up their game.
Will the Sequel to Prey Set Up Badlands
The Predator franchise is interesting in terms of continuity. The films are all connected to one another across different time periods, but over the forty-seven years since the first film opened in 1987, there has been no true creative guiding hand to them. All of the sequels are rather stand-alone in nature, with no characters or even directors returning between installments. But following Prey‘s successes, 20th Century Pictures is going all in on Dan Trachtenberg.
Prey 2 and Badlands provide a chance to feature a greater level of interconnectivity than the franchise has ever had. Elements in Prey 2 could be planted to be paid off in Badlands. While the two drastically different time periods might not, on the surface, suggest any level of connection, as one takes place in the 1700s and the other in the future, meaning at the least there will be 300 years separating the films, elements in Naru’s story could be passed down generations to play out in Badlands.
Since Prey came out, fans have been wanting to see the Predator dropped into various different time periods. While fans were likely expecting something like a gangster movie or even a samurai film with Predators, a film set in the future is a cool prospect that, so far, only the comics have touched on.
When Will Prey and Badlands Come Out?
The question on everyone’s mind is exactly when the next entry for the Predator franchise will come out and which will arrive first. With Trachtenberg directing both movies, one project will have to take priority over the other. While Prey 2 would seem like the initial call, the press release for Prey 2 seemed to put Badlands ahead of it, implying that the film might be the first up and then followed by Prey 2. Prey took about two months to film in the summer of 2021 and was then released in August 2022, meaning it could take up to a year to film one entry.
It is always possible both films will be released in back-to-back years. Tractenberg revealed the original plan for Prey was to film it at the same time as The Predator and release a trailer for it alongside The Predator as a surprise for audiences that another separate Predator movie was coming as they were getting ready to see a new one. That did not pan out, but it could be what 20th Century Pictures has planned now.
This means there is a chance one film could arrive as early as 2025, with the other film released in 2026. 20th Century Pictures could always space out the releases and have one set for 2027 to tie in with the fiftieth anniversary of the original Predator opening in theaters.
The world of Prey has a lot of room left to grow. The Predator franchise is back and better than ever. Prey breathed new life into it by changing the setting and showing unique ways different cultures would defeat it. Taking a long-running franchise in new directions should always be welcomed as it breeds creativity, and it’s nice to see the Predator movies find themselves again. Now fans can look forward to two drastically different Predator movies, a straightforward sequel to Prey and one that will take the series into new territory.
Stream Prey on Hulu.