Well The Predator is in theaters now, and it’s time for fans to decide for themselves what they think about filmmaker Shane Black’s violent, ambitious sequel. The film has thus far garnered mixed reviews and has been overshadowed a bit by controversy surrounding a scene featuring Olivia Munn that was removed (for what it’s worth, Black issued a terrific apology), but it’s an interesting movie and it feels like there was a lot going on during post-production.
Black previously confirmed that they reshot most of the film’s third act, explaining that they decided to change the events from day to night for a better effect. But the film’s final scene sets up a potential sequel in an intriguing way—although the original The Predator ending was far more exciting.
In the existing film, the final scene takes place an unspecified amount of time after the deadly events of the finale, showing that Rory (Jacob Tremblay) is now working for government scientists to further study the Predator species and technology. Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is present as the scientists finally open the “gift” that the good Predator brought to humanity, which turns out to be a piece of tech called the “Predator Killer.” It’s essentially an Iron Man-esque suit that would allow a human to go toe-to-toe with a Predator and come out on top.
In the original script by Black and Fred Dekker’s, The Predator ending was very different. The good folks at Birth.Movies.Death got their hands on a copy, and describe it as follows:
Instead [of the Predator Killer scene], McKenna, his son, Rory (played by Jacob Tremblay) and Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) have all just survived the final attack of the Super Predator (referred to as “The Upgrade” in the script) when a helicopter lands. Out climbs…Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his “face haunted; etched by pain.” Dutch tells the trio to come with him, and when Rory asks, “Uh…me, too?”, the franchise’s second-most iconic badass smiles and says “Especially you.”
It’s no secret that Black reached out to Schwarzenegger for a role in The Predator, but Schwarzenegger declined. The actor revealed back in April, while speaking to Yahoo!, that he didn’t think the role was significant enough:
“They asked me, and I read it, and I didn’t like it — whatever they offered. So I’m not going to do that, no. Except if there’s a chance that they rewrite it, or make it a more significant role. But the way it is now, no, I won’t do that.”
Black himself shed a bit more light on Schwarzenegger passing on the part, telling Digital Spy that the actor opted to take a more significant role in the upcoming Terminator film produced by James Cameron instead:
“Understandably – and believe me, I completely get it – he said, ‘Look, that’s kind of a small part, and I don’t really think I want to do that. I’m off to do Terminator with Jim Cameron, basically. Or for Jim Cameron’,” he explained.
But Black also added that he doesn’t rule out Schwarzenegger returning for The Predator 2, if a sequel comes to pass:
I even said to him, ‘If you’re in this one, we would open it up for the sequel, because now you’re back in the franchise.’ So you know, if there’s another movie, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be either in it, or the star of it, or whatever someone decides at a future date.
There’s no doubt that the Schwarzenegger ending to The Predator would have been better than the “Predator Killer” ending, but understandably if Schwarzenegger doesn’t want to do the role, he doesn’t want to do the role. There wasn’t much Black could do, so he came up with an alternative setup for a potential sequel that doesn’t exclude Dutch from the equation should Schwarzenegger change his mind.