Are Naru & the Predator Learning the Same Skills in Prey?
Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey has hit the streaming service around the world, pleasing the Predator franchise fans. Amber Midthunder gives a breakout performance that has people singing the young star’s praises. There seems to be one major factor that hasn’t been in many of the conversations on Prey.
This Article is going to contain spoilers for every movie a Predator has appeared in, including Prey.
History of the Predators
First, I am going to look at how I believe the Predator or Predators operate within the first six appearances for them. This isn’t going to be judging my feelings on the movies, only examining what the Predators do in the movies.
John McTiernan’s Predator sees the commandos coming up against the deadly Predator that has answers to everything they must fight back against it. In the original, the Predator is shown as an alien that knows everything it is up against like it has been here hunting before. This being the first movie, it was only ever designed to be an unknown enemy that outsmarts commandos.
Predator 2 (1990)
Stephen Hopkins’ Predator 2 took the Predator to LA. This version of the Predator sees it hunting for anyone it sees as a threat, challenging itself against criminals in the big city. One of the biggest factors in this movie is seeing the trophies on its ship, showing how the Predator has been to different worlds and killed many different enemies. This also shows the bigger world of the Predator clan, that respects enemies that can defeat them.
Alien vs Predator (2004)
Paul W.S. Anderson’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator sees archaeologists discover a mysterious temple in the ice. In the temple, they discover a hunting ground with Xenomorph eggs that have been dormant. Once the eggs are released, the Predators start hunting both the Xenomorphs and Humans. This movie creates a mark of respect between the human survivor and the Predator who leaves on the trophy ship again.
Aliens vs Predator 2 Requiem (2007)
Colin & Greg Strause’s AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator follows a Predator ship crash landing in a Colorado town. This sees both species released killing everything in their paves. This film focuses more on the big body count and creating the hybrid Xenomorph Predator creature. The only mildly redeeming factor we learn about the Predators here, is they look to step up to clean up their mess as humans did against Xenomorphs.
Nimrod Antal’s Predators will see a group of elite warriors placed on a planet, where a group of Predators use them to hunt for themselves. The movie seems to want to bring back the best parts of the original Predator using a jungle environment again. It feels like a mix of training a younger Predator or a series of experienced Predators who want to test themselves against a string of fierce warriors. This is the one film where the Predators are in control of the environment stepping away from the new learning curve on the environment.
The Predator (2018)
Shane Black’s The Predator takes things in another direction once again. Here, we get a Predator that has come to Earth to protect and prepare humans for a deadlier Predator coming to Earth. In the previous films, it is touched upon the respect earnt between humans and Predators. This film looks to build a world where the Predators would have a stronger enemy to face if humans learnt more about technology.
The conclusion is that over the previous films, not only have we met different humans fighting back. We have met different versions of Predators, with different methods too.
Now Let’s Look at Prey (2022)
Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey brings us a Comanche female warrior Naru. Naru is an excellent tracker, but she hasn’t proven herself to the tribe about her hunting abilities. She can read the woodland area better than anyone in her tribe, believing something more dangerous than they have previously met is there. Prey creates a journey for Naru, one where she must improve her skills to protect her tribe as she goes toe-to-toe with the Predator.
The Predator is shown interacting with different animals through the woodland area. It is shown to almost be studying the animals to see which a worthy opponent is to hunt down. This sees the Predator interact with a snake, fight a wolf and a bear. By seeing these sequences, it becomes clear the Predator is learning about the environment. This is unlike anything we have seen before.
This Changes Everything
The changes in the way the story is told gives us a reflective character evolution between Naru and the Predator. Both characters are looking to improve themselves as hunters and become the alpha predator in the area. Neither has come up against each other before, showing this is the Predator’s first trip to the planet.
This shouldn’t take anything away from Naru’s battle with the Predator, she is still fighting an alien with better technology and weaponry. But it would be fair to say this could have been the weakest or least prepared Predator we have met. The counterargument would be that the Predators wouldn’t see humans as a threat because of the low population in the 1700s.
The decision to have both Naru and the Predator learning is to get storytelling. The idea that two predators are learning to become better leads to a showdown that we can remember.
What is Next?
The decision to have both sides learning means we could easily have a sequel, where other Predators were watching the events unfold. On the other side of everything, Naru could train a new generation of hunters to be prepared for the Predator’s return. Opening the doors to a much bigger battle between both sides going forward. A massive sign about the returning battle is the gun that Naru is given. This same gun is handed to Mike Harrigan at the end of Predator 2, as a mark of respect from the clan. At some point in the timeline, there must be another clash between the tribes with the Predators getting an upper hand.