After several months of casting announcements that have included the arrival and departure of Benicio Del Toro, as well as the inclusion of Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes and Keegan-Michael Key, Shane Black’s The Predator begins filming today. In conjunction, he’s given us out first look at his forthcoming “expansion” of the universe with a simple, yet striking, tableau of the final cast.
Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, and Room’s Jacob Tremblay will join Rhodes and Key, though it remains vague what roles they’re playing outside of “badass soldiers standing by goofy kid and other dude.” The photo is also telling for who it doesn’t feature: the star of the original Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Black said there were two different versions of the movie: one with Arnold, and one without him. Recent comments from Holbrook point towards the latter, with the actor telling We Got This Covered that “I don’t think you’re going to see Schwarzenegger. It would kind of make it a gimmick.”
Holbrook went on to describe the forthcoming film as “horror, science-fiction, and a western,” and also emphasized that it’s “not a sequel.” He continued: “Shane Black has made something totally new, somehow keeping within the realm of Predator [while also being] absolutely new in terms of the story that we’re talking about today, and rooted in something real. It’s real fresh.”
Notice how, in addition to saying it won’t be a sequel, The Predator’s crew is avoiding words like “reboot” or “remake”. Those words have taken on certain stigmas in the current Hollywood practice of milking everything possible out of established properties, and Black seems to want his riff on the Predator mythology to stand on its own as much as possible. But that leaves a lingering question behind: What, exactly, will the Predator be in this world? Once we know that, we’ll get a much stronger idea of where Black intends to take the story.
Best of all? Black has confirmed via Twitter that the movie will be rated R.
We’ll find out just whose spines are in danger early next year. As of now, the movie is slated for a February 9th, 2018 release in the US.