This weekend past San Diego became the mecca of geekdom with the arrival of the annual Comic Con. Compared to previous years this years event was much quieter with the major highlights coming from DC's forthcoming Justice League movie and Marvel Studios only showing off the teaser for the next Avengers movie to attendees. With no Nerd HQ present and studios such as Lucasfilm, Disney and Legendary virtually boycotting the event, this years convention could have been the perfect opportunity for Shane Blacks The Predator movie to quieten the growing concerns among fans and critics with a short but assuringly "epic" teaser. Alas, 20th Century Fox decided to not use the convention as a springboard for the movies marketing campaign, leaving The Predator's only mention during the whole event coming from journalist turned actress Olivia Munn during a brief interview with Yahoo Movies while she was present at the event to promote the forthcoming Lego Ninjago Movie.
With Keegan-Michael Key having claimed the movie isn't a sequel, and Munn now adding to the confusion claiming the movie is a standalone that doesn't need to acknowledge the previous installments despite Jake Busey having been cast as the son of Agent Peter Keyes (portrayed by Jakes real life father Gary Busey in 1990's Predator 2), it appears there may be some issue as to where The Predator fits in the existing franchises continuity. Back in June 2014, following the backlash in the wake of an announcement by 20th Century Fox that they were rebooting Predator director Shane Black assured fans that his forthcoming movie was "more of a sequel than a reboot". Having recently also referred to The Predator as an event movie similar to 2012's Prometheus, is surprising that Black hasn't clarified his movies "canonicity", as the mismarketing of Ridley Scott's first instalment in his series of prequels led to much confusion to general audiences who expected Prometheus to tie directly into 1979's Alien.
With many fans and critics airing on the side of cautiousness towards Blacks forthcoming movie the director needs to raise The Predator's public profile. With suggestions of a suburban setting and stolen Predator technology (last seen in AvP Requiem), Classic Predator vs New Predator conflict (Predators), and Humans and Predators working alongside each other (Alien versus Predator), there are fears that Blacks movie will just retread ground already explored and fail to live up to the directors claims that he will be exploring the riches of the franchise's mythology. Considering Black helped writers/creators Jim and John Thomas on the script for and starred in the original Predator while being schooled by John McTiernan in how to direct, one would expect the property and its fan base to be dear to the director, but his apparent silence would seem to suggest otherwise.
Unfortunately for Predator fans, the growing concerns of another sequel recycling ideas from previous installments are old news. During the marketing campaign for 2010's Predators writer and executive producer Robert Rodriguez stated that the movie would not acknowledge the AvP crossover movies, yet in the movie we clearly saw elements previously introduced in 2004's Alien versus Predator such as the Super Predators hunting in a pack of three, the Predators able to generate vector-like holographic displays from their gauntlets, and their iconic "camouflage" also being used by their spaceships. None of these ideas were present in the first two installments. When released Predators offered a glimmer of hope to fans with the promise of fresh premise set upon an alien "game reserve" planet, but ultimately audiences were disappointed when much of the moves narrative echoed that of the original.
Anna said they appeared in "the hottest years", and Agent Keyes said they were "attracted by heat and conflict". Why is it then that Shane Black did not think to set his movie during the Vietnam war, or against the backdrop of Africa or the Middle East? Why can fans not be given the sequel the first movie(s) deserve instead of just recycled themes that we have already seen and shown our disliking of?
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