Prey director on how the prequel responds to the original Predator

Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved. /

We’re less than a month out from the release of Prey on Hulu, the Predator prequel movie set almost 300 years before the original Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Prey follows Comanche warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder) as she faces off against the iconic alien hunter in order to protect her tribe. If we know anything about Predator movies, it’s likely to end with a whole lot of blood and guts and horror.

In many ways, the choice to set a Predator film farther back in history makes an awful lot of sense; it’s almost kind of shocking that it’s taken this long for someone to do it. During the climactic sequence of Predator 2, viewers discovered that the aliens had been coming to Earth to hunt humans for centuries, when Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) was given an 18th century pistol as a trophy for defeating one of the titular creatures. The scenarios for historical sci-fi horror mayhem are endless.

How Prey responds to the original Predator movie

In a recent interview with Empire MagazinePrey director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield LaneThe Boys) opened up about where the idea to set the film during the height of the Comanche Nation came from. As it turns out, it was a response to a specific character in the original Predator movie: Billy (Sonny Landham), a half-Sioux tracker who fought the Predator alongside Schwarzenegger’s Dutch.

“I wanted to shift the focus to someone who would normally be a sidekick,” Trachtenberg said. “In Predator, Billy was just one of the men on the team. In Prey, we’re watching someone lead this movie that has never led this type of movie before.”

The production really committed to doing this right by hiring Native talent. In addition to Midthunder, the cast includes many other Native and First Nation performers such as Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp (Sooyii), Michelle Thrush (The Journey Home), and Julian Black Antelope (Tribal). Behind the camera, Prey relied on Native Comanche producer Jhane Myers (Monsters of God) and Comanche educator Juanita Pahdopony to ensure the cultural accuracy of the film.

The results are likely to speak for themselves. The dialogue in Prey is in English, but it also includes an overdubbed Comanche track that audiences can turn on if they desire. “It’s a little more sophisticated than perhaps our memory of watching dubbed movies,” Trachtenberg explained. “There’s a ‘lip match’ [choosing words to match the actors’ mouth movements as closely as possible] that we do now. It won’t be like watching old kung fu movies.”

That said, much of Prey won’t involve dialog at all. There’s no reasoning with a Predator, no pithy dialogue to try and convince it not to kill you. There’s only hunt or be hunted. This is something the original film captured very well, but not all of the sequels have managed to emulate. “It created a guiding purpose for the storytelling. Telling a story primarily through actions, through human behavior, I find that to be delightful,” Trachtenberg said.

Prey arrives on Hulu on August 5.

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h/t SyFy Wire