Final Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Predator.
No, Seriously: Do not read this until you've seen The Predator.
It appears the crowd's divided on The Predator, the rock 'em-sock'em splatterfest that finally answers the question, "What would a Shane Black Predator movie be like?" Turns out, a Shane Black Predator movie is pretty much what you'd expect: funny, problematic, violent, and - especially in its third act - pretty damn messy.
The messiness of that third act was probably my biggest quibble with the film. There's too much choppy editing, too much wonky CGI (particularly in the sequence wherein Boyd Holbrook's Quinn McKenna fights his way onto an airborne Predator ship), too much wheel-spinning, and the film's final scene feels tacked-on and underwhelming. This goes double if you've read Shane Black and Fred Dekker's The Predator screenplay, which features an entirely different (and way more exciting!) final beat.
In the film, the very last scene finds Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) learning that a rogue Predator has gifted humanity with a "Predator killer", which turns out to be a suit of Iron Man-esque super-armor (remember that overly-busy Shredder design from 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Well, it's like that, only it's also a Predator). Obviously, the intention here was to set up a sequel, one wherein McKenna would use this eyesore of an exoskeleton to protect the world against a new wave of Predator attacks. Eh, well, alright!
In Dekker and Black's original screenplay, however, this scene isn't there. Instead, McKenna, his son, Rory (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."
Cut to black.
It's easy to imagine fans going absolutely apeshit upon the Dutch reveal. The thought of Schwarzenegger returning for a sequel - which was clearly what this scene was setting up - would've sent them out of the theater dying to see what would happen next. It's a great ending, undeniably better than the one we got, so...what happened?
Well, a look at ye olde BMD archives makes answering that question very easy: back in April of last year, we learned that Schwarzenegger was approached about appearing in the film, read the script, didn't like it, and opted not to do it. Here's exactly what he said at the time:
"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."
Whatever other misgivings Schwarzenegger had about Dekker and Black's script are unknown, but mentioning he'd be interested in a "more significant role" kinda spells out the issue here, don't you think? The Austrian Oak wanted a bigger role, not a cameo, and presumably didn't have the patience or inclination to wait for the next Predator movie to make that happen. Kind of a bummer, to be sure, but let's be frank: Schwarzenegger ain't getting any younger. One can imagine him wanting to get the job done sooner rather than later.
What do you think, though? Would you have preferred this ending? What'd you think of the ending we got? Think there's any chance we'll see a sequel to Shane Black's film? What'd you think of the film in general? Sound off in the comments below, and stay tuned for more on the Predator franchise as further updates become available.
This article is part of B.M.D. Guide To: THE PREDATOR