How Is Prey Related to the Original Predator Movies? (& Is It Canon)

How Is Prey Related to the Original Predator Movies? (& Is It Canon)

Released exactly 35 years after the first Predator movie, Prey is Trachtenberg’s fifth installment in the franchise (not including the Alien vs. Predator series ). Serving as a prequel, the movie is set in 1917, with the plot focusing on a Comanche tribe’s bravest warriors. Canonically known as the Yautja, the Predator seen in this film is different than any predator before him. Not only does the “Feral Predator” have several differences, such as different weapons and a more humanoid build, but the film’s director Dan Trachtenberg originally intended to market the film without any reference to the original Predator. This has been enough to spark a question; how exactly is Prey related to the original Predator movie? Is it even canon?

Prey is, indeed, a part of the canon. The story is set approximately 300 years back, and, in a way, it is a prequel to the other movies of the same franchise. The director’s initial intention was to make Prey get back to the roots of the original movie, but instead, he managed to get a completely fresh take on the whole Predator franchise. Nevertheless, the movie is in many ways alluding to the previous moments in the franchise.

If you’re keen on finding out more about the elements that connect Prey to the other movies of the Predator franchise, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re also going to highlight a deeply positive aspect of the movie; the cultural accuracy of the Native American representation, and the women empowerment aspect that the main character channels. Keep on reading to find out more!

How exactly is Prey related to the original Predator movies?

Predator

An alien spacecraft deploys a shuttle to Earth. In the first Predator movie ever, en route, CIA officer Al Dillon discovers three skinned corpses with his team. In Prey, Naru witnesses the arrival of a “thunderbird” in the sky, and soon after chaos ensues (spoiler: more skinned animals). Sounds familiar?

Both of these movies are a part of the Predator franchise, so, naturally, both of them also follow a similar plot; an unsuspecting team eventually faces the horrors of an alien Predator but somehow manages to defeat him.

Although the director of Prey didn’t want the movie to be considered as an origin story, the movie portrays the first meeting between a particular Predator and a human being in a primitive setting. What’s especially interesting is that Prey directly alludes to other movies of the franchise.

For example, at the end of the movie, Naru brings the Predator’s head to her tribe. She also brings back a pistol from one of the French fur traders that previously trapped her. We can see that there is something inscribed on the gun; “Raphael Adolini, 1715“.

Raphael Adolini gun

According to fans on Reddit, Adolini was a character in a Dark Horse short story named “Predator 1718“. The story portrayed a pirate who joined forces with the Predators to kill the men who betrayed him for treasure. “Okay, but what does this have to do with other Predator movies?!“, you may ask.

Well, it seems like the same pistol is found in the scene at the end of Predator 2 (1980), where Lieutenant Michael R. Harrigan also managed to defeat a Predator. What’s even better, a group of other Predators gave him that exact gun as a trophy for killing their comrade. All of this might be a tad confusing, especially keeping in mind that Prey is a kind of a prequel (after all, how did the pistol even get into the hand of the Predator?!).

Raphael Adolini Gun

While Prey seems to ignore the Dark Horse short story as a canon on its own, the movie shines a light on the Predator vs. Humans relationship; it seems like the fight has been going on for centuries, implying there is more to come. And, based on everything mentioned, we can guess whether more Predators attack the Comanche Nation, reclaiming the gun as a trophy.

The difference of Prey – cultural accuracy, Native American representation, and female empowerment

Native American Female Prey

For a while, it has been a general thought that there wouldn’t ever be a match to the original Predator movie. Surprisingly, Prey is currently the highest-rated movie the franchise has ever seen! What’s more, it is deemed highly innovative and received mainly positive reviews.

Not only is this version of the Predator so much more “feral and animalistic”, but this movie might be the first one of the franchise to appropriately portray Indigenous roles.

Even though Dan Trachtenberg explained that his goal for the movie was to get back to the roots of the franchise, he managed to have a refreshing take on the Predator franchise.

For the first time since the Alien vs. Predator movies, Prey managed to incorporate a leading female role. Naru, on whom the plot is centered, is also a part of the Comanche tribe, and, thanks to the movie’s Comanche producer and Sioux lead, the movie’s cultural accuracy is impeccable.

Native American male from prey

The way Hollywood has depicted Indigenous people has not always been right, in one way or another. But, from the earth pigments used to make the tribe’s signature black, white, and red colors, to the way they cured meat – Prey producers and directors made sure to be historically and culturally accurate. For the first time in the franchise, the alien attacks are kind off pushed aside, revealing a wider cultural context to the public. All of this means a lot for Indigenous people.

“This film, when it comes to authenticity and representation, sets the bar – and it shifts a little bit against the paradigm that Hollywood has created for native people.”

-Jhane Myers
RELATED: ‘Prey’ Ending, Explained: How Does The Comanche Fight Against The Predator in Prey?

All of this resulted in a gorry, but also a historical sci-fi action movie. As brutal as it is, it is also saturated with emotionally deep stories about a Comanche woman fighting for survival with the help of her community. In a way, the whole movie may be seen as an allegory of Indigenous people fighting for authenticity and visibility. And, like it or not, the Prey movie paved the way for more sequels to come. Cheers to moving forward from eurocentrism in Hollywood!

  • Nina is just another student of Cultural Studies that's slowly embracing postmodern popular culture. Her biggest interest lies in the very beginning of cinema.