Why Doesn’t The Predator in Prey Have a Shoulder Cannon?

Why Doesn't The Predator In Prey Have A Shoulder Cannon

The newest addition to the Predator franchise, Prey, took us back hundreds of years to the time when Predators first came to Earth and encountered Native Americans, realizing that humans are the toughest prey to hunt on the planet. While there are obvious similarities with the rest of the franchise, fans wonder, why doesn’t the Predator in Prey have the iconic shoulder cannon?

According to the director, Dan Trachtenberg, he believed that giving the Predator the signature shoulder cannon would give them too big of an advantage against the warriors of the Comanche Nation, who had less advanced technology, so he decided to remove it.

There are a few theories on how that decision fits in the Predator universe and lore so far. One is that the shoulder cannon, aka the Plasmacaster, is a technology the Yautja picked up at some point after the events in Prey. The other is that the Predator in Prey saw no honor in defeating its prey so easily, choosing not to use the Plasmacaster. Let’s see what holds up better.

Why Does The Predator In Prey Not Have A Shoulder Cannon?

The Predator’s shoulder cannon, aka Plasmacaster, is one of the most iconic pieces of equipment the original Predator used. It’s a high-tech gadget with a three-point laser aim system attached to the Predator’s bio mask for easy control. 

The weapon is highly advanced and allows the Yautja to hunt and defeat even the toughest prey. So, why doesn’t the Predator in Prey have a shoulder cannon while battling the Comanche Nation? Well, it seems that the answer lies in the question – he battled the Comanche Nation.

According to an Empire interview with the movie’s director, Dan Trachtenberg, he wanted to get rid of the shoulder cannon because it was simply too advanced for the Comanche to have any answer for it. It would be too easy for the Predator to defeat them with it:

“The primary thing that I wanted to remove was the plasma caster. Just because it just felt like such an instant win button. I wanted to ensure that the fight could be as exciting as possible without stripping it of its advantages. He doesn’t have all the tools that he has in the newer movies. But he does have awesome new gadgets for people to see.”

And that actually makes a lot of sense, seeing how the Yautja operate. Their society is based on hierarchy, which is based on honor and achievements. Seeing that Prey is set 300 years in the past, the Predator here fights the members – well, a member – of the Comanche Nation.

The young warrior going against the Predator, Naru, is a highly-skilled, excellent warrior. However, their technology was sparse compared to what the alien species had in the modern-day Predator movies. So, the Predator likely chose not to use all of his gadgets so as to make the hunt more honorable and difficult.

Did Predators Already Have The Plasmacaster Technology In Prey?

In all honesty, it’s not quite clear if the Yautja already had the Plasmacaster technology by the time Prey took place or not. As I said, the Predator might’ve chosen not to use it to make the hunt more difficult – or they didn’t even have it yet.

That would explain the more tribal design of the alien itself. Compared to the highly-advanced, metallic armor the previous Predators had, the one in Prey uses a mask made out of bone, a shield, darts, etc., making him somewhat closer to the Comanche Nation’s tech and weapons.

RELATED: Why Does The Predator Look Different in Prey? Explained

In another interview, Trachtenberg broke down the trailer for Prey and revealed he harnessed a lot of design inspiration from the globally-popular video game God of War:

“I teased a while ago that I took inspiration from the latest God of War video game, and those two things are in the trailer. One is his shield that you see briefly. And the other is not a Predator gadget, but just the way that Nadu wields her axe, she invents something very cool for that Tomahawk. 

And that comes from a mechanic in that video game. I think the shield is something super cool. There’s a couple things that are the same, but even those things function slightly differently.”

However, he then added:

“I think our Predator in my mind, not only does he exist, you know, 300 years before, but I think in sci-fi movie terms, time moves very slowly. If the way that Star Wars functions or even Star Trek, you know, it’s like 300 years. Ships aren’t suddenly like so different. 

But I think this guy’s perhaps from a different hemisphere of the planet and a little bit of a different breed. So even his look is a little new, it’s familiar, but new. So I’m excited for people, even for diehard fans, to really see something they hadn’t seen before.”

That opens up another theory – that’s more likely to be true – about why the Predator in Prey doesn’t have a shoulder cannon.

How Did Predators Get Their Shoulder Cannons?

Why Doesn't The Predator in Prey Have a Shoulder Cannon?

So, the first theory, as I said, is that the Predator already had the Plasmacaster technology but chose not to use it. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if the Yautja obtained the technology after the events of Prey?

As Trachtenberg suggested, the Yautja have been traveling the galaxy for centuries, finding planets and prey worthy of hunting and collecting as trophies. So, what if, in the 300 years between the events of Prey, and the first Predator movie, the Yautja simply found the Plasmacaster technology on another planet and stole it?

It is possible that the technology was used against them. And, seeing that it works better than their “smart darts” used in Prey, the Yautja stole the Plasmacaster technology, and modified it to work better with their high-tech gadgets and masks.

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

That would explain the more obscure design of the Predator in Prey and reiterate the fact that he didn’t simply choose not to use his most powerful weapon, allowing himself to get killed – he simply didn’t have a shoulder cannon yet, because the Yautja haven’t found it yet.

Or, who knows? Maybe they simply developed it on their own in the 300 years between the films? I don’t think that’s the case because it would throw out the director’s quote about “time moving slow” in sci-fi.

You can choose to believe any theory you wish – the fact is, the Predator in Prey didn’t have the shoulder cannon because the director wanted the fight against Native Americans to be more exciting and close.

  • Luka loves psychological thrillers, horrors, and mysteries. However, high fantasy and fiction are his primary interest, especially Tolkien's Middle-earth universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Marvel universe. Amateur filmmaker, screenwriter, cinematography, and trivia enthusiast.