Prey is the first film in the Predator franchise not to include the series’ title and the film’s director Dan Trachtenberg has explained how Star Wars was the unlikely inspiration behind that decision.
Prey takes a step back from previous entries in the Predator franchise, setting itself apart by moving the action 300 years into the past. The film plays out in the precolonial Comanche nation and sees a primitive Predator hunting animals and humans alike.
Amber Midthunder stars as Naru, who undertakes a rite of passage to become a hunter, requiring her to hunt that which hunts her. When she makes the Predator her target, this raises the question of which of them is the hunter and which is the prey.
Why ‘Prey’ Dropped The Word ‘Predator’
Prey director Dan Trachtenberg recently reflected on how he arrived at the film’s title, choosing not to include the typical Predator branding.
Trachtenberg revealed that the decision came about as a result of wanting to distinguish prey from The Predator, which was in production at the time he was pitching Prey to 20th Century Studios. Ultimately, he revealed, the change of style for the title was inspired by Disney’s recent approach to the Star Wars franchise.
Just as, under Disney, Lucasfilm had been releasing new entries in Star Wars‘ Skywalker Saga – Episodes VII, VIII and IX – alongside various spinoffs, Dan Trachtenberg reasoned Prey could be seen as just such a spinoff of the Predator franchise.
Talking about his approach to the title and his pitch to 20th Century Studios during the recent Prey press conference, Trachtenberg said:
“I emailed the pitch of this to an executive at 20th Century. And it was in that initial pitch, I think, largely because I knew they were deep into either prep or production on the last Predator movie. And this felt like too good of an idea to hold on to. And I felt like the way in would be to, if I could pitch them that they function like Star Wars was at the time, where they had the main trilogy and then they had these other offshoots.
“And then I thought, Prey has the exact same double meaning that Predator does. So the title can function just like Predator, while it’s still being its own title, so that this movie could feel like its own movie. Which has sort of always been the drive for me in thinking about remakes or adaptations or sequels… really hoping that you can make a movie that is a great movie on its own. And then when you include the IP and all the links of franchise in it, it just makes it even better. That it’s not solely reliant on being that IP to be a good movie. And that’s what I was hoping this could be.”
Given the film’s hunter-becomes-the-hunted narrative, Prey certainly fits as a title that is open to interpretation, just as Trachtenberg has said. The parallel he draws to Star Wars is also compelling, given that, like much external Star Wars media, Prey expands the Predator timeline and explores an era that has not been touched upon by the franchise before.
Here is the synopsis for Prey:
Set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, “Prey” is the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people. The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg from a script written by Patrick Aison, Prey stars Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, and Julian Black Antelope.
Prey will stream exclusively on Hulu on August 5, 2022. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the upcoming film and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.