How to Watch the 'Predator' Movies in Order

“Prey” is here.

The latest installment in the “Predator” franchise follows a young female Comanche warrior (Amber Midthunder) who runs after our favorite alien hunter in 1717, 300 years before the original film takes place. But it harkens back to the original film’s spirit of pitting a single soldier (what was once Arnold Schwarzenegger is now Midthunder) in an element battle to the death.

But what is the ultimate outcome of the conflict?

We break down who survives (and what is left of them).

Major spoilers for “Prey” follow.

back to 1997

Before we jump into the specifics of “Prey,” we have to briefly talk about a moment from one of the earlier movies in the franchise.

At the end of “Predator 2,” released way back in 1990, LA cop Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) mortally wounds the predator that has come to futuristic, gang-riddled 1997 Los Angeles. (Also a big part of futuristic 1997 Los Angeles? Voodoo!) Before the predator can initiate his self-destruction device, Glover’s Harrigan disarms him (literally) and follows the creature into the predator’s ship, which is lined with skulls from previous hunts ( including the Xenomorph from the “Alien” franchise, which at the time was the coolest Easter egg ever).

And what’s more, there are other Predators in the ship too! But instead of being utterly screwed, the predators seem to honor him, giving him an antique pistol marked “Raphael Adolini 1715.” This is Harrigan’s trophy. A sign that he had vanquished a nearly impossible foe. And he got it from a race of killer aliens.

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The gun also symbolized something truly tantalizing: that the predators have been visiting earth for a very, very long time. (1715 is about 300 years before the events of the first “Predator.”) Have the creatures been coming here that long? And is it for the same reason, to pinpoint the greatest warrior on the planet? It seems that way.

Mud Fight

“Prey” is, first and foremost, a return to the roots of the “Predator” franchise. After years of weird deviations and pointless spin-offs, this is a very good thing. And nowhere is that commitment to the essence of the series stronger than in the final showdown between young warrior Naru and Predator.

She uses the topography of the land and her knowledge of it to her advantage, trapping the predator in a quicksand-y mud pit and ultimately using his technology against him to deliver the final kill.

But we must once again rewind, to a big set piece earlier in the film, where a group of French fur traders try and exterminate the predator (they fail miserably, as you can imagine). One of the wounded fur traders, who actually speaks Comanche, receives aid from Naru, who helps bandage his badly damaged leg from him. In return he hands over a pistol to her. What does the pistol read? You guessed it: “Raphael Adolini 1715.”

Naru has the gun at the end of the movie, her own trophy of sorts for surviving the violent gauntlet of the encounter with the predator. So how does the predator get it back?

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Towards the end of the end credits, in pictographs, we see the events of the movie. With one new wrinkle: it seems that following the events of the film, the predators ship return to the Comanche valley. This, we’re guessing, is when they get the pistol back. (We are currently doing a prayer circle to try and will a sequel into existence because how cool would it be to see that?) In the world of the predator (and the “Predator” franchise), everything comes back around.

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Story Behind the Gun

But where did the idea for this pistol come from? We asked director Dan Trachtenberg to explain.

“That’s what allowed unlocked for me, the very concept of the movie and certainly the date of the movie was like, Oh yeah, right,” Trachtenberg said. “That’s when this can be set in a date that allowed for that gun to be in this movie in some form. It evolved as we wrote the script just to exactly where it would fail.”

As it turns out, the gun was intrinsic to the alchemy of “Prey,” what Trachtenberg describes as “balancing nostalgia with freshness.” Trachtenberg continued: “I love that it’s new and that it brings some adventure and swashbuckling to it.”

“Prey” is now streaming on Hulu.

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