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[Exclusive] Dan Trachtenberg Talks Biggest Change In Prey From Pitch To Release!

We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Dan Trachtenberg, the director of the fantastic Prey, for the next episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast. We discussed a lot about the creative process behind the film, and naturally we had to ask about deleted scenes and the biggest narrative changes that the film went through!

Dan revealed to us that while Prey didn’t undergo many significant changes to the plot, a major change took place between when he first pitched the film to 20th Century Fox and when Patrick Aison sat down to write the script.

The biggest change I will admit to you guys came from my pitch to the very first draft of the script, that I pitched them something and then in talking it over with Patrick when we first met, I realized, “oh, no,”. The pitch that I wrote to them was that it would be a younger Predator, a younger Yautja, and Naru and it would team up against Fur Trappers.

And I quickly realized, I think, even before I met Patrick, I was like, “wait, before we get started”, that the fun of the movie is David versus Goliath. By the way, I’m sure in that there would have been it’s the antagonist that then becomes the protagonist or whatever I was thinking of. I didn’t want to make it weaker. And that carries through even to the final iteration in the final fight…in the final fight in the 87 movie, in the original movie, the Predator disarms itself and evens the playing field for Arnold, which certainly does good in establishing the code of it, but it also gives Arnold fighting chance.

And I was really anxious to take these two adversaries and if we’re going to see someone defeat it, can she level the playing field for herself? Because it’s all an exercise. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like Naru more than I feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger in life.

Hicks: It’s one of the things I said in my review as well. Naru’s journey is something everybody surely must have identified with at some point, this desire to prove yourself, to flip the bird to whoever is telling you, “no, you can’t do it.” It’s just pure and universal identifiability.

Yes, absolutely. And so making something like this is like an exercise in “could I do it?” And life doesn’t often level the playing field for so I just thought that was the exciting thing, was taking on this premise. So that’s when child went away and team up went away and was like, “no, the fun is, can she do it?”

Dan would also clarify that there was never a draft written where a team-up took place, and that though no major narrative changes took place, the film’s flow did undergo a significant change during the editing process. Be sure to check back in with Alien vs. Predator Galaxy on the 8th of October at 5pm GMT for the release of the full episode!

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Comments: 20
  1. skhellter
    i still like the original AVP comic (thicker than Blood is also really good)
    and the team up is good in that.

    ultimately all these ideas depend on execution.
    I'm sure Dan would've executed it well.
    Now that he got his David vs Goliath story out of his system, i'm sure there are still many ideas he'd like to explore if he chooses to return to the series.
  2. SuperiorIronman
    I don't know, Thicker than Blood kind of worked for me. But I wish they had more time to get into the Predator's head for that. Though I kind of wish we got more of the family dynamic in general. Makes me wish Marvel got them to do an expanded edition of that.
  3. OpenMaw
    Quote from: Mr.Turok on Oct 01, 2022, 09:06:28 PM
    Quote from: OpenMaw on Oct 01, 2022, 08:51:26 PMEarn their respect? Save their life?
    Why when he can just kill her instead? AVP made sense since it's for survival's sake but Feral has no real opposition in this hunt/time period. 

    Granted. I wasn't really giving my support to the idea, so much as I was offering suggestions as to how it could end up happening.

    Feral could have gotten in over his head with the trappers and Naru somehow saves him, and gets some respect. I don't know.

    Quote from: BigDaddyJohn on Oct 01, 2022, 10:09:57 PMNah I always disliked the concept itself, I probably always will.

    It worked okay in the original AVP comic, and at the time that was a unique idea. It has not worked for me since then.

    Predators, thankfully, did not have a team up. It just had a "Yeah, you cut me down. Now get out of here." Moment, which worked.

    It the AVP movie it just came off as incredibly hokey. Everyone in the theater laughed.
  4. BlueMarsalis79
    Under no circumstances should Predators and humans ever team up, it is an instant ticket to camp in tone terms, and reduces how Alien it feels which in the final film the mask without any obvious eyes very much evokes. 
  5. SuperiorIronman
    I don't know where a team-up like 1718 would've fit into the final movie other than it being an alternate version of Naru meeting Feral. Like instead of the bear she meets the trappers and they catch up to her later. But the bear is the better choice since it does everything it needs to communicate the shock of all that to Naru. It also builds up for the fight scene Feral will have later with the trappers when Naru is made bait. So holding onto that makes that sequence a little more special. 

    It's a neat idea for them to "save" a target, but I think that requires a different script. You could even save that for any Prey sequel like she misunderstands Greyback's intentions if he comes off different to Feral. Or that if Greyback wants her, he'd go out of his way to rescue her just so he can have the kill for himself. There's some cool character stuff you can do with that but I do think it's for the best that's cut.
  6. 426Buddy
    Personally I'm very glad they changed the team up aspect.

    Wait didn't folk prefer the Predator/Pirate team up? Maybe the Predator/Comanche girl teamup would have been a good middle ground for them.  ;D
  7. Mr.Turok
    I know we shouldn't care about the opinions about the naysayers who said feminist this and Predator/Naru teamup to fight against the patriarchy that, but goddamm this could have feed into their nonsense and ruin the film. Glad we dodge a bullet here.
  8. OmegaZilla
    Quote from: SiL on Sep 30, 2022, 11:44:18 AMI saw it as the 80s cliche of the villain throwing down his weapon to savour killing the hero with his bare hands.

    Mostly because he literally throws down his weapon and starts beating the shit out of him with his bare hands.

    Not only does it feel like Commando, the beat down is even edited in a similar fashion.
    Precisement. Predator and Predator 2 satirize (in a manner of speaking) contemporary action movies, so this is what's going on in the scene.
  9. SiL
    I saw it as the 80s cliche of the villain throwing down his weapon to savour killing the hero with his bare hands.

    Mostly because he literally throws down his weapon and starts beating the shit out of him with his bare hands.

    Not only does it feel like Commando, the beat down is even edited in a similar fashion.
  10. The Necronoir
    I agree that the intention on JH's probably wasn't to 'level the playing field', even if that's what it did to an extent. As you say, it seemed more a matter of drawing out what seemed to be the inevitability of its victory, almost sadistically rubbing Dutch's face in his looming demise.

    That's probably clearest in the moment before Dutch drops the log on its head, where it chooses to loom over him for a while when it might have easily dispatched him many times over by that point. It all reflects the hubris they demonstrate as a species, which so often results in their downfall.
  11. OpenMaw
    Quote from: SiL on Sep 30, 2022, 09:04:44 AMI'm glad he ditched the idea, but also, I maintain there's nothing "levelling the playing field" about what Jungle Hunter did :P

    I've been watching a lot of younger people reacting to Alien and Predator for the first time on Youtube. It's very interesting to watch people with no real knowledge or experience with these characters be absolutely confused by JH's behavior in that scene. At least, initially.

    It's... I don't think it's fair to say that wasn't what Jungle Hunter was thinking to a certain extent. He takes away his supreme advantage. Obviously Dutch has no weapons by that point. So in the strictest sense, he is "leveling the playing field" by taking off his ranged weapon.

    ...But, I've always read it more like... This little monkey gets a little respect... I'm going to savor this. Which is reinforced by the way he slowly stalks after Dutch when he's crawling away. Drawing out those final moments for as long as possible.

    I'm glad that they didn't go with the team up. I will say, though, I think that explains why some of the stuff with the trappers seems just a smidge "off." Not anything big, but something did seem... a little strange there.
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