Rafael Adolini, a name we first saw engraved on a centuries old flintlock pistol, immediately ignited the imaginations of Predator fans. A year was coupled with Adolini's name: 1715, revealing that the Predators had been traveling to earth to hunt for at least hundreds of years, and possibly quite longer. The pistol was a gift from the elder of the Lost Tribe, known as Greyback, given to Lt. Mike Harrigan as a trophy after he defeated one of their own clanmates, the City Hunter.
The Elder Predator, or ‘Greyback’ examines his flintlock pistol before tossing it to LAPD Lt. Mike Harrigan
But who was Rafael Adolini? And how did this weapon originally come into the possession of Greyback before he ultimately parted with it? Five years after the weapon first appeared in Predator 2, we'd get our first exploration into this. 'Predator: 1718,' by writer Henry Gilroy and artist Igor Kordey, part of Dark Horse Comics 'A Decade of Dark Horse #1,' would debut in 1996.
This short comic told the story of Raphael's last battle, fending off a mutiny of his crew after their ambitions crossed a moral line in the sand. In the comic, Adolini was a Spanish pirate captain, who Greyback, known in this comic as the 'Golden Angel,' had been tracking as potential prey. But after the mutineers attacked, Greyback would enter the fray and fight along side Raphael. We've previously put together an in-depth piece of the events of this comic, as well as the thoughts behind the inclusion of the flintlock in Predator 2, which you can check out here.
Something we later learned after putting together our original article about Raphael Adolini’s flintlock pistol was that Peter Briggs – yes, the original Alien vs. Predator screenwriter Peter Briggs – had actually pitched a third Predator film to producer Joel Silver. Talking to Alien vs. Predator Galaxy on our 130th episode, doing his best to remember the meeting from 20 years prior, Peter Briggs told us that:
“I basically had a situation where it was the Spanish Main and there were buccaneers and Royal Navy ships. And this Predator had been involved watching a conflict from up in the yard arm of a pitched battle at sea, and watching these two guys go at each other.
The Predator basically turned up in London, and started killing off this captain's crew to goad him into having a fight with the other guy. And the other guy turns up – the two of them are in France together – and they realise they're being manipulated. So it's these two guys who are being manipulated. It's totally a period film. I hadn't really thought a great deal of it out, and it was very wild and wooly but that's basically the story.”
Obviously this never came to be, but it’s very interesting to know that screenwriters had attempted to entice 20th Century Fox into exploring Raphael Adolini and his flintlock in a theatrical setting much earlier than the 2020s.
In 2022, as we anticipated the upcoming fifth Predator film ‘Prey,’ the time period of the 1700’s had many fans expecting the flintlock pistol to make an appearance, and indeed it did, as did Raphael Adolini himself. The film has its own take on Raphael, which completely disregards the character from the comic.
In this interpretation he’s Italian and traveling with a French fur trapper party. A demure translator, Raphael is told by the group’s cigar-smoking leader, known as ‘Big Beard’, to question Naru who was recently captured by the group and held in a wooden cage.
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