The Feral Predator appears in the 2022 film Prey, directed by Dan Trachtenberg. He was designed by Amalgamated Dynamics and was portrayed by 6’9″ Dane DiLiegro.
Feral is slimmer and more primitive-looking than previous Predators seen before with thinner dreadlocks. The most distinguishing feature of the Feral Predator is the unusual mask design which is made entirely out of a skull of an alien creature he had previously hunted. He then integrated his technology into it such as the targeting laser and heat vision to help him spot prey. The mask doesn’t cover his entire face as his lower mandibles are still visible.
Without his mask, Feral’s face looked quite different to the previous Predators we’ve seen in the future. He still had mandibles but had a smaller head, bigger eyes and a wider eyespace and generally looked more primal and animalistic.
September 1719 – The Northern Great Plains
In 1719, in the Northern Great Plains, a spaceship drops off the Feral Predator to hunt. Meanwhile, a young Comanche woman called Naru has dreams of becoming a great hunter like her brother Taabe. The Predator begins his hunt by taking trophies of various aggressive creatures he encounters.
He first kills a snake. After failing to kill a mountain lion the night before, Naru sneaks out of her camp the next day with her dog Sarii so she could hunt. The Feral Predator witnesses a wolf chase a rabbit. He knocks the wolf away. The wolf bites the Predator on the leg but kicks it away. As the wolf pounces towards Feral, he slices the wolf in the stomach with his wrist blades, causing its insides to fall out, killing it and he takes its skull as a trophy.
The next day, Feral can be seen in a cave using a device to dissolve all the skin and muscle on the skull, right to its bone. He then hears Sarii barking in the woods so he goes to investigate.
Naru comes across a field of skinned buffalo and finds a cigar. She pays her respects to the dead buffalo and leaves. The Predator soon visits the same place and examines the cigar. Naru spots a grizzly bear by the river and tries to kill it but the bear is relentless in its pursuit of her. She swims underwater and emerges in a beaver dam. As the bear tries to claw its way to her, it backs off realising that something else is standing nearby – the Feral Predator. The cloaked Predator and bear fight and the bear manages to significantly injure the Predator.
The bear believes it has killed the Predator and begins to wonder off. The Feral Predator then gets back up. The bear then charges at the Predator but Feral punches it in the head, killing it. The Predator holds the bear up in triumph and blood pours onto the cloaked Predator. The Predator watches Naru swim down the river.
Naru is caught by a group of Comanche warriors who were sent out to bring her back. The Predator watches as one of the warriors fights with her and ties her up. As the warriors prepare to leave, they hear something in the bushes. They realise it’s just possums and kill one. One of warriors goes to retrieve it and all of a sudden, the Predator’s targeting laser appears on him and the lasers separate. The Predator fires his Bolt Gun which homes in on the laser targets and kills the Comanche warrior. The others attack the Predator but the Feral Predator ends up killing all of them. Naru cuts herself free and retrieves her tomahawk and escapes into a tall field of grass.
Another Comanche warrior, Itsee, stops her and they hide in the grass as he waits to ambush the Predator. As the Comanche warrior draws back his bow, the Predator fires at Itsee and they both escape. The Predator pursues Itsee and kills him while Naru gets her foot caught in a bear trap. As the Predator finds her, he sees she is not a threat and leaves her as the French Trappers find her.
It appears the French Trappers have also caught Taabe and try to get answers from Naru. The French Trappers have burnt out the forest and made a trap for the Predator. They tie both Naru and Taabe to a tree in order to lure out the Feral Predator. The Predator kills some of the French Trappers watching them while one of them escapes. He throws his spear at one man, killing him. He ventures further into the burnt out forest and realises the falling ash is disrupting his cloak. The Predator steps on a hidden bear trap and the French Trappers emerge from the ground and try to tie him down.
This causes the Feral Predator to go into a rage and he kills most of the French Trappers using a wide range of methods. A few he kills with his Wrist Blades, while he uses his Net Gun on another. He uses the Cut Clamp to free himself from the bear trap and throws the bear trap at another man. As the French Trappers fire at the Predator, he uses his shield to defend himself. Feral goes on a rampage and kills more men with his Wrist Blades. He throws a Cut Clamp at a man called Raphael Adolini which severs his leg.
Feral kills another man with his own hatchet while another man, he decapitates him with his shield. As another man fires his gun at Feral, it ricochets and hits him instead. The rest of the French Trappers fire at the Predator and he activates his shield again. Faced with numerous adversaries, he activates his wrist gauntlet and sets a timer.
Feral escapes the area using the trees while the French Trappers see the Predator’s wrist gauntlet on the ground counting down. When it reaches zero, three mines fly outwards and explode, killing most of the French Trappers. Naru and Taabe escape the forest while Naru go the French Trappers’ camp to rescue Sarii. Naru kills all the Trappers there. Feral is still in the woods using his medi-kit to heal his wounds from the previous battle.
Naru discovers a badly injured Raphael Adolini. He teaches her how to use the flintlock pistol in exchange for medicine. Naru gives him some herbs which lowers his body temperature. The Feral Predator reaches the camp and Naru hides. She realises the Predator can’t see Adolini because his body temperature is too low. Feral steps on Adolini by accident and kills him.
Sarii comes into the camp and the Predator is about to kill it when Taabe comes into the camp riding a horse to rescue Naru. He knocks his mask off and they manage to injure the Predator before it uses its cloak to disappear. It sneaks up on Taabe and stabs him in the back. As the Predator is about to kill Naru, Taabe stabs the Predator in the leg with the Wolf trophy, which allows Naru to escape into the woods.
By the river, Naru spots the French trapper who tortured Taabe, collecting water. She knocks him out and cuts off his leg and gives him an unloaded gun. She eats the herbs to hide her heat signature. The French trapper regains consciousness which draws out the Predator. The Predator kills the French trapper and Naru, hiding in plain sight, shoots the Feral Predator in the head from behind which causes his mask to fall off. Naru retrieves the mask and disappears into the woods to prepare for the final battle with the Feral Predator.
After learning the Predator’s abilities and weapons, Naru lures the Predator to the mud pit she fell into earlier. Naru jumps from a tree onto him and injures the Predator with her tomahawk. As the Predator activates his shield, Naru pushes it back towards him which severs his arm. Naru falls between rocks and the Predator tries to slice Naru with the shield but the rocks prevent it. Naru tears off a mandible and stabs him with it. This allows her time to flee. Sarii brings Naru the tomahawk and she slices at Feral’s legs. She jumps on his back and ties it around his neck and pulls him into the mud pit.
The Predator emerges and uses his Bolt Gun. Before the battle, Naru had placed the Predator’s mask in a specific spot so that the targeting laser would redirect the bolts from his Bolt Gun. The bolt is soon redirected. Just as the Predator realises what’s happened, the bolt hits him in the head, killing him. Naru severs his head and paints her face with its glowing green blood and she takes his head back to her camp.
Weapons & Equipment
- Bio Mask
- Wrist Blades
- Cloaking Device
- Disintegrator Gas
- Bolt Gun
- Net Device
- Retractable Spear
- Cut Clamp
- Remote Mines
The Feral Predator features many of the same weapons and equipment as other Predators but with some differences and Feral does feature some new tools too. Feral’s mask is quite different and appears to be made out of the bones of a creature he has killed. The Predator’s cloak seems to be less advanced overall but advanced in other areas. Firstly, it has a red shimmering effect instead of blue when the cloak is interrupted.
Whenever the Predator was in melee combat or if projectiles hit him, the cloak seemed to always malfunction and give away the Predator’s location. One of the few advantages of this cloak is that water didn’t seem to directly interfere with its functionality unlike other Predators’ cloaks.
Absent is the shoulder cannon but in its place is a Bolt Gun. The Predator can use his targeting laser on his mask to independently target three different points. He can then fire darts from his wrist gauntlet which after a few seconds, lock on to the laser target. The Predator has a Net Device which he can throw and it seems to be stronger then the future Net Guns in future films. It completely disintegrated one of the French Trappers as well as a tree log. Feral also possesses a retractable spear weapon which is used throughout the hunt. The Spear can also be split in two and can be used as a dual-wielded weapon.
Feral didn’t possess a conventional self-destruct mechanism on his gauntlet like other Predators but he did use something similar. When faced with numerous enemies in the woods, he activated his gauntlet, set a countdown timer and left it behind while he escaped the woods. When the counter reached zero, the gauntlet opened and three remote mines flew up and outwards, before causing three small explosions, killing all the French Trappers.
Feral Predator also uses a Cut Clamp weapon – a small metallic object that unrolls and can cut through anything. Feral uses it against Raphael Adolini which slices his leg off. Naru later uses it to slice the leg off of another French trapper. A new piece of equipment that Feral uses is a shield that emerges from his gauntlet. He uses it to defend himself against bullets and projectiles throughout the hunt. It can also be used as a powerful offensive weapon. It was seen to decapitate a French trapper and slice straight through a tree. Feral also accidently sliced his arm off with it in the final battle with Naru.
Personality & Traits
The Feral Predator was a young but skilled warrior. Like previous Predators, Feral still followed the Honor Code and would not attack unarmed enemies or non aggressive animals. Feral was adept at using the trees to quickly move around just like Jungle Hunter. Feral completely lost his temper and went into a rage when he stood on a bear trap and the French Trappers tried to capture him. He went on to use all of his weapons at his disposal to quickly slaughter most of the French Trappers. He eventually used three Remote Mines to dispatch the rest.
Feral was ultimately over-confident and made some mistakes with the use of his Bolt Gun which eventually cost him his life. In the fight with Taabe, he still fired his Bolt Gun three times despite losing his mask and the auto-targeting directed them to a tree trunk. In the final battle with Naru, she stole his mask and positioned it so the darts would hit him when he inevitably fired his Bolt Gun. It could be argued that Feral knew that the bolts would be redirected but given the auto-targeting doesn’t take affect until after a few seconds, he expected the bolts to kill his enemies before that happened.
The Feral Predator was designed by Amalgamated Dynamics (A.D.I.) and was portrayed by 6’9″ Dane DiLiegro while Kyle Strauts also stood in while Dane was unavailable. Trachtenberg initially wanted the Predator to elicit more horror. So Alec Gillis and his team began thinking that this could have been the origins of a demonic spirit in the eyes of the Native people, like the Wendigo. They experimented with a Neanderthal-style design of the Predator which proved to be too clunky and inelegant.
Trachtenberg always thought the original Predator design wasn’t anatomically correct as its head was so big to accommodate the actor inside. He also wanted the thinnest Predator possible but they experimented with putting a man in a leotard with printed Predator flesh. While he looked very skinny, it just didn’t look right for a Predator and the idea was abandoned.
A.D.I. started with about 20 different Predator concepts before Trachtenberg whittled them down to five. Some initial concept designs were done by Farzad Varahramyan who made some eerie designs of the Predator that elicit the horror that Trachtenberg was looking for. It was Trachtenberg who suggested having Feral’s mask made out of bone. One of Farzad’s designs had Feral’s mask design inspired by a Drip Metal Mask concept whereby the Predators melted their metal and dripped it over head shaped formers, and built up their masks in metallic layers. This design also had small metal bits of armour stitched or branded into the Predator’s skin.
Other concept art was done by Michael V. Eppinette. He created a 3D digital sculpture over a scan of Dane DiLiegro’s head. Trachtenberg made it clear he didn’t want a giant head on Feral. Instead, he wanted it to be smaller with an elongated muscular neck. Some initial sketches had the mandibles opening up much wider. Some early iterations of the mask had red lighting coming through the cracks of the mask. A.D.I. actually built each mask with functional red LEDs but they ended up not being used in the film.
Creating Feral’s Head
The Predator’s face was changed to make it as non-human as possible. A.D.I. were inspired by Jerusalem crickets amongst other creatures and the crew gave it bigger eyes with a wider eye-space.
Compared to previous Predator suits that A.D.I. had made, advancements in 3D sculpting and printing technology helped make the process more efficient. You could easily print the head a little bigger or a little smaller and Dave Penikas, the animatronics engineer, could take a 3D scan of the sculpture with the core in it and work out where the servos would fit around Dane DiLiegro’s head.
After the designs in 3D had been approved, Michael Eppinette’s 3D sculptures were printed, molded and sculptable versions were cast out of clay. A.D.I., led by lead sculptor Joey Orosco, worked on refining the sculptures. The majority of the paintwork was complete by the time the crew travelled to Alberta for shooting. Mike Fields, the makeup artist, added some final paint touches to the head. The head contained many tine radio-controlled servos to manipulate Feral’s facial expressions. Two animatronic ‘hero’ heads were built that had 27 servo motors inside due to the mandibles having many more points of movement. Occasionally, Dane DiLiegro wore a stunt head.
Building the Predator Suit
Due to the pandemic, a lot of the costume creation took place over Zoom, with occasional in-person fittings. Woodruff had his son wear a leotard as he was really skinny. It had all this detailed Predator skin printed on it, and right next to him was Dane wearing his mock-up pieces. That was when they realized the Predator was as much about Dane’s mentality and movement as it was design.
To create the costume, they created a clay sculpture over a body cast of the actor, with a negative mold of that. They run the foam rubber into that and then they seam, patch and paint it until they have a tailored costume for the actor. In some early paint explorations, the Predator suit initially had a blue stripe down its front and back but it was ultimately removed. Some additional items were made such as a loin cloth made out of foam latex, some pouches and a sculpted piece that looked like degraded metal.
One of the more interesting design elements is you can see a bone inlay when he’s using his wrist gauntlet and that reflects the number of trophies that he made into his technology. In total, A.D.I. created six Predator suits and four heads and took them six weeks to create the Predator. Some of the suits were thrown away as they went through production due to sweat but also because the scenes were so physical. Once the suit was worn down, they would use it as a stunt suit.
Inside the Predator Suit
For the actor Dan DiLiegro, he had to lose 25 pounds for the role as the makers wanted a leaner, more dynamic Predator. Dane trained for two months for the part doing parkour and martial arts. He worked a lot on his neck as the Predator’s animatronic head would be on the top of his head. He worked with a company called Iron Neck to help him prepare for it. In addition to the acting, DiLiegro also did the stunts and motion capture for the role.
The process of getting into the Predator suit was a fairly streamlined process. At the start, the suit was tighter but the more he wore it, the more he would sweat which loosened the suit up and easier to get into it. The foam latex just absorbs the sweat so the suit just gets heavier and heavier. His head was in the creature’s neck and he had two holes to looks through in the Predator’s neck. His face was hidden as a result but he still could see about three feet in front of him. A.D.I. had to come up with ways to avoid the Predator looking too long-necked on camera. DiLiegro couldn’t stand upright and he had to throw his shoulders forward. A.D.I. had sculpted the shoulders forward to bring the length of the neck down and disguise it with thinner dreadlocks.
There was a speaker in his ear where Assistant Director Rich Cowan would ask DiLiegro to perform certain actions. It was difficult for DiLiegro to hear anything as one ear was blocked as there were a lot of motors in the Predator head that articulate things like the mandibles. There were 27 servo motors inside the skull and the animatronic head was made by David Penikas as his animatronics crew. The head weighed 4.5lbs without the skin. When the skin and deadlocks were added, it weighed 11lbs. When slime and water spray were added, it weighed a further couple of pounds. Three to four puppeteers operated it via radio control.
Making the Predator Weapons
In terms of weapons, A.D.I. had some designs where the weapons looked more home-made. The idea was the Predator also had primitive weapons that evolved. The crew knew straight away that Feral wasn’t going to have his iconic Shoulder Cannon as it would give him an unfair advantage against the Comanche tribe.
One of the new pieces of equipment is the Shield which was inspired by Kratos from the God of War game series who wields a similar shield. The Predator’s shield is used a defensive and offensive weapon and is made out of lots of wedge-shaped segments that open and close like a fan. A.D.I. felt that it was always a challenge to try and pack everything into the Predator’s wrist gauntlet so they kept the shield very thin. It’s a form of metal alloy that is very thin and mechanical. Jon Miller was responsible for building it.
The Crossbolt weapon was originally going to look a little more primitive and tribal but some of those elements were dropped as A.D.I. didn’t want the film to look like the Predator was on Gilligan’s Island, trying to build things from bamboo. The self-destruct device was dialled down significantly. Trachtenberg didn’t want something that was going to destroy the whole world but still could inflict some serious damage. In the gauntlet, there were three round ports and A.D.I. created three small Flechette Discs and would be animated by the VFX team. They would emerge from the gauntlet and we see a distant shot of them exploding.
In addition to the practical suit, CG was used to enhance the suit but some shots did have a fully CG Predator. The team did build a full 3D Predator and started by using scan data and photography of the animatronic suit built by ADI. They replicated the suit and worked up areas that could be enhanced through articulation of things that are hard to do in practical effects. They worked on the Predator hands and made them a bit thinner and improved their articulation. They also did some detailing work on the face to remove seams. They had CG versions of the Predator for a lot of the shots that featured the suit. This was done to support augmentations like removing seams, blood tracking and scars on the Predator.
In some parts, they replaced parts of the Predator’s arms, hands and face while in other cases, the Predator was fully CG. They would begin the process by talking to Dane DiLiegro. Even when the Predator was cloaked, they would still have a plate or a mocap of DiLiegro in shots. Then it would involve the team working out which shots would require a full CG Predator and which would require a little bit of enhancement. Even in shots where there is a cloaked Predator, the team would still have a CG representation that they would have to either keyframe or use mocap or roto-animate and track into the shots.
For the Predator’s cloak, they decided that since the cloak was older technology, it would glitch like the technology has latency problems compared to future Predator cloaks. They experimented with a blue colour palette but Trachtenberg wanted it to be red as it would be more sinister-looking. The team did over 100 iterations before they found something Trachtenberg liked. The team looked closely at cuttlefish camouflage and old lenses, and went back through the older movies and looked at how the cloaking was accomplished such as using optical compositing on the first movie. They looked at all different colours and hex sizes and shapes.
For every shot in the film where the Predator is cloaked, there was a CG Predator underneath. Sometimes, it was hand-animated, while others were motion capture and in other cases they just matched it to the stunt performer. The Predator’s cloak in this film sits off the Predator’s skin so they procedurally generated a surface outside of the Predator and his equipment. They then used the 3D animation software Houdini to generate a number of passes that allowed them flexibility in compositing to reveal pieces of the Predator where energy surges through the cloak. When the Predator reveals himself and fights the Comanche warriors, that is a fully CG Predator with multiple iterations of making sure that things like weapon impacts revealed key parts of the Predator.
- Feral Predator was nicknamed Feral on the set due to his animalistic nature throughout the film.
- This is the first Predator/AvP film where the Predator does not have a shoulder cannon.
- The Feral Predator kills more people (30 people) in Prey than in any other Predator film.
- The Predator gets his arm cut off by his own weapon which is similar to the City Hunter in Predator 2.
You can view more images tagged with Prey - Feral Predator here.