When it was announced that Shane Black would be heading the reboot of 1987’s Predator, titled simply The Predator, fan reactions were mixed, to say the least. The original, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was such a perfect cornucopia of everything that made 80’s action movies so great that it was difficult to believe the new one would be able to live up to it.
It seems that the producers behind The Predator were aware of the strong nostalgia factor that their film would carry though, and were more than willing to cash in on it. Like an easter egg reference hinting towards the original Predator costume. For hardcore fans, however, Arnold is still the face of the franchise, as the hero who makes a stand against the terrifying alien bounty hunter and manages to defeat him. So what better way to put the stamp of authenticity on 2018’s effort than by having an Arnie cameo?
Co-writer for the film, Fred Dekker, elaborated on what such an appearance would have involved in a recent interview, saying the following:
And the other thing I said is, ‘We have to have Arnold Schwarzenegger in this movie.’ Because, like it or not, one of the master strokes of The Force Awakens is that ending. Because even though Luke doesn’t do anything except turn around and have a beard, it touches that little nostalgia button in you and you go, ‘Oh cool.’ And then you go to the credits and there’s no way that movie’s not going to be a big hit.
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So, apparently the writers intended to take a leaf out of Star Wars, another popular franchise that banks strongly on nostalgia and older cast cameos to keep fans sated. But similar plans involving Arnold ultimately had to be scrapped, as Dekker explains:
We very much wanted him in the film but what we had written was a cameo that would have spring-boarded into a major role in any sequel. He decided it wasn’t enough of a role and nobody was willing to put money on the possibility of a sequel. He would be taking a pay cut. He would have said, ‘Come with me if you want to live.’ Shane had a talk with Arnold but at the end of the day, the sequel wasn’t a done deal and this is really not a lot of screen time for Arnold to go and fly to Canada and do a half day.
It’s a shame that fans never saw an appearance from the guy who started the whole series, something that would have surely added at least some nostalgic appeal to the ultimately critically derided flick. But Arnold’s disinterest in flying across the world for a half a day of filming a cameo in The Predator when there was little possibility of a sequel also makes sense.
Interestingly, another cool bit of casting that ultimately never happened would have been a shout-out to another alien killer franchise from the ’80s. Star of Alien and its sequels, Sigourney Weaver was originally supposed to be a part of the film’s cast, but that didn’t work out, either.