Rethinking on the Predator character?

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Estelle

New Member
Hiya guys/gals
I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that I feel there is a slight possibility that we may have the wrong idea on who/what the Predator and his kind are as a people. I’ll even go as far as to say that MAYBE, the popular concept of the Predator race we hold today might not be the same one held by Stan when he created the creature.

When Lflank mentioned that we are confusing Hunting and Fighting, I think he is right - and because of this, It may be possible that we’re getting the wrong interpretation on who/what the Predator and his kind are like.

It was mentioned by either Stan or Kevin ( I think It was Kevin) that the Predator was based on Kenya’s Maasia people.
Maybe the decision to model The Predator after the Maasia not only influenced the Predator’s appearance ( Which is quite indicative of the Maasia- The tall thin body, dreads, tribal aspect of the attire... even the sandals that shows The Predator’s ‘Preddy’ lil toes ) But possibly the Predator’s general philosophy as well?

If so, this could mean that Predators could actually be a peaceful people amongst themselves and not the volatile, aggressive and quarrelsome things the novels/comics seem to portray. I’m sure warfare occurs form time to time, but it doesn’t define them like hunting does.

This may mean that we may possibly even have to reconsider things like the position on them being fearsome carnivores to possibly living on diets consisting of some meat, milk, berries and blood, ( similar to the Maasia people) which makes sense, considering the Predators unique dentition.

The Maasia concept could also explain why we never see female Predators in the films….the females simply don’t hunt. I found this excerpt interesting when I was reading up on the Maasia

“The Maasai people have traditionally viewed the killing of lions as a rite of passage. Historically, lion hunts were done by individuals, however, due to reduced lion populations, lion hunts done solo are discouraged by elders. Most hunts are now partaken by groups of 10 warriors. Group hunting, known in Maasai as olamayio, gives the lion population a chance to grow. Maasai customary laws prohibit killing a sick or infirm lion. The killing of lionesses is also prohibited unless provoked.’”

Now just substitute lion/lioness for man/woman…the similarities are striking. I say of you want to know some of the details of everyday Predator life consider looking at the Maasai
~Estelle
 

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Wittmann8844

New Member
Thanks Estelle...

While staring at my empty sketch pad,... I've been thinking of researching the original source of inspiration to perhaps draw my own unique take on this fabulous film creature... I've really enjoyed everyone's take and evolution of the whole Pred mythology. Your queries and conclusions are profound food for thought indeed...


Dave
 

TehEl1te

Member
In my opinion I think you are humanizing it way too much. Perhaps they did use the Maasia people as a base but I am quite sure they weren't the only people with sandals, dreads, and hunted. Every civilization hunted... every civilization in history has primitive roots... I think the farthest they took any Maasia influence was possibly looks... other than that... I honestly think it was simply "alien bad ass from space hunting humans! awesome!" The films (Which I deem as cannon) have shown us predators hunting as 1, as a group, hunting for fun, hunting to prevent infestation, and killing each other... if they had any intention of giving any sort of background culture that the comics havent given, they would have...

I don't like to look at the predator and be so simple minded to say "They are just like the Maasia" when in fact... they are freaking aliens from space! Limiting them and relating to cultures on earth just humanizes them and ruins the suspension of disbelief that they are mysterious hunters that come and screw **** up.
 

Sorrow

New Member
Wow very informative and educational. I think I have the wrong concept and idea since i never read the books or comics. I always viewed them as hunters and soldiers thats always looking for something challenging to kill, coz their bored. Haha. Wow thanks. :)
 

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Lflank

Well-Known Member
When Lflank mentioned that we are confusing Hunting and Fighting, I think he is right - and because of this, It may be possible that we’re getting the wrong interpretation on who/what the Predator and his kind are like.

The primary characteristic of the Pred character was that they are hunters, not warriors. (Indeed, the original title of the screenplay was "The Hunter"). All the warfare stuff came later, as comic books and now the latest movie tries to expand and cash in on the original concept. (Which I think was a mistake.)

It was mentioned by either Stan or Kevin ( I think It was Kevin) that the Predator was based on Kenya’s Maasia people.
Maybe the decision to model The Predator after the Maasia not only influenced the Predator’s appearance ( Which is quite indicative of the Maasia- The tall thin body, dreads, tribal aspect of the attire... even the sandals that shows The Predator’s ‘Preddy’ lil toes ) But possibly the Predator’s general philosophy as well?
I'm not sure it all came from a source so specific--but certainly it came from aboriginal and native peoples in general. Remember too that "Predator" was made in 1987, and had a specific political message aimed at those times (the very divisive Reagan was President, the Cold War was boiling over, fears were growing over technologies such as nuclear weapons and nuclear power, we were heavily involved in bloody guerrilla wars all around the world especially Central America, and the whole American philosophy was that we were the biggest, the best and the baddest). "Predator" had a message that was aimed at all that--here we had a species that was technologically advanced enough for interstellar travel, but chose voluntarily to run around in the woods wearing a loincloth , tracking down the US military's best of the best not to wage warfare on them, but simply to hunt them like rabbits. It was a powerful social message for those times.

And Pred 2 continued that same concept, but this time aimed at the idea of a police state instead of military Cold War--this time the Pred was watching a society that had unleashed its police against a crime war that it was losing (this was made in 1990 at the height of the US "war on drugs"), but the Pred was neither cop nor criminal--he hunted both, and saw no difference between cops and criminals (again, a powerful political and social message for those times).

Over time, we have indeed moved away from that--we have in fact turned the Pred into precisely what the original Pred stood AGAINST. We have turned it into a big belligerent badass that lives only for warfare and fighting and can't even get along with its own species (just like the US in the Cold War). It is precisely the opposite of what the original Pred was. We've turned it into a mere slasher or serial killer. We have made it a fighter, not a hunter.

And indeed that was my biggest gripe about the newest "Predators" movie---they were guerrilla fighters, not hunters.

I regret seeing that, since the original concept was so unique and interesting.


This may mean that we may possibly even have to reconsider things like the position on them being fearsome carnivores to possibly living on diets consisting of some meat, milk, berries and blood, ( similar to the Maasia people) which makes sense, considering the Predators unique dentition.
As I mentioned in another place, as a biology fan, I concluded immediately that the Pred fanged mandibles and its weak mouth and jaw structure indicated that it is venomous. That sort of dentition (like a spider or a snake) is a classic biological hallmark of venom use. I can't think of any animal with those characteristics that is not venomous.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
“The Maasai people have traditionally viewed the killing of lions as a rite of passage. Historically, lion hunts were done by individuals, however, due to reduced lion populations, lion hunts done solo are discouraged by elders. Most hunts are now partaken by groups of 10 warriors. Group hunting, known in Maasai as olamayio, gives the lion population a chance to grow. Maasai customary laws prohibit killing a sick or infirm lion. The killing of lionesses is also prohibited unless provoked.’”

Now just substitute lion/lioness for man/woman…the similarities are striking.

They are even more striking if we substitute "Xenomorph" for "lion". The AVP movie may have left much to be desired in terms of plot, but it did fit firmly within the tradition established by the first two Pred films---these were hunters, not warriors or fighters. They killed Xenos not for conquest or warfare or extermination, but as a hunting rite of passage, a test of manhood, a way to earn that scar on the forehead. It was hunting, not fighting.

AVP2 was the first movie to depart from that tradition (though of course the comic books and novels had long since done so, and that was of course a big influence on the movie). Wolf was waging a war of extermination, not a hunt. (There was of course a tenuous connection to the earlier tradition, in that in AVP the preds destroyed everything if the Xenos defeated them in the hunt--and there was also Wolf's additional motivation of wanting to keep the existence of the Predators unknown--but the essence of the AVP2 movie was that this was a war, a war of extermination.)

And then "Predators" almost completely abandoned the very idea of any rite of passage or honor hunt---this was simple straight-up slaughter, the only goal being that of killing everything in sight, including their own species. And that was reflected in the fact that the methods employed by the Preds--booby traps etc--are the methods of guerrilla warfare and stealth combat, not of hunters. It was here that the canon movies went off the rails and completely lost the original conception of the Predator (the non-canon novels and comics of course had already done that years ago, and sadly the makers of "Predators" decided to take their inspiration from the non-canon sources rather than the already-established film tradition).

It saddens me, since the original concept of the Hunter was so unique and interesting. Now, Preds have just become sci-fi versions of Jason Voorhees.
 

Estelle

New Member
In my opinion I think you are humanizing it way too much.
:D LOL, I knew I was going to get that. I knew it!!! LOL! I’m just glad you didn’t take it a step farther and say “ ..You’re wussing them down too much! .” He,he,he.

Perhaps they did use the Maasia people as a base but I am quite sure they weren't the only people with sandals, dreads, and hunted. Every civilization hunted... every civilization in history has primitive roots... I think the farthest they took any Maasia influence was possibly looks...
Yes, Exactly! You are right! The Maasia weren’t the only ones with those things. But Stan and /or Kevin specifically mentioned the Maasia, which leads me to believe (maybe falsely..) that when designing the Predator, they were thinking a little deeper than the creature’s simple aesthetics – because if it were a case of coming up with a ‘look’, any sandal, dread, primitive-tool using people would have done well for a concept basis. He could have simply said ‘predator is based on a number of earth’s primitive hunting cultures’, but instead the Maasia were specifically referred to…there’s got to be a reason? Heck…idk. :)


But I do get where you are coming from though. Part of the allure of the Predator is his mystery. I think the Predator, even with the Maasia influence (which isn’t heavy..but is there) is still ‘alien’ and mysterious enough for me.
~Estelle
 

Elkman

New Member
There might be a connection as far as the whole rite of passage thing, in which an unblooded Predator goes out to make his first kill. There's a comic included in Predator Omnibus, Volume 1 entitled "Rite of Passage". In it, a young Maasai is sent out to kill a lion as part of his rite of passage. He gets his kill, but when he returns to the village, he finds all the people have been killed and hung from the trees, like Predator trophies. The Predator comes after him, but eventually the Maasai boy is victorious against the Predator. Evidently, a Predator elder was cloaked and watching the whole thing. In the final scene, the Maasai, now grown up, has a spear made from Predator wristblades and a shield incorporating part of a Predator skull.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
But I do get where you are coming from though. Part of the allure of the Predator is his mystery. I think the Predator, even with the Maasia influence (which isn’t heavy..but is there) is still ‘alien’ and mysterious enough for me.

The very essence of sci fi, of course, is to comment on HUMANS and their behavior, and disguise it with alien imagery. The Star Trek tv series, of course, was the pre-eminent example of that, as are the Star Wars series of movies.

The best sci fi isn't about aliens at all--it's about us.
 

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Estelle

New Member
@ Dave, Lou, Sorrow
Thanks guys, I’m happy the see you like the idea. I had been toying around with it for some time..Months! :) I’m no way saying the anyone is wrong here. I’m just saying that there could be another possibility as to who/what the Preds are as a race and If we take Kevin’s mention of the Maasia concept beyond ‘looks’ we may get a deeper look at these guys
~Estelle
 

Estelle

New Member
The very essence of sci fi, of course, is to comment on HUMANS and their behavior, and disguise it with alien imagery. The Star Trek tv series, of course, was the pre-eminent example of that, as are the Star Wars series of movies.

The best sci fi isn't about aliens at all--it's about us.
Very true…I have heard this mentioned often enough. There was an essay done called the ‘Psychological appeal of Movie Monsters’ that covered this in some great detail. Damn! I wish I could find it…In fact I’m gonna hunt it down and post a up link..It even mentioned the Predator!!!
@ ElkMan…I’m not really a fan of the comics but this one you mention has piqued my interest. Thanks
~Estelle
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
@ Dave, Lou, Sorrow
Thanks guys, I’m happy the see you like the idea. I had been toying around with it for some time..Months! :) I’m no way saying the anyone is wrong here. I’m just saying that there could be another possibility as to who/what the Preds are as a race and If we take Kevin’s mention of the Maasia concept beyond ‘looks’ we may get a deeper look at these guys
~Estelle

I think you're spot-on. In any film or written story, there is always an underlying message (as a writer and a publisher, I can absolutely assure everyone of that). Particularly in sci fi. There is always a large underlying layer of symbolism, allusion and allegory. "Predator" was NEVER just a story about a space alien--it was a symbolic look at ourselves and the times we were living in.

It's very interesting for me, as a writer, to get a glimpse into the minds of the people who created the story and understand the underlying source of some of their symbolism and allegory.

In a similar vein, I once saw a reference to a statement by George Lucas in which he acknowledged that much of the Star Wars original trilogy was based on the US in the Vietnam War (the Ewoks were based on the Viet Cong, the Empire was based on the LBJ and Nixon administrations).
 

Sorrow

New Member
No wonder this site Rocks! I don't need the books or comics, members here put in so much info for everyone who's fascinated by this creature. Thanks Estelle and Lflank. I guess I made my judgement base on the superficial aspects. Badass looking, killer weapons, spaceships, etc. Thank you guys. :) but are there any warrior class? Do they not have war on their planet? Do they not invade and colonise other planets? Just curious.
 

Nritja

New Member
Estelle: As we have already been talking about a lot and often over on aim messenger. I fully agree with you. There are more to the predators than just being mindless murderous monsters. First of all a mindless monster wouldn't have been able to invent spaceships and even less space traveling. They wouldn't even have been able to understand nor control a spaceship. Sure you can place a dog or a chimpanzee on a spaceship, but you can't teach it to steer and control and to understand how its run.
Furthermore a specie that is violent towards its own kind and only wish to see anything and everyone dead, such a specie would never be able to survive for long, it would eventually wipe its own kind out.

As for the Maasia people concept I have heard/read about as well. I can not remember where though but I dare to swear that I read it was from Kevin himself (although it could have been Stan too, but I am pretty sure I heard/read it was from Kevin), using specifically the Maasia people in an interview to describe the predators. I like how you take that idea a bit further and I do not think (as one other said) that it humanize them too much :) It is after all not unlikely that the Maasia people could have picked up these traditions from the predators themselves. Especially if we are to believe in the beginning of AVP where they show that flashback of predators already being on Earth long before we humans evolved in to what we are today. It is not unlikely that the predators not only settled down in South America and/or in Egypt as shown in that flashback, but could have settled down on many parts of Earth, teaching humans there a thing or two as well.

The way that I personally view these predators (and always has) is for them to have a very strong and very advanced culture. There might be clan wars (like there can be war between two religions for us humans) but overall I believe that they are peaceful among their own kind. There is no way that they are just mindless bloodthirsty monsters. Even a mother has to love, protect and teach her children, otherwise there is no chance for a specie to survive. Sure I know that spiders, several other insects and lizards etc. do not take care of their young like a mammal does. But we have to keep in mind that insects and lizards survive on instincts alone while mammals are depended on their mother, sometimes also their father, in order to learn how to survive because we are not preprogrammed to survive. In other words, all mammal animals (humans included) who has to use tools or hunting techniques etc to survive, can not do so without a parent.
I am not saying that the predators are mammals like us. I am simply saying that in order to learn a culture, to learn how to fight and hunt and to learn how to control and perhaps even build a spaceship, they too need a mom, possibly also a dad and a clan/family and through them, affection.


Lflank: I agree with you as well on some points. Knowing that P1 and P2 had a message behind them and AVP showed a bit of back story on yautja culture. AVPR and Predators however showed nothing at all, had absolutely no purpose at all either but to show some murderous bloodthirsty animalistic monsters (Predators) and a creature with nothing but war on his mind (AVPR).
AVPR and predators are both, in my head, not considered trustworthy and only made with the solo purpose of earning money and gaining viewers (FOX).
 

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Estelle

New Member
No wonder this site Rocks! I don't need the books or comics, members here put in so much info for everyone who's fascinated by this creature. Thanks Estelle and Lflank. I guess I made my judgement base on the superficial aspects. Badass looking, killer weapons, spaceships, etc. Thank you guys. :) but are there any warrior class? Do they not have war on their planet? Do they not invade and colonise other planets? Just curious.
As far as Predators invading and conquering other planets-I’d say with out a doubt that they possess the capability to do so, but I don’t believe they have an interest in pursuing such a feat. The Predators strike me as being nomadic, so there’s a strong possibility that they have “seasonal homes/camps” on other planets.
~Estelle
edit. Sorrow, you were asking about warrior classes...check google for " Hunting the lion: by maasia warriors"
most wars, when thay happen are started over hunting rites.
 

tommynator1024

New Member
It seems we are mixing up terms here. A hunter to me is someone who hunts to satisfy his own (people's) needs and nothing more. So I'd go the other way, and say that AVP was further away from the original concept than any other Pred related movie. It was the Running Man show of the Predator race, sending soldiers onto the battlefield to try and kill as many as possible. I can't seem to see where there's any sort of rite of passage involved here. Think of the big buffalo hunt in Dances With Wolves, and now think of the Indians shooting at the buffalos with machine guns, so they could eventually cut off their horns and take them home. If you call that a hunt, well, then I guess AVP must be about hunters.

It's a tough feat approaching a movie character with logic - after the movie is finished. If you look at the Predator's physique, it tells you quite a bit about his natural habitat, and I've said that before, it doesn't always add up all that well IMO, some features don't seem to fit in with others. Which is what happens if you have a bunch of writers throwing ideas around the table, without them ever having the faintest look at a book or anything. I got it, I got it!! He's using the trees!! Wait, how does he get up there? Claws, of course! Claws? Yes! But wouldn't that be very awkward if you're trying to develop some sort of technological civilization? Ahhh, no, hell, who cares? That's why I think you have to be careful about any sort of theories you develop about such a character.

The Massai thing makes sense to some extent. However, the only interpretation I've ever heard about the deeper meaning or theme behind Predator beyond its titular character's immediate movements and acting (which, I agree, are very tribal) is that is a metaphor for the Vietnam war. The Predator stands for the Vietcong, a bodyless, invisible evil that is nowhere and everywhere at the same time, and there's not much you can do. The Predator's behavior is witnessing to that, in that he kills fast, without mercy and can hardly be killed all the while standing almost in front of you. At the same time, you can't deny there's a culture behind it all that has developed significant technology and can therefore be expected to be somewhat civilised; maybe they do care about their offspring, maybe they don't. So if you call him a monster, it's by your own standards and with limited knowledge of him or his people. He's just very different. In that respect, I don't think you'd get him to let an earth woman join him while he has to fight at his best, there's nothing to gain for him. I don't think there's much of a honor codex either, sparing pregnant women and all .. that **** started with P2 and the comics. In P1, he was all about the sports of the hunt, and what fun is killing an unarmed man, let alone women and children?
 

TehEl1te

Member
I don't know... I still like thinking outside the box. They aren't from Earth, why try and make them be like something from Earth.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
No wonder this site Rocks! I don't need the books or comics, members here put in so much info for everyone who's fascinated by this creature. Thanks Estelle and Lflank. I guess I made my judgement base on the superficial aspects. Badass looking, killer weapons, spaceships, etc. Thank you guys. :) but are there any warrior class? Do they not have war on their planet? Do they not invade and colonise other planets? Just curious.

I do recall once seeing a reference (and I don't remember where) that the Yautja have no interest in conquest, and if they are threatened with war by an enemy they deal with it by simply unleashing the Xenomorphs on their opponent. The Xeno is, of course, the ultimate bioweapon.
 

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