Prey director has a fascinating answer to those Predator prequel questions

Prey director Dan Trachtenberg has tried to clarify whether the upcoming Predator movie is actually a prequel.

Trachtenberg spoke exclusively to Ditching at the film’s UK filming gathering and surprisingly revealed that he’s not referring to Prey as a Predator prequel. However, as Trachtenberg goes on to explain, there’s an important reason why he doesn’t believe the upcoming Hulu movie is a prequel movie in the traditional sense.

“I personally never call it a prequel,” Trachtenberg said. “Although, technically, I think so. When we initially announced [Prey], it was suggested that we start telling the Predator’s origin story. That is not what we’re doing.”

So what kind of movie is Prey? It turns out that the answer is a lot more complicated than we previously thought.

With the Disney Plus movie—it will be available on Disney’s streamer in non-US territories—set 300 years before the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger starring Predator movie, Prey is technically a prequel movie. However, as Trachtenberg confirmed, it doesn’t map the origins of the Yautja — the Predator species’ real name — in the same way that, say, Prometheus revealed how the facehuggers and xenomorphs came to be. Or, at the very least, how their prototype iterations were born, which inevitably leads to these creatures evolving into the facehuggers and xenomorphs we see in other Alien movies.

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So, how do we define Prey as a movie? It takes place well before the events of the first Predator movie, which took place in 1987, but it isn’t an origin story per se. It could be classified as a pre-sequel – that is, a movie set before previous entries in the franchise, but a movie released after that. But again, that will only cloud the water further. So all signs point to it being a prequel to the Predator movie franchise.

That is, unless it takes place in a different timeline. Multiple movie series, especially those involving time travel, have begun to mess with the linearity of their timelines, either in an effort to reinvent the franchise or tell new stories using established characters we’ve seen before.

The most recent Star Trek movies, starring Chris Pine’s Commander Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock, are a classic example. The creative team behind 2009’s Star Trek, 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, and more put these movies in an all-new timeline—the Kelvin timeline—to work around issues with using characters we’ve had in previous Star Trek movies. such as those starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and Kirk and Spock. Other movie series, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and DC Extended Universe (DCEU) — read our Marvel movies in order and DCEU movies in order guides for more — have also experimented with non-linear or complex timeline formulas.

When asked whether Prey exists in a separate timeline alongside the other four Predator films that preceded it, however, Trachtenberg wasn’t sure whether Disney and 20th Century Studios consider it to be alongside those other productions.

“Obviously this takes place 300 years in the past, so technically [it should exist alongside those movies]’ he replied. “I don’t think it’s a separate timeline, but I could be wrong.”

Despite Trachtenberg’s reluctance to use the word “prequel,” that is perhaps the best and simplest way to describe Prey. Otherwise, we’ll be debating the issue all day.

For more Prey-based content, read the odd quirk that sets the latest Predator movie apart from its predecessors. Or check out our list of the best sci-fi movies ever, or watch one of these five top-notch sci-fi shows. We’re waiting for the return of Apple TV Plus’ flagship sci-fi series Foundation.

Be sure to check out our spoiler-free review of Prey. And keep an eye out for our exclusive, in-depth chat with Trachtenberg, lead actor Amber Midthunder and executive producer Jhane Meyers later this week.

Prey launches on Friday, August 5 on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in non-US regions.