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There are a lot of "what if" casting scenarios that have littered the history of Hollywood. In the same alternate universe, Emma Watson won an Oscar for La La Land, Eric Stoltz was a very different Marty McFly in Back To The Future and Jean-Claude Van Damme was the titular alien in Predator. But while we knew that Van Damme eventually left the role, it wasn't until a recent interview with director John McTiernan that we learned how that moment came to be, and it was because of the actor's agent. As McTiernan explained:
We never shot anything with him. It was a complete screw up with his agent, trying to hustle him into a job and didn't know what the movie was. It's silly. It was really silly.
It's probably for the best that Jean-Claude Van Damme wasn't in Predator, as it not only freed him up for better work in films like Bloodsport, but it also means that the costume from the original incarnation would have stayed in the film. Judging by the photos and videos involving the first draft of Predator's iconic villain, a demented-looking lobster isn't exactly the sort of stuff we'd mark down as legendary writing.
However, as pointed out in John McTiernan's MovieFone interview, that screw up with Van Damme's agent did rob us of a film that would have pit the "muscles from Brussels" against Arnold Schwarzenegger, right when both men were at their prime. Though we saw them in the same film in The Expendables 2, it really wasn't the same, as both had entered the twilight phase of their career. Even if the ridiculous costume was still in play, seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme busting out some blistering martial arts skills against beefcake Schwarzenegger could have been so good, and Predator 2 would have eventually been written as a rematch.
With thirty years of history in the Predator canon, and Shane Black's The Predator arriving in theaters next year to help move things into the modern stage once more, a lot of the history that eventually came to be would be overwritten by the Jean-Claude Van Damme version coming to light. As awesome as that potentially could have been, we're still very much happy that history shook out the way it did, giving us the film that's had no time to bleed over three decades of history.