To put it kindly, the Predator franchise has experienced a few ups and downs over the course of its 31-year existence. Between five films in which the alien has appeared, there is a wide range in terms of quality, and each chapter has offered something very different to the official canon. Still, it's managed to persist as one of the most popular science-fiction franchises from the late 20th century, and soon theaters everywhere will be hosting the latest installment, Shane Black's The Predator.
As we count down the weeks until The Predator's release, we've constructed this guide to help you get to better know the movies -- motivated by anticipation. Below and across the next few pages we'll dive not only into each individual film, but also examine the various eras that the films have gone through. To kick things off, here's a rundown of all the titles we've seen in the franchise so far:
A team of commandos, led by retired US Army Special Forces Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), travels down to Central America when hired for a mission saving hostages in guerrilla solider-held territory. What they don't know, however, is that the jungle has another visitor: an insanely deadly extraterrestrial warrior that lives to hunt, kill, and take skulls and spines as trophies.
Predator 2 (1990)
Ever drawn to the combination of high temperatures and violence, the titular villain in Predator 2 finds itself drawn to the city of Los Angeles as the area is mired in both a gang war and a heat wave. As the alien goes on a rampage, the only thing standing in its way is Lieutenant Mike R. Harrigan (Danny Glover), a gruff cop who plays by his own rules.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
In the year 2004, a team of archeologists make their way down to the south pole when their work uncovers a strange heat signal. Not only do they wind up discovering a hidden underground pyramid, but also a long relationship between Predators and the aliens known as Xenomorphs. The pyramid is used as a rite of passage for the former, tasked with finding and killing the latter, and the humans find themselves stuck in the crossfire.
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
The sequel begins with the creation of a new creature when it's revealed that a Facehugger impregnated a Predator, leading to the birth of the first Predalien. The spaceship it's on crash lands in a small Colorado town, and an alien infestation begins - leading to another Predator coming to Earth to try and stop it.
Rather than taking place on Earth, this is the first movie to take place on the Predator homeworld. A group of men and women selected as the best killers on Earth are abducted and brought to the violent planet, specifically to be tested to see if they have what it takes to survive against not only attacking Predators, but the dangerous flora and fauna.
The Predator (2018)
When former Army Ranger Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) encounters a Predator when on a mission in Mexico, the government tries to shut him up by packing him up and shipping him off with a bunch of ex-soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional issues. As it turns out, however, this group may be the only thing standing in between the human race and total annihilation.