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The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Predator.
When the sequel to Predator was first announced, it looked like the film was planning to draw a direct connection to the original entry by bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger in some capacity. The actor has gone on record to say that he was offered a role, but that he decided to turn it down. We don't know for sure what the original plan was for Arnold's appearance in the film, but The Predator is now in theaters, and having seen it, there is one obvious place where Arnold's character Dutch was probably planned to appear. The very end of the film, coming out of the Predator pod.
The story of The Predator is actually the story of two predator creatures. One, it turns out, came here to help humanity by providing us with something that we'll be able to use to fight off the aliens that like to hunt us for sport. The second, much larger predator, comes to Earth hunting the first one and killing whatever else happens to get in his way, in order to destroy this weapon.
While it appears at first that the Ultimate Predator is successful in destroying the weapon by blowing up the first predator's spaceship, after the dust clears, we learn that the item had automatically ejected itself prior to the explosion, and that it gets recovered. It looks like a metal coffin, oblong in shape but wider at one end. We're told the object is a Predator Killer, and it's easy to assume based on the pod shape that what's inside is some sort of creature, it ends up being a new piece of Predator technology that turns the wearer into a Predator. But was that always the plan?
That pod really looked like a person, or at least something humanoid, belonged inside it. Could it be that originally the Predator Killer was designed to be Dutch? Of course, it probably wouldn't have actually been Dutch, simply the older soldier in an alien pod for some reason, but something that looked like him. Either way, you'd need Arnold Schwarzenegger there to do the scene right. It could have been some sort of combination of Dutch and a Predator that had been genetically engineered, or perhaps, since we're introduced to a character who's an expert in cybertronics just a moment before, some sort of Dutch robot, maybe even, just for fun, something that looks as much like The Terminator as it does Dutch. The audience would have gone bonkers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had said that the reason he decided against appearing in the new film was that the role for him wasn't very significant, and a cameo at the very end of the movie before the credits roll would certainly count. Shane Black said an Arnold appearance would "probably" have been just something at the end. If this was the plan, how drastically would they have changed the ending when it was determined that Schwarzenegger wouldn't be appearing? How much of the finale had already been filmed? The Predator Killer tech was all CGI anyway, so adding it into an already existing scene wouldn't have been too complicated if they had filmed everything but those last moments.
I can honestly say that the audience at my screening got the most excited by The Predator at the very end as we all began to wonder what was in the pod. You could tell the same idea had crossed everybody's mind. Even I, who follows these things professionally and was fairly certain Arnold would not appear, began to wonder very briefly if Shane Black had been able to surprise everybody. It felt like Arnold was meant to be in that scene. There was a clear "let down" feeling once everybody realized the thing they were waiting on wasn't Arnold.
Even if this isn't what the ending was supposed to be, it's what the ending should have been.