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Yautja

Height

7'+

Weight

Well over 520 lbs. in armor

Distinctions

  • Capable hunters
  • Advanced technology and weaponry
  • Long
  • Mandibles

Other names

Predators
Hunters


The Yautja, (pronounced Ya-OOT-ja), known colloquially as the Predators or Hunters, are an extraterrestrial species characterized by their of other dangerous species for sport and honor, including Humans. They were also referred to once as Xenopredators.

The Yautja are a sentient, humanoid race that breathe an atmosphere similar to that of 's, but possess a level of technological advancement far in excess of anything available to humans. The Predators stalk and kill their prey using a combination of highly advanced technology, such as and , combined with traditional ancient weapons, such as , and . The Predators often ritualistically their prey and usually claim a from their kills. Capable of interstellar travel in star ships, the Predators have hunted on Earth for centuries and have also had prior contact with the . They have been known to deliberately breed Xenomorphs in order to hunt them, often as part of initiation rituals for young Predators.

The Predator was designed in by after the first alien creature constructed for the film proved unsatisfactory. Winston repeatedly credited director and friend for coming up with the Predator's distinctive mandibles, which Cameron suggested them to him during a flight they were taking together. Although the specifics of the creature's appearance have evolved over time, the basic design has changed little since its original inception.

Aside from their repeated conflicts with humans, the Predators have notably been associated with , leading to the extensive Alien vs. Predator franchise, including the films () and (). The Predators have also featured heavily in numerous literature and video game spin-offs, including crossovers with other well-known franchises.

Contents

[]

Species Characteristics

The Yautja have a that it expects all members of his species to adhere to on pain of not being seen as a "true Yautja" and therefore subject to being destroyed. Therefore most Yautja are molded around that code, being ruthless but honorable, with the exception of . Aggression and arrogance seems to be innate in Hunters, especially young males. According to , it isn't uncommon for a or even a Pup to believe he is 'God's gift to the universe'.

Though they are fairly social creatures, many seasoned Hunters hunt alone. Predators are a tropical species, at home in warmer climes. They are drawn to planets "in the hot season".

Appearance

Predator-unmasked

The unmasked faces of various Predators. Clockwise from top left: the , the , the and the .

Predators are bipedal humanoids, physically distinguishable from humans by their greater height, the long, hair-like appendages on their heads (nicknamed ), their reptilian skin and their faces, which feature arthropod-like mandibles and no visible nose. The biological purpose of the distinctive mandibles is unclear — some have proposed they may be used in reproduction or mating rituals. They may also be a vestigial piece of anatomy, as noted by , who compares it to the human appendix. Yautja use them to convey emotions;for example, flared mandibles apparently signify anger or surprise, mandibles clicking together can signify interest or curiosity, and Yautja have even been said to "grin" with them. As well as the fleshy dreadlocks around the side of the head, some Predators have also been seen to possess sparse, quills on their cheeks and above the eyes.

Classicpredquills

The Classic Predator and it's chest quills.

While generally uniform, each Yautja's physical appearance includes a number of subtle variations, akin to human genetic diversity. Similarly, while Predator heights vary, they are typically over 7 feet tall, although some have been known to grow to 8 feet or even taller. Despite this, shorter individuals have been recorded, such as or the aptly-named , who stood the height of a typical human. These individuals are unusual and their smaller height the subject of ridicule in Yautja society. The species' reptile-like skin can range in color from light to dark, be mottled or clear, and can appear dry or moist and clammy.

Physical abilities

Yautja are highly resilient to physical damage, capable of recovering from multiple gunshot wounds with minimal or even no medical attention and surviving radiation doses which would be fatal to humans. They are also highly resilient to most bacteria and viruses. They are incredibly strong, easily capable of outmatching a conditioned adult human male in unarmed combat and able to land blows that can shatter solid concrete. They are capable of tearing a human's head and spine from the body with little effort, while some larger specimens have even been seen to tear a human body in half using only their bare hands.

This strength evidently extends to their lower bodies as well, as Predators have been seen to jump up to three times their own height, and are capable of falling up to ten times their height and landing safely on their feet. They are skilled climbers, and in fact appear to prefer moving at height through trees or across rooftops in pursuit of prey, typically jumping from one vantage point to the next. Though capable of surviving exposure in Antarctic temperatures for an extended period of time, it seems as though Predators have a preference for hot equatorial climates.

According to , Yautja possess "superior genetic material" compared to humans that, if used correctly, could enhance humanity as a species. The augmentation of was one such project carried out in this regard, although the genetic experimentation was not completed before Hunter was slain by the Yautja known as . Nevertheless, Yautja genes are evidently "potent" enough that, when one is impregnated with a , the resulting creature adopts more pronounced physical characteristics from its host than might otherwise be expected — such as and mandibles — leading to the distinctive caste.

Their is luminescent phosphor green in color, and has the capacity to partially neutralize the of blood. It has also been known to bestow significant life-giving properties on humans, capable of extending a person's lifespan well beyond what would normally be possible. It is thought Yautja may be cold-blooded, hence their documented affinity for hot, humid conditions and the built into their suits.

Vision25

A Yautja's natural vision.

Predators' vision operates mainly in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum; they can easily detect heat differentials in their surroundings, but are unable to easily distinguish among objects of the same relative temperature. A Predator's helmet or greatly increases its ability to see in a variety of spectrums, ranging from the low infrared to the high ultraviolet, and also filters ambient heat from the area, allowing them to distinguish prey with greater clarity and detail. While they are seemingly capable of breathing Earth's atmosphere, they have been known to use some form of breathing apparatus in the event of losing their Bio-Mask.

Rawflesh

A Predator eating raw flesh.

Predators' dietary habits are not clearly established, although the that stalked was known to visit a slaughterhouse in the city every two days to feed on the meat stored there, suggesting a carnivorous or perhaps omnivorous diet. In one instance, a contamination, caused by , drove a to cannibalize one of the last surviving members of its own hunting squad.

While the maximum or typical lifespan of a Predator is not known, it is accepted as being well in excess of human lifespans, and it has been implied that Predator can live for hundreds to thousands of years. One predator, called , is said to be thousands of years old. He comments that human life "hurries as if eager" to its end, in comparison to a Yautja's lifespan..

Speech, language and communication

Main article:

Predators possess their own language, both in spoken and written form, the former of which resembles a series of clicks, roars, snarls and growls. They also have dialects, which deviate sharply enough from the Yautja common tongue that translators cannot make heads or tails of it. The written language is expressed in a pattern of dashes not dissimilar in form and function to many Earth-based languages. These written symbols appear on the creatures' gauntlet displays, helmets, architecture and many other surfaces. Predators regularly imitate human speech that they overhear. It is unclear to what degree the Yautja can comprehend this speech, although the creatures at least seem to hold some understanding of the language as they have been known to repeat phrases at vaguely appropriate times as a form of communication with prey. Older Predators with more experience among humans have on occasion been known to actually learn to speak English, at least to a limited extent.

It has been known for humans and Yautja to successfully communicate using sign language.

Predatorlaugh

Amused Predators

There is evidence that Yautja understand the concept of humor. For example, during events on , the Predator deliberately caused a deceased Xenomorph to shoot out its and startle , and her shock and fear apparently gave Scar some amusement. According to , laughter is universal — even in their species — and the Predator equivalent of a belly laugh is the rapid clicking of tusks.

Technology

Main article:

Yautja technology is distinctive in many respects, not least of which is its unusual combination of ornate, tribal appearance masking deadly, sophisticated weaponry. However, despite the species' obvious technological prowess, including access to and , traditional, ancient weapons, such as blades, knives and , are still employed widely (and apparently considered by the Yautja as being more "honorable" than advanced technology).

At least one Yautja weapon uses a metal that does not correspond to any known element on the periodic table, and many devices have been shown to be completely resistant to the effects of the of Xenomorphs, an otherwise incredibly corrosive and destructive substance. With this said however, the Wristblades and chest armor of immature Yautja are still made of metal that is not resistant to Xenomorph blood; it seems such advanced armor must be "earned" through initiation rituals that first test the individual's prowess with more rudimentary and challenging equipment. Many of the Yautja's tools make use of thermal imaging to track prey, while some aspects of their technology have been in use for millennia. Individuals of the species will often utilize their own bespoke variations of tried and tested Yautja weapons, constructed from different materials and with varying degrees of tribal or symbolic ornamentation.

Equipment

Tools

Bio-Mask

The is one of the main tools used by the Yautja and is directly linked to a Predator's Wrist Gauntlet, which controls many of the mask's functions. As well as performing the basic function of protecting a Predator's head, the bio-mask also grants the wearer access to multiple vision modes including adjustable binocular vision, facilitates vocal mimicry, and includes breathing apparatus, diagnostics, audio/visual recording systems and often also incorporates a red targeting laser used in conjunction with a .

  • : The Predator's contains systems to enhance its thermal vision and provide additional vision modes in other electromagnetic spectra, ranging from night vision to ultraviolet and even vibration scanning as well as featuring adjustable binocular vision.
  • : The Language Translator is a program installed in some Predators' bio-masks that allows a Hunter to understand other species' communication(s)/language(s).
  • : Vocal mimicry requires a Bio-Mask to be utilized, and should not be confused with a Yautja's natural ability to copy human speech.

Wrist Gauntlet

The includes the Predator's and sometimes an or . Also incorporates and touch-pad technology to control a Predator's Bio-Mask, Cloaking Device, , and even remotely pilot Predator vessels.

  • : Light-bending adaptive camouflage allowing Predators a form of invisibility, or at least translucence, rendering them incredibly difficult to spot. The invisibility effect has been known to be shorted out through contact with water or if the arm gauntlet is damaged, and it is susceptible to the effects of an electro-magnetic pulse, at least temporarily. The effects of the device have also been known to fail as a result of direct assaults on the Predator's body, be it with ranged weaponry or physical attacks. This device is rendered useless during Xenomorph Hunts owing to the Xenomorph's ability to "see" through its cloaking effects.
  • : It emits a surge of ultrahigh electric frequencies from the Predator's Wrist Gauntlet, which would disable electrical devices.
  • : Gauntlet Cuffs are a Yautja technology used to bind two individuals together by way of the Wrist Gauntlets.
  • : The Sat-Com[citation needed] is a Yautja holographic map projector which shows a complete 3D scan of an area and is part of a Yautja's Wrist Gauntlet.
  • : The Self-Destruct Device is a powerful Yautja explosive device built into a Predator's Wrist Gauntlet.

Medical/bioanalysis

  • : Predator hunters carry field medical equipment including solvents capable of cauterizing and healing wounds and various serums and other medical devices.
  • : The Health Shard is a Yautja device that works similar to the Medicomp.
  • : A case containing a , and a .

Trophies/ceremonial

  • : The Flaying Tool is 'Y' shaped, its prongs spaced slightly apart. It is meant to be grabbed at the bottom and emits a laser from between the two prongs hot enough to simply and easily peel skin off of a yet-flayed trophy.
  • : Used by warriors as a last-resort weapon or a weapon to take trophies from fallen enemies.

Utilitarian

  • : The Predator Axe was an axe-like blade that the Super Predators had in their camp. Since it wasn't used during their hunt its true purpose remains unclear.
  • Mallet: As seen in this , Yautja make use of mallets for presumably utility purposes.
  • Pickaxe: As seen in this , Yautja make use of pickaxes for presumably utility purposes.

Mobility

  • : During their hunts, Yautja make use of the grappling hook to access areas that can only be passed by Xenomorphs, or to get to airducts. Its role is similar to the USCM's Jet pack in this regard.

Tracking/navigation

  • : The Falcon was a bird-like spying device used by the Super Predator Clan on the Game Preserve Planet.
  • : The tag is a small circular tracking device that is used on prey which the Predator wishes to continuously bait rather than kill outright.
  • : Beacons are Yautja technology that helps a Hunter navigate in a large and confusing hunting ground.

Power source

  • : The Energy Sift is a piece of Yautja technology used to recharge the user's gear.

Armor

Yautja armor can be as varied as the physical appearance of Yautja themselves and appears to be based largely on personal preference of the individual. Design changes can include tribal ornamentation on the forehead, different arrangements of armor plates and different colors/metals used for the individual armor pieces. As for actual clothing, Yautja seem to have little but a loincloth to keep them decent. Otherwise, they are content to walk around next-to-nude and have no problem actually being nude.

Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of a Predator's armor is its Bio-Mask, the outward design of which can range from simple and utilitarian to elaborate and decorative. Another common piece of Yautja clothing is a heated wire mesh undersuit with temperature control elements to help the Predator adapt to the harshest of cold environments. Other items, such as the metallic armor plates and bandoleers for weapons, including grenades, are applied over the top of this mesh. Wrist gauntlets provide a number of weapons, including retractable and , as well as computerized control for many of the Predator's systems.

There seems to be two types of armor: Hunting Armor, which if of course made to aid in the hunt, and Military Armor, which is designed with war in mind.

Types

  • : In , it seems to show that Predator Bio-Masks are capable of withstanding incredible damage. It can even withstand bullets as shown when Ricky tries to kill Wolf by shooting him in the face.
  • : Body armor is usually composed of a partial or full breastplate, pauldrons, gauntlets, extremity armor and is xenomorph blood proof for Blooded Yautja and those of higher ranks. The body armor also includes thermal netting.
  • Armor: A type of heavy armor worn by Yautja .
  • : The Phoenix Armor is worn by well respected and like the (phoenix-like creature) itself, this armor is uniquely resilient to fire, energy, and radiation.
  • : Worn by military Yautja such as the and , this widely feared protective suit provides its wearer with substantial defenses against kinetic, fire, and acid damage. Its exceptional hardness also deflects outright any projectiles not specifically designed to penetrate armor. Consequently, enemies must make a concentrated effort to defeat any Predators possessing this defensive system.

Weapons

Mêlée weapons

Blunt instruments

  • : It is used to give a Yautja a boost in punching strength, allowing a user to perform a punch powerful enough to make a hole in solid concrete.

Short bladed

  • : Used by warriors as a last-resort weapon or a weapon to take trophies from fallen enemies.
  • : The Predator Axe was an axe-like blade that the Super Predators had in their camp. Since it wasn't used during their hunt its true purpose remains unclear.
  • : Razor-sharp serrated retractable blades built into the wrist gauntlet, typically in pairs, used for mêlée combat and the ritualistic mutilation of prey.

Long bladed

  • : Essentially an enlarged singular Wristblade worn on the forearm.
  • : Though rarely mentioned as an in-hunt-use weapon, a sword can be fashioned as a replacement or equivalent to a hunter's wristblades.
  • : A heavy bladed weapon with a perpendicular handle, an arrangement similar to a police officer's nightstick.

Pole arms

  • : A retractable spear that can be used either in hand-to-hand combat or as a thrown weapon.
  • : Similar to the Combistick, this combat staff is fitted with a sizeable blade at each end, designed to slice through prey.
  • : Plasma Glaives are double terminated weapons that seethe with white hot plasma that burns through enemy armor.
  • : The Plasma Scythe produces a blade made of superheated plasma energy, it can burn through armor and enemies with ease.

Flexible bladed

  • : A bladed chain whip capable of slicing targets in half with enough force.
  • : When used in the dark, the wire-thin Noose is almost impossible to see. The material is slim but strong, able to hold the weight of an adult human as it yanks them up.

Ranged weapons

Thrown

  • : Electroshock bolas carry a powerful electrical current, which instantly kills victims on impact.
  • : A thrown, self-guiding, chakram-like bladed weapon, it can also be wielded as a mêlée weapon.
  • : The Poli Nanovibronic Disc was a thrown Yautja disc weapon similar to the Smart Disc, it can also be wielded as a mêlée weapon.
  • : Similar to the Smart Disc, except considerably larger and fitted with several long, fan-like, retractable blades around its circumference, it can also be wielded as a mêlée weapon.
  • : A retractable spear that can be used either in hand-to-hand combat or as a thrown weapon.

Projectile

  • : A projectile weapon that fires small metal spears, comparable to a traditional projectile firearm or crossbow.
  • : A handheld device capable of firing a wire net with enough force to pin a target to a wall. The net also features an automatic tightening mechanism designed to cause grievous wounds to the enclosed target.
  • : Used by the military Hydra, this is a back mounted missile device that fires up to three powerful armor penetrating electroshock plasma missiles capable of targeting up to nine different targets.

Directed energy weapons

  • : A short-range energy projector weapon, a simpler and less powerful version of the Plasmacaster, built into the Yautja's Wrist Gauntlet.
  • : A hand-held version of the Plasmacaster.
  • : Burners shoot streams of hot plasma, they resemble and function much like a Human assault rifle.
  • : A ranged weapon capable of directing bolts of high-energy plasma at distant targets that is worn on the shoulder. Generally aimed through the Predator's Bio-Mask, although there are exceptions.
  • : The blazer is a shoulder-mounted energy projector used by military caste Yautja that fires a sweeping inferno beam.
  • : This weapon uses dark plasma streams guided by a tracking device that neutralises any incoming projectiles up to and including rockets.

Explosives

Placed

  • : Predators utilize a variety of mines with varying trigger mechanisms and detonation effects in their Hunts.

Thrown

  • : The fire bomb is a highly explosive Yautja grenade type device.
  • : The Plasma Grenade is a Yautja hand grenade that creates a large explosion when detonated and is powerful enough to destroy an M113 armored personnel carrier.
  • : The Remote Bomb is somewhat similar in function to Predator Mines, but is remotely detonated from a Wrist Gauntlet by the Yautja instead of proximity activated.

Mobile sentry guns

  • : It has a huge inbuilt Plasmacaster and moves using anti-gravity plates underneath it and can only fire when deployed.
  • : The Mobile Shrine is equipped with a fireliner, a multibeam heat weapon related to the Blazer.

Vehicles

Aerospacecraft

Starships (interstellar spacecraft)

Unknown class

Culture and History

Hunting culture

Main article:

Yautja culture centers on the ritualistic hunting of other dangerous lifeforms, and this practice appears to be the foundation of their very society. Predators will travel huge distances — even across entire galaxies — in order to face opponents they consider a worthy challenge, and may also kidnap and transport prey across similar distances to bring such victims to a hunting ground of their choice.

Defeat in a Hunt is apparently a cause of great shame to the Yautja, and often leads to the individual committing honorable suicide, typically through the detonation of their Wrist Gauntlet's Self-Destruct Device. Upon their death, a hunting Yautja's spacecraft will return to the species on automatic pilot so that a record of the individual's Hunt, recorded through their Bio-Mask, may be returned to its kin.

Society and Population

Yautja society operates a class or ranking system, nominally based on an individual's hunting experience and prowess. Their titles include:

  • : The un-refined hunters of the future, Unblooded Yautja are young predators who haven't completed basic training. They are, or are close to, physically mature adults. Most Unblooded, and therefore subsequent classes, are male but female hunters do exist, implying a minority of them within the hunting body.
  • : Young adults Yautja who yet to be seen as "men" and "true hunters" in the eyes of the clanmates. These hunters are refined enough to overpower a skilled human fighter, however their skill against a varies. Once they kill one, Yautja mark themselves with Xenomorph blood, completing their initiation into Adulthood.
  • : These Yautja have successfully killed their first Xenomorph and given it is such a broad title, skills vary. Once a Yautja is blooded, females will begin to pay him mind and his rank could deviate into more specific ones.
  • : Elites encompass the more dangerous of the Yautja race. They have the skill to take on several at once, including large, dangerous castes such as , and even . Elites seem to take on some of the more nuanced, lengthy, and taxing problems and missions in the Yautja world. These can be assigned, as in the case of , or self-volunteered, as in the cast of .
  • Leader: "Leader" is an ambiguous rank in Yautja society. A Leader could control a Clan, fellow packmates on a hunt, or simply a troop of students. These leaders are , , and "Leader" respectively.
  • : The Older, wiser members of the Yautja race. Many of them are Clan Leaders. Two Elders have been seen onscreen thus far and both have gifted non-predator species with mementos of a good hunt.
  • : Ancients are very old Yautja, some of which are responsible for creating the laws by which the species abides. To this end, they use to put an end to crime, both within and without the species.

Clans

Orthodox Clans

Young Blood Packs

Bad Blood Clans

Relationship with Xenomorphs

"To the hunters, the Xenomorphs truly are the galaxy's most dangerous game." ― employee T. Fuchs (from ) Of all their prey, the Yautja apparently have a special hunting relationship with the (which they refer to as "Serpents"). They seem to consider the voracious alien lifeforms to be the "ultimate prey" and correspondingly have a reverence for the creatures. The Yautja have been known to specifically breed the creatures at numerous sites for use in the initiation Hunts undertaken by Young Bloods. To this end, the Yautja are known to capture and imprison Xenomorph Queens, using their to breed lesser castes to hunt. Some of these captured Queens have apparently been imprisoned for tens of thousands of years. Yautja have also been known to 'seed' worlds with Xenomorphs so that they may be hunted there, infecting the local fauna and then engaging the resulting creatures. Large statues of Xenomorphs can often be found in and around Yautja hunting temples and ruins.

Some human scientists studying the two races have even theorized that the Predators may have had a hand in creating the Xenomorph species, although such concepts are not widely accepted as anything more than speculation. Even so, the Yautja clearly have a significant understanding of the Xenomorphs, and obviously have far greater respect for and control over the creatures than humans; whereas human attempts to capture and study the Xenomorphs have routinely resulted in disastrous breaches of quarantine and significant loss of life, the Predators have successfully entombed and utilized Queens for thousands of years with relatively few major incidents.

History with Earth

"Thousands of years ago, these hunters found a backwater planet. They taught humans how to build, and were worshipped as gods." ―, explaining mankind's history with the Yautja (from ) Avpbluray663

Yautja teaching the ancient humans how to build.

The Yautja have a long and involved history with humans on , dating back to ancient times. Evidence suggests the Yautja influenced the development of early human civilizations, including the Ancient Egyptians, the Khmer Empire, the Aztecs and a largely undocumented culture inhabiting what is now modern day in Antarctica. Upon their arrival in ancient times, the Predators were worshipped as gods by the primitive peoples of Earth, and they in turn taught these early humans how to construct (explaining why so many ancient civilizations share distinctly similar cultures and architecture). These pyramids and temples were then used as hunting grounds by the Yautja, typically for initiation Hunts involving the Xenomorphs, which would be bred through the use of sacrificial human hosts that the civilizations would provide.

These rite of passage Hunts were conducted every 100 years on Earth. Each Young Blood taking part would be expected to return with the head of a Xenomorph killed in hand-to-hand combat. Were the young hunters successful in these trials, they would use the acid of their foes to sear a clan marking or other symbol into their Bio-Masks and foreheads. On the other hand, should they fail and the hunting grounds be overrun with Xenomorphs, the Yautja were expected to activate their Self-Destruct Devices, dying honorably and eliminating all trace of the Xenomorph infestation.

Not all Hunts on Earth were conducted in such a manner. Yautja also visited the planet to hunt humans as well. In fact, the species has been linked with the destruction of the ancient Mayans in Central America. Yautja individuals have also hunted humans during the Renaissance, in North America prior to its colonization by the European nations, in in 1930, on Iwo Jima during WWII, in Cambodia during the , in Beiruit, in during the late 1980s, in in the mid-1990s and in 2030, as well as numerous other occasions. A also travelled to earth in 2004 to clean up a Xenomorph outbreak in resulting from a failed Hunt in Antarctica earlier in the year.

Throughout history, Predators have also abducted humans from Earth for staged Hunts on at least one that they control in an undefined region of space. This particular means of hunting prey seems to be utilized primarily by the .

Views on Non-Predator Races

Several sources, particularly the novels written by , have painted Predators in a supremacist light when it comes to other species. According to Prey, Yautja depict humans as a sort of "boogieman" and in War, there is a clear discrimination against even though she is a hunter who's slain a Queen. Machiko herself describes them as Xenophobic and bigoted. Yautja generally don't interact with other intelligent species outside of hunting purposes, and even then there are strict rules on how to go about doing this. The took the species as a slave race, forcing them to build their spacecraft.

However, some Predators have shown willingness to work with humans without much hesitance. was one such hunter, deciding to escape the underground pyramid together with . and worked together to defeat several enemies in . This may indicate Xenophobia isn't common to all , just some or most.

Views on Humans

Despite being significantly smaller and weaker than them, all wise Yautja consider certain humans to be dangerous game. Humans are less known for their strength, and more for their craftiness, which can bring down even the fiercest hunter. They are generally not physically attracted to humans, to the point a naked human female would not even arouse a young male unblooded. In fact, the idea of doing anything sexual with a human is disgusting, if 's reaction to Machiko telling him she wishes him to father her children is anything to go by.

That reaction, however, could be credited to their mutual hate of one another.

Behind the Scenes

The original Predator

OriginalPred

A behind the scenes photo showing the original Predator.

Initially, the Predator was a very different creature. While it was always described as humanoid, its appearance otherwise changed quite drastically as the script for the first film developed — one early draft states that the Predator had a "strikingly human-like face" and "smooth, hairless, nearly translucent skin", beneath which "a delicate network of veins and vessels can be seen, pulsing rapidly with pale green blood". A later draft portrayed the Predator as a shapeshifter that was hunting humans to study them (it was in fact this version of the creature that was used in the of the movie).

The first practical Predator built for the production was created by a team from Boss Studios, led by Steve Johnson (who also provided some of the gore effects in the movie). The suit they designed had a distinct insect- or arthropod-like appearance, with a long neck, dog-shaped head and large, yellow eyes. Its skin was covered in complex and bizarre textures, and the suit was fitted with 12" leg extensions to give the creature backwards bending satyr-legs, designed to disguise the fact it was a man in a suit. The suit was to be worn by Belgian actor , the idea being that Van Damme's martial arts prowess would make the Predator an agile, ninja-like hunter. However, from the very beginning there were problems with the suit — the creature's solid insect-like exoskeleton meant that Van Damme could not bend at the waist, and the leg extensions proved unwieldy and impractical when filming on location in a jungle. In fact, the legs proved so unwieldy that the creature had to be supported using either wires or a crane, severely limiting its agility and range of movements. It quickly became apparent that the design was unworkable.

Furthermore, compared to , and , actors known for their extensive bodybuilding regimes, Van Damme was not considered physically imposing enough to be a credible threat. As a result of these issues, the original suit design was scrapped and Van Damme was released from the production, while filming on the movie was shut down for six months so that an alternative could be found. The original discarded Predator design would be revisited almost 25 years later and used as inspiration for the creature featured in Predators.

Stan Winston redesign

AlanMunroConcept

The painting by Alan Munro that formed the basis of the final Predator design.

Old Predator Concepts

Early Predator face concepts by Stan Winston.

With the failure of the Boss Studios suit, responsibility for creating the Predator creature passed to , who was hired at Schwarzenegger's suggestion following the actor's experience with him on The Terminator. Winston accepted largely as a favor to his friend Schwarzenegger, but also because he felt the film was likely to be a success. According to Winston, "My feeling from reading the script was that the Predator had to be a real character, rather than a generic creature. He needed to be a very specific character — and that's what we came up with." Winston's design was heavily influenced by a piece of Rastafarian-themed concept art painted by Alan Munro, which had been hanging in producer 's office. Additionally, Winston's good friend and frequent collaborator suggested the Predator's distinctive mandibles during a flight the two were taking to an event in support of . Winston later joked, "Between the Rastafarian painting in Joel Silver's office and the mandible idea from Jim Cameron, I came up with 'Stan Winston's Predator'. And I take complete credit for it, even though I had nothing to do with it, obviously!"

The new suit was far simpler than the Boss Studios effort, allowing for much greater freedom of movement. It was built around actor , who at 7 feet 2.5 inches tall was a much better physical match for the actors he was playing against. The design originally incorporated mechanical finger extensions on the hands, but when these proved difficult to manipulate they were removed. Winston's studio created all the physical Predator effects on Predator and , including the suits worn by Hall and the creature's mechanical facial effects. The new Predator took eight weeks to design and create before filming was completed in January and February 1987. Winston considered the original Predator to be one of his proudest works, and was honored by how it has gone on to become a pop culture icon.

The Predator's luminescent was created by mixing KY Jelly with the active liquids found in glow sticks; the mixture lost its glow quickly, so new batches had to be mixed constantly between takes. The blood was originally intended to be orange in color, to help it better stand out against the predominantly green jungle background. However, when the crew were unable to acquire any orange glowsticks on location, the blood was changed to green. This caused some problems for the special effects department, who had already completed several shots featuring the original orange blood. Consequently, these shots had to be discarded and remade. The Predator's vocalizations were provided by long-time voice actor , most famous for his portrayal of Optimus Prime in the Transformers franchise. Cullen said the inspiration for the Predator sounds were horseshoe crabs.

The camouflage effect was designed by R/Greenberg Associates. The idea for the effect came in a dream one of the Thomas brothers (who wrote the film) had, in which there was a chrome man who was inside a reflective sphere. The man blended in, perfectly camouflaged, reflecting from all directions and only visible when in motion. It took the production team some time to devise a technique to achieve the effect, but eventually they settled on repeating a background image in a pattern of ripples in the shape of the Predator's body. It proved very effective and was a new way of presenting an "invisible man". Before there was digital rendering technology all of the camouflage was created optically using photo-chemical means, the result being the end product would never be the same twice when combining the same pieces of film.

Evolution

Throughout their film appearances, Predators have undergone numerous design variations. In Predator 2, the main Predator was designed to look more urban and hip than its predecessor. Design changes included tribal ornamentation on the forehead, which was made steeper and shallower, brighter skin coloration and a greater number of fangs. In , the appearance of the Predators was redesigned to make them seem more heroic, with alterations including a reduction in head and waist size, broader shoulders, a more muscular physique, piranha-like teeth on the upper jaw and dryer, less clammy skin to further differentiate them from the Aliens. In , the Predator was returned to the sleeker design concept used prior to Alien vs. Predator. For the so-called "" seen in , the designers used the difference between a cassette tape and an iPod as an analogy in differentiating the new Predators from the originals. The Super Predators were designed as leaner and taller than the "classic" Predator design, with longer faces, tighter armor and with more swept back dreadlocks.

Name

The Predator species is never given a name in any of the films in which it appears, with the creatures simply being referred to as the Predator both on-screen and in the films' credits. In Predator, refers to the creature as "El diablo que hace trofeos de los hombres", or "The demon who makes trophies of men". However, in expanded universe material the species has been known as the Yautja, the or simply the Hunters. The term Yautja was first used in the novel , which was itself a novelization of the original comic book series, the first media to discuss the Predators at length from their own perspective.

The degree to which the name is recognized by the Yautja themselves has varied from source to source — for instance, in the , the does not recognize this word when it is applied to them. Other sources, however, such as the anthology , has the creatures directly referring to themselves as Yautja.

While never named on-screen, the creatures from the first two films in the series have often come to be known as the and the , respectively, nicknames based upon their chosen hunting grounds and first used in the 2005 video game . With the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, specific Predators were given individual names in the film's credits. This was repeated in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and Predators.

In the Expanded Universe

History

For a complete expanded universe history of the Predator's known activities, see

Biology

Predators breathe 1% more oxygen, and 4% more nitrogen than humans and are capable of adapting themselves to Earth's atmosphere for one week at the most if deprived of a breathing apparatus. Predator blood has the capacity of partially neutralizing the acidity of Alien blood, and Predator flesh and blood, if consumed, is known to have the capacity of greatly lengthening a human's lifespan.

While the maximum lifespan of a Predator is unknown, the species has been known to live for hundreds to thousands of years. It has been implied that one or two centuries is considered young for the species, with relative adolescents of the species not even going on their first Xenomorph hunt before they attain an age of few centuries. Most, however, do not reach senescence due to the rigors of their dangerous and semi-nomadic lifestyle.

Some Predators, referred to as "Hish", have been known to possess a gland located between their neck and collarbone which secretes powerful hormones into their bloodstream and which drives them to hyper-aggression. When this gland is over-stimulated, it sends the creatures into a frenzied rage, causing them to attempt killing any living thing in sight, including members of their own species. This "kill rage" can be contagious and spread from one Predator to another, driving them all to attack each other. These Predators barely survived the wars provoked by their kill glands, and they have learned to control the gland's secretions with artificial hormone regulators.

Males and Females

Bigmama2

Big Mama, a female predator.

Some Predator females have been known to be larger and stronger than males, being one such female. and sporting more prominent mammary glands (like human females). Other Predator females have been witnessed who superficially show little distinction from males in size., a female predator, has been seen in the nude, the image suggesting the female predator reproductive anatomy and female human reproductive anatomy do not differ, at least superficially. Male predators have comparable anatomy to a male human, or at least both are phallic and designed for penetration. Male predators also have visible gonads, again comparable to most mammals, who have exterior testicles. All Yautja onscreen and most of them in the expanded universe have been male, but and are two more examples of female Predators.

There may be variants between clans and Predator sub-species, as the clans do not often interact with each other. Some clans might have females that are larger and stronger than the males and in other clans the opposite may be true. Both genders give off a strong musk to signify aggression, while females can also emit it when in estrus. This musk can be detected by other Predators and canids, though it is imperceptible to humans.

The Hish are unique in that their sexes are fluid. An individual randomly and unwillingly shifts back and forth between "receptive" and "generative" breeder anatomy, although they may psychologically identify with one of the two and resent being the other when it's time to shift.

Reproduction

How Yautja procreate is never explained in detail, however their anatomy implies a process not too different from most earth mammals. According to Hunter's Planet, the length of a Yautja's dreads play a role in how physically appealing they are to one another, males in particular. Short tresses, judging from Machiko's musings, are considered unattractive. Young Yautja are called Pups, Suckers or occasionally, sucklings. Unlike , Yautja have a breeding season, in which the females go into estrus and select the strongest and bravest males to sire their pups. Females do not generally pay much attention to youngbloods or unblooded. It is only when a male reaches status and has worthy kills to his name that a female desires to share his company. , a , is said to have many wives, which suggest Yautja are a polygamous species and that a famous enough male may have access to his own personal harem which he can add to by impressing yet more females, as Nat'Ka'pu thinks winning human trophies will earn him more "conquests". This is further confirmed by the apparent existence of a , made up of female Yautja who have lost their mate.

According to , a "Yautja did what a Yautja had to do" to bolster his line, indicating that aside from attaining glory and honor, continuing ones bloodline is another imperative of the species. It even appears that the and mating and intermingled, with mates and offspring being one of the top motivations for Hunters and Glory being the other. Some Hunters have made names for themselves regarding breeding and the genetic pools just as some have made names for themselves as Hunters. The amount of pups born per pregnancy is never revealed, however it isn't uncommon for particularly esteemed hunters to have 70 or 80 offspring. Yautja are polygamous breeders and have never been known to stay with a single mate.

Yautja are known to practice a form of Eugenics and Elder Predators can deem some males unsuitable for breeding, to the point of even removing their gonads to make them impotent. was one such male, smaller than usual and considered by Elder Hunters for castration for this reason.

Hunting culture

Source: AvP Comics, requires additional sourcing

Yautja culture revolves around the Hunt. They do not hunt to eliminate threats or for food (at least this is not the main reason) but for honor, sport and the thrill of the hunt. Male Predators also Hunt to gain access to females, who will otherwise ignore them, meaning that male cannot continue his bloodline. To Yautja, no hunt meant no will to live. Yautja mark themselves with the blood of their kill. The symbol varies with each clan, but so far the most widely known symbol is of the Thunderbolt. This is symbol of the unnamed worshiped by some, possibly all Yautja.

Combat between Yautja is generally not permitted as the focus of their species is to kill and hunt other life forms. Certain Predator clans have been known to take unorthodox approaches such as accepting humans into their clans. Inter-clan rivalries and internal mutinies have also been known to happen, and the Predator culture has not always been witnessed as being totally uniform.

Rarely, some Predators have been known to kill (or attempt to kill) unarmed men, women and children, often in dishonorable ways such as ambushes or shooting their quarry in the back. Note however these may be renegade clans or more likely, Killers or Bad Bloods (see Castes).

It is the opinion of , a human female accepted into a Predator clan, that the Predators were responsible for the spread of Xenomorphs throughout the galaxy. The Predators themselves deny this, though, stating that the Aliens' large interplanetary distribution is due to simultaneous convergent evolution.

Speculation has it that the and Yautja may have been adversaries. In AVP Requiem, an Engineer helmet is shown as a Predator war trophy. It is also speculated that the Xenomorphs may have been an Engineer weapon against the Yaujta.

Religion

The Predators are polytheistic, and their equivalent of the Grim Reaper is the so-called "Black Warrior", who is seen as an eternal adversary who eventually wins all battles. They also have a warrior god, called Paya, who is godlike in their hunting and fighting abilities. They are also called "The Conquering Warrior".

They also believe in a Warrior god who can wield bolts of lightning and those who honor him mark themselves and their masks with thunderbolts. This god has no name and is simply referred to as a "warrior god" and an "extraterrestrial odin".

Societal structure

Section seriously requires sourcing

According to some reports, Yautja motivations for hunting are not just for sport, but rather for honor, with the species having developed a whole tribal culture around their status at the top of the food chain, as the ultimate Predator. Their code of honor dictates what makes a worthy adversary, and thus will make a Predator or clan more respected.

Yautja clans have been known to be governed by a , which consist of the oldest of the race. Their word is considered law and they ensure that the many clans follow the law. Inter-clan warfare is watched over by the Ancients and they decide matters such as which planet is considered a clans hunting ground. (AvP: Extinction) For example, a high born Yautja was encountered by the mercenary who believed the hunter to be a "" among his race which suggests a possible royalty among their species. (AVP 2) A Young Blood (Young Predator) must pass a series of test from several Elites to become an Elite Hunter. (AVP 2010)

Predator portrayals in comics and novels

In 1989, the Predator franchise was licensed to to produce comics based on the story and concept. That same year Dark Horse began laying the groundwork for a cross-over series between the Predator and their other popular licensed sci-fi property, Aliens. Thus, the Aliens versus Predator line of comics also debuted that year.

While the Predator comics line focused mostly on stories—like the original films—told from a human point of view, with lone Predators as unknown alien beings visiting the Earth in the present or at different points in human history, causing havoc and terror for unknown reasons amongst their human prey; the Alien versus Predator comics—and their spin-off novelizations—started to delve more into stories told from the Predator race's point of view, and reveal more about their culture and customs. It is in these comics, throughout the 1990s, that what is now known as "yautja" culture, and even the name "yautja" originated. That said, yautja in the comics and novels have been prone to a degree of varying interpretations depending on the writer.

In these stories, certain Predator clans have been shown to take unorthodox approaches such as accepting humans into their clans. Inter-clan rivalries and internal mutinies are also depicted, showing the Predators as not having a totally uniform culture. Several times in Alien vs. Predator comics, Predators are seen killing (or attempting to kill) unarmed men, women and children, often in dishonorable ways such as ambushes or shooting their quarry in the back.

Note however most of these differences may be explained as differences between customs from clan to clan, by the existence of multiple Predator-inhabited worlds, and/or by the existence of renegade clans such as the recently introduced "" (see Castes)

Predator portrayals in games

Much of the intricate organization and demographics given about the yautja clans and how they are governed in the 2000s has come from the AvP video game franchise. It is here that they are shown to be governed by a Council of which consist of the oldest of the race. Their word is considered law and they ensure that the many Clans follow the law. Inter-clan warfare is watched over by the Ancients and they decide matters such as which planet is considered a clans hunting ground. () A high born Yautja was encountered by Rykov who believed the hunter to be a "prince" among his race which suggests a possible royalty among their species. () A Young Blood (Young Predator) must pass a series of test from several Elites to become an Elite Hunter. ()

Trivia

  • The goblin spider genus Predatoroonops is named after the Predator, owing to the perceived similarity between the spider's mouthparts and the Predator's mandibles. Additionally, the various sub-species of Predatoroonops all have taxonomic names that reference aspects of , including Predatoroonops schwarzeneggeri (named for ), Predatoroonops maceliot (named for ), Predatoroonops vallarta (named for Puerto Vallarta, one of the filming locations on the movie) and Predatoroonops peterhalli (named for ). There is even a species called Predatoroonops yautja.
  • On March 20, 2015, the Predator was accidentally confirmed (via the Xbox One store) as a guest DLC character in the fighting video game .. The Predator Bundle was eventually released in July 2015.
  • In some books, the named Yautja is used by the predators to define themselves, but in other books, some clans -- such as the -- do not recognize the term and tilt their heads in confusion when humans use it to address them.

Gallery

Predator 63

The Jungle Hunter.

Predator in pursuit of Dutch

The Jungle Hunter's Cloak shorts out.

The City Hunter

The City Hunter.

Predator 003

A wounded hunter

Yautjahumanheightcompare

A Predator compared to humans, from a piece of artwork

Zzz Predator

The Predator in Mortal Kombat X.

Mkxkombatpack-128354
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Behind the scenes

CreedVanDamme

Jean-Claude Van Damme on the Predator set, with Carl Weathers.

Harpoon

The red SFX suit for the original Predator design.

PredatorMaskSum2

The Bio-Masks of (from left to right) Chopper, Celtic, Berserker, Wolf and Scar.

First predator creature

The original predator creature

PredatorAnatomy

Maquette of an unclothed Predator, created for (but not used in) {{AVP1}}


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External links

  • —information about the Predators at the expansive, informative and well-written fansite
  • —article on Wikipedia

References

  1. ↑ (writer and director).  (),  [DVD].
  2. , . , p. 4 (), .
  3. (), Angry Mob Games, Fox Mobile Entertainment [Mobile].
  4. figures
  5. , p. 107 (), .
  6. ↑ , , , , , . If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of 'Predator' (),  [DVD].
  7. .
  8. . , p. 236 (), HarperEntertainment.
  9. ↑ , (writers), (director).  (),  [DVD].
  10. ↑ , (writers), (director).  (),  [DVD].
  11. (), , ,  [Microsoft Windows].
  12. ↑ (), ,  [Microsoft Windows].
  13. ↑ (), , ,  [PlayStation 2, Xbox].
  14. ↑ , .  (), .
  15. ↑ . , p. 237 (), HarperEntertainment.
  16. (writer), (illustrator). #1 (), .
  17. (writer and director).   (),  [DVD].
  18. ↑ . , p. 21 (), .
  19. ↑ , (writers), (director).  (),  [DVD].
  20. . , p. 85 (), .
  21. . , p. 94 (), .
  22. (writer), (directors).  (),  [DVD].
  23. . 'AVP: War', p. 22.
  24. . 'AVP: War', p. 23.
  25. Aliens vs. Predator: War, Page 69
  26. ↑ "". Retrieved on 2014-01-16.
  27. ↑ "". Retrieved on 2014-01-16.
  28. ↑ Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 100 (), .
  29. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 101 (), .
  30. Les Paul Robley. Predator: The Original Makeup (), .
  31. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 103 (), .
  32. ↑ , , , , . The Hunters and the Hunted: The Making of 'Predator 2' (),  [DVD].
  33. "". The Digital Fix (2006-08-18). Retrieved on 2010-08-07.
  34. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 336 ().
  35. , . , p. 128 (), .
  36. , , . , p. 128 ().
  37. "". Uk.movies.ign.com (2010-05-06). Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  38. . , p. 250 ().
  39. , . , p. 7 (), .
  40. , . , p. 6 (), .
  41. Aliens vs. Predator: Omnibus, p.343
  42. , . , p. 128 (), .
  43. ↑ Brescovit, Bonaldo, Santos, Ott & Rheims, 2012: The Brazilian goblin spiders of the new genus Predatoroonops (Araneae, Oonopidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, n. 370, pp. 1–68 ().

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