In Prey, the newest sequel to the Predator franchise, fans will be introduced to a new batch of characters. Even though audiences come for the violence and gore that comes from the titular Yautja Hunters, it’s the human characters that guide the movies and actually keep viewers invested.
For every character that is clearly cannon fodder for the alien hunters, there are the characters who stand out from the rest. These can be the heroes, villains, or anti-heroes, with everyone providing something different for the fans to enjoy, whether it’s action, iconic lines, or character development. Who are the most memorable characters in the series?
In more ways than one, Lex Woods is written to be an analog for Ellen Ripley in Alien Vs. Predator. She’s smart, she’s reasonable, she knows how to survive, and sadly, she’s the one person nobody listens to. However, unlike Ripley, Lex has the advantage of having a Yautja Hunter as an ally, which makes for a fun dynamic.
She’s one of the few individuals that managed to kill a Xenomorph with her own hands, which earns her a handmade shield and spear from the Predator. Whereas everyone else only cares about the artifacts, she cares about the people on the mission and is willing to fight for survival.
This character also falls into the Ripley archetype, more embracing Ripley from Aliens, as she has to protect her young daughter from the swarms of Xenomorphs. It goes to show how influential Ripley is as the main protagonist. When it came to characterization in Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, the movie did not deliver, but Kelly was certainly the stand-out.
Kelly was a military officer who came home to a bit of an estranged relationship with her daughter. The loss of the father during the xenomorph infestation forces her to take care of her daughter by herself, and they end up bonding over the trauma. It’s nowhere nearly as effective as Ripley and Newt, but compared to the other characters in AVPR, Kelly was easily the best.
Despite being heavily advertised and often seen on the covers of Blu-Rays for Predators, Laurence Fishburne’s character actually has a rather small role. He’s a soldier who was dropped into the Game Preserve ten years prior, showing that he was an effective survivor. However, years of isolation and fear broke Noland down.
As a result, he talks to an imaginary friend and ends up being quite quirky with the other survivors until he turns on them. Mixed with a few memorable one-liners, Noland stood thanks to Fishburne’s charismatic performance, and he displayed more depth than most characters in Predators.
At first, Edwin just comes off as the odd man out of the group of hardened killers in Predators. That all changes with a twist in the climax that this whole time, he is a serial killer. Topher Grace shows off his talent as an actor throughout the whole film as a result.
For most of the runtime in Predators, Edwin comes off as a charming regular person who happens to be a smart doctor. Then like a switch being flicked, Edwin turns into a sadistic murderer who is genuinely creepy and only had to cut Isabelle once to bring her down into a paralyzed state.
Sometimes a character is elevated simply because of the actor, and that is definitely the case for Peter Keyes, who is portrayed by Gary Busey in Predator 2. Busey brings the same wild and cartoonish energy to Keyes as he brings to most roles which makes him a joy to watch.
On top of delivering some of the funniest lines in Predator 2, Keyes is also the character who actually knows anything about the alien hunters. He was able to bring exposition without it bogging down the film since his character is so interesting to watch. This would also result in Jake Busey, Gary’s real-life son, playing Keyes’ son in 2018’s The Predator.
At first, Mac is quite the silent soldier who simply did his job and seemingly had a good friendship with Blaine. However, once Blaine is slaughtered by the Yautja and Mac witnesses the cloaked figure escape, it triggers Mac to become the most silent and calm of the team to the most frantic.
Suddenly, the fight against the titular Predator becomes a personal fight to him. He’s the most determined to kill it to avenge his friend. It makes the audience want to root for him, especially when he’s talking to the dead Blaine in the night sky.
Most of the people chosen for the Game Preserve in Predators are ruthless killers, but Isabelle is not. She fully admits to her guilt, especially for causing the death of her spotter during a mission. She’s also the only one who actually tries to care for others in this group of strangers.
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Not many would be willing to put a tortured man out of his misery so he’s not used as bait. Of course, her soft and caring side is what gets her nearly killed by Edwin, but that side of her is also what keeps her alive. She’s still a deadly sniper and a fighter in the end, but of all the characters in Predators, she is the most human.
This character is the exact opposite of Isabelle, but in a good way. Royce is a black ops soldier who the audience never really learns anything about, and that gives him a mysterious presence. He also is a bit more heartless, willing to sacrifice others in order to gain an advantage.
In some ways, he can be almost antagonistic, but he’s not a villain. Royce is cold but he was willing to risk coming back to save Isabelle and kill a Super Predator. Adrien Brody also makes the character feel believable as this mystery soldier, even if he sometimes sounds like he’s doing Batman’s voice.
Dutch Schaefer at first comes off as a typical but fun Arnold Schwarzenegger action hero character. That all changes after the Yautja Hunter becomes the new main threat; he shows more depth and becomes a man trying to lead his team out of the jungle for survival. Dutch changes even further when everyone is gone and it’s just him alone in the jungle with the Predator.
He becomes as much of a hunter as the alien that’s stalking him, with Schwarzenegger giving arguably one of his best performances. Dutch is a big reason why the original Predator still holds up. It’s also refreshing that a Schwarzenegger character is not impervious to pain and actually only wins thanks to some quick thinking.
Danny Glover is not some muscle-bound action star like Schwarzenegger, so Mike Harrigan is a very different character in Predator 2. He’s a veteran cop who is more of the everyman trying to keep peace on the streets of Los Angeles, which makes him more grounded. Mike Harrigan also ends up having a story arc with the City Hunter.
This Yautja does more than pick off people, it directly chooses friends and colleagues. It toys with Mike, dangling the necklace of his best friend to taunt him. He turns Mike into a more formidable foe to hunt, and the rivalry between the two becomes an interesting cat and mouse game; Mike’s journey is actually much more personal than anyone else’s in this franchise.
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