‘Prey’: The meaning of the gun

One would assume one Predator a prequel set hundreds of years before any of the previous installments in the franchise would only contain glancing connections to the earlier (technically later) films. But the new movie Exchange actually focuses on an object with direct ties to the other movies, and knowing where the object ends up is key to getting a handle on what Exchange does and where the franchise could be headed. (SPOILERS to follow Predator 2 and for Exchangesomewhat obvious.)

The item in question is an old flintlock pistol, which becomes an important weapon in Exchange‘s battle between a new Predator and a young Comanche warrior named Naru, who is the film’s hero. While Exchange takes place in 1719, centuries before Arnold Schwarzenegger first declared that if the Predator bleeds he could kill it, this gun has been seen in one of the previous Predator successors.

IN Predator 2, hard-boiled LAPD officer Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) ends up in a mano-a-mano battle with a Predator in the bowels of the creature’s ship. With a little luck and ingenuity, Harrigan manages to kill the Predator with his own weapon. At that point, a whole crew of Predator creatures emerge from the misty interior of the ship. As the group collects the body of their fallen brother, their leader Harrigan tosses an antique flint lock, apparently as a trophy for his kill.

“Take it,” Predator hisses. Harrigan inspects the gun, which reads “Raphael Adolini, 1715.”

The age of the gun implied that the Predator race had a long history of hunting Earth – a dangling plot thread that was basically left unexplored for 30 years (at least in Predator movie, it comes in Predator novels and comics) until Exchange came along to tell the story of the alien’s first hunt on Earth.

To further connect Exchange to the previous ones Predator movie, the Adolini gun from Predator 2 is the same as shown in Exchange. In the new film, Raphael Adolini himself appears as a translator for a group of French fur traders. The traders slaughter a herd of buffalo and later capture Naru to use her as bait against the Predator. After the Predator slaughters most of the French anyway, the badly wounded Adolini offers Naru his gun in exchange for medicine for his wounds.

Naru then uses the gun, along with the knowledge she has gained in her other encounters with the Predator, to defeat the creature.

Ironically, while the film inserts the Adolini gun in the early days of the Predator mythology, it doesn’t actually explain how the predators came from Predator 2 ended with it. The predator i Exchange doesn’t survive to become one of the aliens we saw in that movie; Naru kills it in Exchange‘s final scenes. And there are no other Predators in the movie that can take the flint lock. It is still unclear how the gun passed from Naru back to the Predators, so that they could then give it to Harrigan centuries later.

What Prey does implies is that this gun is more than just a random object. The fact that it ended up in the hands of the so-called “Elder Predator” from Predator 2 after it ends, this movie in Naru’s possession would either be the biggest coincidence in history, or it means that the Predators came to believe that the Adolini gun was an extremely valuable and important weapon because it was used to kill one of the ‚Äč‚Äčtheir own, and so they tracked it down and bought it back on purpose. Which, given the Predators’ peculiar moral code and their love of hunting, would make some sense.

Perhaps more importantly, it would provide a Exchange sequel to a ready-made premise. Exchange‘s animated closing credits strongly suggest exactly that, where Naru’s tribe looks on as more Predator ships arrive on Earth, ready for another hunt.

Prey is now available on Hulu.

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