Badlands Is The Predator Story Fans Have Been Waiting Decades To See

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

predator die hard

It was recently announced that Elle Fanning is in talks to star in Badlands, a new standalone film in the Predator Franchise. While the news is no doubt exciting for fans of Elle Fanning as an actor, the film’s title should have Predator fans excited for a different reason. After all these years could we finally be getting a Predator western?

The Badlands

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The Badlands are a popular setting in the Western genre. The terrain’s steep, barren slopes and deep ravines provide the perfect location for shootouts and games of cat and mouse. In other words, the Badlands would be the perfect place for a Predator to hunt down some outlaws.

Predator Vs. Cowboys

laurence fishburne predators

While it’s possible that the name could refer to something else, Badlands as a Predator vs. Cowboys scenario would be the most satisfying. Prey showed how cool a Predator in the 1700s could be; now it’s time to see how the folks on the Oregon Trail would cope with an eight-foot-tall invisible space monster.

Samurai Vs. Predators

To be fair, the Wild West isn’t the only setting fans want to see the Predator in. Another fan-favorite pic for a future movie is feudal Japan.

But as awesome as the Predator fighting a samurai would be, Badlands doesn’t exactly scream Predator meets Shogun.

The underrated Predators (2010) features a scene where a Predator duels a yakuza boss with a samurai sword. The scene even uses that samurai trope where they both run past each other in the tall grass, and one falls down dead.

We’re not saying more Predators fighting samurai would be a bad thing, but we’d rather see something from Badlands we’ve never seen before in a Predator movie: a quick-draw showdown.

A Western In The Future?

How cool would it be to see the Predator and a cowboy involved in a duel to see who can draw their gun first? Or what about a Predator on horseback?

Maybe a poker game in a saloon where someone draws the dreaded “dead man’s hand” and, after making a joke about how they’re not superstitious, gets decapitated by a Predator? If Badlands is the first Predator Western, as we suspect, then there’s no end to the fun ways 20th-century can play with the genre.

At least one competing publication claims to have heard from a source that Badlands is a Predator outing set in the future rather than the past.

While that might put a crimp in our “Old” West theory, there’s no reason the movie couldn’t still be a Western. There are a ton of sci-fi properties out there, like Fallout: New Vegas and Firefly, that while set in the future are still very much Westerns.

A Standalone

predator badlands

One of the only things we know for sure about Badlands is that it’s not a sequel to Prey. Several reports indicate that Prey‘s director, Dan Trachtenberg, is working on a sequel to the sleeper Hulu hit as well as Badlands. This would also explain why Badlands is constantly referred to as a “standalone” Predator adventure.

Whether Badlands features pioneers defending the frontier from a Predator or some other high-concept scenario, we’re just excited to be getting another Predator movie from Dan Trachtenberg. Of course, a couple of six-guns and some ten-gallon hats definitely wouldn’t hurt.