Predator Species Name Is Not What Everyone Says

By Zack Zagranis | Published

predator series

Canon has become a hotly debated topic in recent years. Whether it’s Star Wars or Marvel, fans can debate for hours over what’s “canon” and what’s not if given the opportunity. With that in mind, it’s time to clarify something for the Predator fandom: Yautja is not the canon name for the Predator species, and it never was.

There Is No Official Name

predator die hard

That is not to say that fans can’t continue to use the term if they want. You’re free to call the giant alien hunters anything you want. Headcanon and fan canon—often referred to as fanon—are fun ways to make a franchise more personal for the individual dreaming it up. But for all of you pedantic geeks out there who care about such things, the term Yautja has never been officially adopted by either 20th Century Fox or Disney. 

Yauntja Is From A Comic Book

So why do so many sources—including Wikipedia—list Yautja as the official name for the Predator species? Well, it’s a little bit complicated. The name comes from a 1994 novel written by Steve Perry—no, not the guy from Journey—titled Alien vs. Predator: Prey, which is itself a novelization of the Alien vs. Predator comic book series. Already, we’re on shaky ground as far as canonicity is concerned with a book based on a comic based on a (at the time) unofficial crossover between two film franchises.

The Problem With Canon

Like many other popular sci-fi properties, including Star Wars and Star Trek, the Predator franchise contains a rich tapestry of comic books, novels, and video games created to flesh out the world of the movies. And as with any fandom that originates onscreen, the Predator franchise doesn’t consider concepts found in the supplementary material “canon” unless they also appear in a movie or are otherwise acknowledged by the creators. The problem is that, as of right now, the official Predator canon consists of five movies, making it unlikely that Yautja will get canonized anytime soon.

An Ongoing Debate

alien predator series

The Alien vs. Predator films themselves aren’t even 100 percent canon. People in the Alien camp don’t recognize the films whatsoever, and while some people in the Predator camp do, it’s more of a “Well, we didn’t film anything that technically contradicts them, so…” followed by a shrug emoji. Considering the canon status of two officially licensed movies containing a good deal of Predator lore, which has yet to be confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, why would fans cling to a term that originates from an even more questionable source?

Only Recently Called Predator On-Screen

To be fair, the Predator species is never given an official name in any of the movies, even the AVP ones. No one even referred to one of the creatures as a Predator on screen until 2018’s The Predator. Given the circumstances, it’s not unreasonable for fans of the series to adopt an unofficial name for their favorite intergalactic hunters.

Yautja isn’t even the only name given to the aliens. Other novels, comics, and video games refer to the Predators as the Hish. It should go without saying that the name “Hish,” is equally non-canon.

Dreadzy McMandibles

Ultimately, it’s all make-believe, and you can call any fictional species anything you want. Dreadzy McMandibles would be our suggestion for the official name of the Predator species. Just don’t try to pass Yautja—or any other name—off as official Predator canon because, from one pedantic nerd to another, it’s not.