- "Grab a seat. Enjoy the show. This is history."
- ―Keyes (from Predator 2)
Peter J. Keyes was a government agent and head of the top-secret OWLF, whose sole aim was the capture of a live Predator for military purposes. In 1997, Keyes was put in command of a small team operating in Los Angeles, under cover of a special DEA task force investigating the city's drug war, that attempted to capture the City Hunter.
Keyes frequently clashed with Detective Lieutenant Mike Harrigan's investigation of the murders committed by the City Hunter, perhaps never more notably than when Harrigan personally killed the very creature Keyes and his men were attempting to capture. Keyes himself was killed by the Predator whilst trying to capture it.
Peter Keyes graduated with a PhD in Physical Sciences from Cornell University. After graduating college he was quickly placed with the Strategic Defense Institute and two years later was made a Captain in Air Force Intelligence. At some point following this, Keyes became head of the top-secret OWLF taskforce, investigating Predator-related incidents around the globe and trying to capture one of the beasts to harness the power of their scientific technology.
In 1987, Keyes and the OWLF learnt of Alan "Dutch" Schaefer's encounter with a Predator in the jungles of Val Verde. Keyes subsequently tracked Dutch down to a hospital where he was being treated for an illness akin to radiation sickness, thought to be a result of exposure to the Predator's Self-Destruct Device. Upon hearing Dutch's account of events, an OWLF team was sent into Val Verde to investigate. After studying the site where the Predator's Self-Destruct Device had been detonated, the team discovered evidence of a spaceship launch in the jungle — unknown to them, the deceased Predator's ship had automatically returned to the Predator homeworld following its owner's death with a record of what had happened. Dutch later escaped from hospital and vanished, although Keyes personally believed he was still alive as of 1997.
Hunting a hunter
By 1997, now fully versed on a number of previous Predator attacks, Keyes took a small team of agents to Los Angeles with the aim of capturing the Predator that was running loose in the city. Keyes' taskforce operated under cover of a special DEA unit sent to tackle the city's rampant drug war, thereby securing the completed cooperation of the Los Angeles Police Department but yet keeping their true intentions classified.
Despite interference from Lieutenant Detective Harrigan, who refused to bow to Keyes' intimidation and warnings to stay away from the case, Keyes and his men tracked the City Hunter to the city's slaughterhouse district, where the creature would travel every two days to feed on meat. They set an elaborate trap for the Predator, flooding the warehouse with radioactive dust to negate the City Hunter's Cloak, donning thermal insulation suits and ultraviolet lamps to render them invisible to the creature's infrared vision, and arming themselves with liquid nitrogen cannons to freeze the Predator alive. Just moments before the plan was due to be set in motion, Keyes captured the ever-persistent Harrigan, eagerly divulging what he knew about the Predators and what he and his team intended to do.
Keyes personally led the assault team, confident that they had the element of surprise. However, the City Hunter became aware of their presence, and after cycling through its various vision modes it saw the beams of light coming from the ultraviolet lamps being used by the OWLF men. Despite Harrigan's warnings, Keyes' team was decimated in short order, with Keyes himself taking a hit from the Predator's Plasmacaster. Harrigan subsequently confronted the City Hunter, but the creature soon gained the upper hand and prepared to finish him. He was on the verge of being killed when Keyes intervened, still alive but horribly burned, and the OWLF agent briefly managed to subdue the Predator with his nitrogen gun. Nevertheless, the creature once again rallied itself and sliced Keyes in half with its Smart Disc.
Personality and Traits
Confident, arrogant and suave, Keyes commanded complete respect within his agency, operating with total secrecy and high level clearance. He was apparently a somewhat ethical man — his sole reason for capturing a Predator was so that his country's military might benefit, and he also mentioned that he did not condone or admire the Predator because of what it did, but simply for what it was. However, Keyes was entirely ruthless in his actions, giving little consideration to the numerous victims claimed by the City Hunter as the OWLF studied its patterns and prepared their trap. On several occasions, Keyes threatened to have Harrigan "disappeared" for his continued interference, and while he apparently spared the detective when he was captured by the OWLF, Harrigan was fully aware Keyes would likely have had him eliminated later to conceal what he had witnessed.
When leading the capture team in the slaughterhouse, Keyes donned a special thermal regulation suit to mask his infrared signature from the City Hunter's vision. He also carried a liquid nitrogen cannon, briefly succeeding in subduing the Predator with the weapon, only for it to recover and kill him.
- In The Hunters and the Hunted: The Making of 'Predator 2', Keyes actor Gary Busey states that his character "set up the last mission" (referring to the events of Predator) and that Dutch was "lost" nine weeks after the events of the previous film. He also states that the Predators understand the quantum theory of gravity and that the OWLF's objective is to talk with the Predator to determine why and how he does what he does, and where his weaponry and self-defense mechanisms come from. However, it is not entirely clear how serious Busey is being in this interview.
- The character of Peter Keyes was originally supposed to be Dutch from Predator, to be played again by Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, Schwarzenegger declined the role over a pay dispute. As a result, the role was rewritten and recast.
- Keyes notably shares his middle initial with another antagonistic government/corporate agent in the franchise, Carter J. Burke.
- Keyes is the only character to ever use the word "predator" to refer to the Predators on-screen. The word "predators" is also used by Isabelle in Predators, but she uses it to refer to the human characters in the film, not the Predator creatures.
- According to screenwriters Jim and John Thomas, Keyes' name is a reference to the character of "Keys" from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Both characters are antagonistic government agents in pursuit of an alien lifeform for study.
- Inside Peter Keyes' trailer, if you look closely at the monitors you can see the word 'Beowulf' written in the lower left corner of the screens, linking the Predator to the man eating monster Grendel.
- Two Predator comics characters appear to be clear references, or at least homages, to Keyes — the special agents "Blondie" from Predator: Race War and Claude Loudermilk from Predator: Bad Blood (both of whom may or may not be the same person). Both characters are, like Keyes, Caucasian, blonde, impeccably dressed in suits, egotistical and slightly power-mad special agents who lead a secret government task force hunting the Predators.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers), Stephen Hopkins (director). Predator 2 (1990), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Simon Hawke. Predator 2, p. 137 (1990), Jove Books.
- ↑ Simon Hawke. Predator 2, p. 138 (1990), Jove Books.
- ↑ Simon Hawke. Predator 2, p. 179 (1990), Jove Books.
- ↑ "DigitalSpy - Arnold Schwarzenegger 'almost did Predator 2'". Retrieved on 2014-10-10.
- ↑ Jim Thomas, John Thomas. Predator 2 audio commentary (2005), 20th Century Fox [DVD].