The Plasma Caster, also known as the Laser Cannon or the Shoulder Cannon, is a Yautja long-range energy projector weapon. Capable of guiding armor-penetrating plasma bolts towards distant targets, it is arguably the most powerful and technologically advanced offensive tool at the Yautja's disposal. The bolts fired by the weapon explode in a burst of plasma shrapnel upon striking a target, causing grievous wounds and potentially damaging other enemies near the point of impact.
Young Yautja are not equipped with Plasma Casters and must undergo a Rite of Passage where they must go on a Hunt using only their bladed weapons. Plasma Casters and other advanced weaponry are only bestowed upon Predators as they gain experience and take part in greater Hunts. Despite the enormous power of the Plasma Caster, or rather because of it, it is considered among the least honorable weaponry the Yautja posses. Often, when faced with particularly worthy prey, a Predator will discard his Plasma Caster and rely instead on its more basic weapons.
The most commonly seen version of the Plasma Caster is shoulder-mounted. Capable of firing multiple long-range bolts of charged plasma, the power of each individual burst can be adjusted manually, ranging from a minor setting to kill individual prey to a blast powerful enough to breach the hulls of interstellar craft. These energy bolts are typically pale blue in color, although yellow and gold colored shots have also been observed.
The Plasma Caster is aimed via a targeting system typically built into the Predator's Bio-Mask, causing the weapon to track with the user's head movement, although some have been seen with integral targeting systems. Often, a three-pointed targeting laser sight is also used to increase accuracy. The tracking servos of the weapon are some of the most vulnerable articles carried by a Predator and damage typically renders the weapon unusable, although some models can be modified and used as a hand-held weapon in the event of tracking failure. Plasma Casters also appear to have a degree of targeting memory, able to track and fire at a target even if the Predator itself turns in another direction, although it is likely this only applies to stationary targets.
The exact mechanism by which the shoulder-mounted Plasma Caster is fired remains unclear. While some individuals have been seen to fire the weapon using their Wrist Gauntlet, others have done so without any apparent input; it has been suggested that Predators may activate the Plasma Caster by manipulating buttons on the inside of their Bio-Mask with their mandibles. A Plasma Caster can be charged by the user when fired to generate a more powerful shot that is more damaging to prey. By default, the weapon's attack range is greater than the Predator's visual range, however a Predator's mask incorporates a zoom function that changes this relationship, enabling a Predator to act as a sniper if required. The basic shoulder-mounted Plasma Caster can be dual wielded (i.e. one on each shoulder) if two are collected, although this does not seem to be common behavior and is reserved for particularly dangerous situations.
Plasma Cannon ClassicEdit
The shoulder-mounted Plasma Cannon Classic fires explosive Plasma Bolts. It is the most common Plasma Caster variant, having been used by the Jungle Hunter and many others.
Plasma Cannon CelticEdit
The Plasma Cannon Celtic is a relatively large shoulder-mounted Plasma Cannon capable of automatic fire. Despite its name, Celtic did not use one during his 2004 hunt in the Pyramid under Bouvet Island. Scar, however, did use one during the hunt.
Plasma Cannon ChopperEdit
The Plasma Cannon Chopper is very large shoulder-mounted Plasma Caster. It is capable of instantly vaporizing some targets with its Rail-Gun beam. Like the Plasma Cannon Celtic, Chopper did not use the Plasma Caster during the 2004 hunt, despite the weapon's name.
Plasma Cannon WolfEdit
The Plasma Cannon Wolf consists of dual shoulder-mounted Plasma Casters. Wolf is the only known user of the Plasma Casters. They also have the ability to be converted into the handheld Plasma Cannon.
The Plasma Cannon is a handheld version of the Plasma Caster. During a hunt in 2004, when Wolf's Plasma Casters were damaged, he fashioned a Plasma Cannon out of the components. It was later acquired by the Yutani Corporation after a human survivor, Dallas Howard, stole it from Wolf and used it to aid in the humans' escape.
Gauntlet Plasma BoltEdit
Super Predator Plasma CasterEdit
The Berserker and the Tracker on the Game Preserve Planet used a slightly modified Plasma Caster design that employs a revolving action to fire multiple plasma bolts at any time, similar to a Gatling gun. Berserker and Tracker both used this weapon while hunting captured humans on the planet.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Alien vs. PredatorEdit
For Alien vs. Predator, director Paul W. S. Anderson wanted Predators bigger than the ones seen in Predator and Predator 2. As a result, the Plasma Casters used by the Predators in Alien vs. Predator (with the exception of one version) were also enlarged. As with most of the creature props, Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. created the Plasma Casters used in the film.
When concept artist Joseph C. Pepe designed a multitude of different-sized Predator Plasma Casters as called for in the script, he paid close attention to the previously established design aesthetic of the Plasma Caster used in Predator and deviated from it only with strategic care. In a piece of concept art by Pepe, it is specified that there are three differently-sized variations of Plasma Casters in the film — large "Caliber", medium "Caliber" and the original Plasma Caster seen in Predator (the smallest of the three). Concept artist Farzad Varahramyan also created a piece of concept art showing an early variation on the Plasma Caster.
Model maker Nick Seldon worked on prototypes for the large Plasma Caster. To endure the rigors of shooting an action film, it was necessary to produce multiple copies of all the weapons and armor, including the Plasma Casters. "Great care" was taken to match the level of aging and detail on the duplicates of each prop.
Using the (at the time) few available reference photos and dark, blurry screen captures from Predator, the original Plasma Caster from the film was "painstakingly" recreated to be "as authentic as possible." The prop of the weapon made for the shot where the humans find three of the weapons in the sarcophagus was cast from a dense rubber, finished with a metallic crackle finish and measures 28 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. Traces of black tack were left on the underside when it was used in filming. The rubber prop was sold by the Prop Store via their website and apparently later sold on Amazon.com.
The animatronic large "Caliber" Plasma Caster used by Scar was mechanized by mechanical designer Lon Muckey, who was assisted by mechanical designer Samara Hagopian. As the medium and "original" Plasma Casters are only ever seen displayed inside the case and stored in backpacks, they were likely represented entirely by static props, with the larger weapon being the only one of the three to be represented by a prop with animatronics.
- Wolf is the only Yautja to wield two Plasma Casters simultaneously on film. He is also the only one to use a Plasma Cannon.
- While almost all Plasma Casters have their targeting hardware built into the Predator's Bio-Mask, Greyback in Predator 2 had a Plasma Caster with its own integrated laser sight, implying it can be used without a mask.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ Alien vs Predator: The Last of His Clan
- ↑ (2007) Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: Inside the Monster Shop. Design Studio Press, 80.
- ↑ Paul W. S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Predator: Concrete Jungle [PlayStation 2, Xbox]. Vivendi Universal Games.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and John McTiernan (director). Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and Stephen Hopkins (director). Predator 2 [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator 2 [Microsoft Windows]. Monolith Productions.
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator: Extinction [PlayStation 2, Xbox]. Zono Inc.
- ↑ Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers) and the Brothers Strause (directors). Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 AVP: Evolution
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpgznoPCRPk
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 (2004) AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI. Design Studio Press, 33.
- ↑ (2004) AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI. Design Studio Press, 34.
- ↑ (2004) AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI. Design Studio Press, 48.
- ↑ (2004) AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI. Design Studio Press, 103.
- ↑ (2004) AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI. Design Studio Press, 56.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 http://www.propstore.com/mobile/product/alien-vs-predator/small-shoulder-cannon-h/
- ↑ http://www.amazon.com/Original-Movie-Prop-Predator-Shoulder/dp/B00BBGMOHE