|"Is that damage?"|
"It looks like damage."
|"What's the matter? The CIA got you pushing too many pencils?"
The Yautja, (pronounced Ya-OOT-ja), known colloquially as the Predators or Hunters, are an extraterrestrial species characterized by their hunting of other dangerous species for sport and honor, including humans. They were also referred to once as Xenopredators.
The Yautja are a sentient, humanoid race that breathe an atmosphere similar to that of Earth's, but possess a level of technological advancement far in excess of anything available to humans. The Predators stalk and kill their prey using a combination of highly advanced technology, such as active camouflage and energy weapons, combined with traditional ancient weapons, such as blades, spears and nets. The Predators often ritualistically mutilate their victims and usually claim a trophy from their kills. Capable of interstellar travel in star ships, the Predators have hunted on Earth for centuries and have also had prior contact with the Engineers. They have been known to deliberately breed Xenomorphs in order to hunt them, often as part of initiation rituals for young Predators.
The Predator was designed in 1987 by Stan Winston after the first alien creature constructed for the film Predator proved unsatisfactory. Winston repeatedly credited director and friend James Cameron for coming up with the Predator's distinctive mandibles, which Cameron suggested them to him during a flight they were taking together. Although the specifics of the creature's appearance have evolved over time, the basic design has changed little since its original inception.
Aside from their repeated conflicts with humans, the Predators have notably been associated with Xenomorph XX121 (the Alien), leading to the extensive Alien vs. Predator franchise, including the films Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). The Predators have also featured heavily in numerous literature and video game spin-offs, including crossovers with other well-known franchises.
Predators almost always operate alone, exceptions being when young Predators undertake their first Hunt as a means of initiation, although even then each member of the group is expected to hunt for and by himself. When hunting, Predators notably follow a strict code of honor that dictates the manner in which they will hunt their prey.
Predators are bipedal humanoids, physically distinguishable from humans by their greater height, the long, hair-like appendages on their heads (nicknamed dreadlocks), their reptilian skin and their faces, which feature arthropod-like mandibles and no visible nose. The biological purpose of the distinctive mandibles is unclear — some have proposed they may be used in reproduction or mating rituals. They also seem to be utilized by Yautja to convey emotions (for example, splayed mandibles apparently signify anger or surprise). As well as the fleshy dreadlocks around the side of the head, some Predators have also been seen to possess sparse, coarse facial hair on their cheeks and above the eyes.
While generally uniform, each Yautja's physical appearance includes a number of subtle variations, akin to human genetic diversity. Similarly, while Predator heights vary, they are typically over 7 feet tall, although some have been known to grow to 8 feet or even taller. Despite this, shorter individuals have been recorded, such as Mahnde or the aptly-named Shorty, who stood the height of a typical human. These individuals are unusual and their smaller height the subject of ridicule in Yautja society. The species' reptile-like skin can range in color from light to dark, be mottled or clear, and can appear dry or moist and clammy.
Yautja are highly resilient to physical damage, capable of recovering from multiple gunshot wounds with minimal or even no medical attention and surviving radiation doses which would be fatal to humans. They are also highly resilient to most bacteria and viruses. They are incredibly strong, easily capable of outmatching a conditioned adult human male in unarmed combat and able to land blows that can shatter solid concrete. They are capable of tearing a human's head and spine from the body with little effort, while some larger specimens have even been seen to tear a human body in half using only their bare hands.
This strength evidently extends to their lower bodies as well, as Predators have been seen to jump up to three times their own height, and are capable of falling up to ten times their height and landing safely on their feet. They are skilled climbers, and in fact appear to prefer moving at height through trees or across rooftops in pursuit of prey, typically jumping from one vantage point to the next. Though capable of surviving exposure in Antarctic temperatures for an extended period of time, it seems as though Predators have a preference for hot equatorial climates.
According to Isabella Borgia, Yautja possess "superior genetic material" compared to humans that, if used correctly, could enhance humanity as a species. The augmentation of Hunter Borgia was one such project carried out in this regard, although the genetic experimentation was not completed before Hunter was slain by the Yautja known as Scarface. Nevertheless, Yautja genes are evidently "potent" enough that, when one is impregnated with a Xenomorph Chestburster, the resulting creature adopts more pronounced physical characteristics from its host than might otherwise be expected — such as dreadlocks and mandibles — leading to the distinctive Predalien caste.
Their blood is luminescent phosphor green in color, and has the capacity to partially neutralize the acidity of Xenomorph blood. It has also been known to bestow significant life-giving properties on humans, capable of extending a person's lifespan well beyond what would normally be possible. It is thought Yautja may be cold-blooded, hence their documented affinity for hot, humid conditions.
Predators' vision operates mainly in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum; they can easily detect heat differentials in their surroundings, but are unable to easily distinguish among objects of the same relative temperature. A Predator's helmet or Bio-Mask greatly increases its ability to see in a variety of spectrums, ranging from the low infrared to the high ultraviolet, and also filters ambient heat from the area, allowing them to distinguish prey with greater clarity and detail. While they are seemingly capable of breathing Earth's atmosphere, they have been known to use some form of breathing apparatus in the event of losing their Bio-Mask.
Predators' dietary habits are not clearly established, although the City Hunter that stalked Los Angeles was known to visit a slaughterhouse in the city every two days to feed on the meat stored there, suggesting a carnivorous or perhaps omnivorous diet. In one instance, a contamination, caused by Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15, drove a mutated Predator to cannibalize one of the last surviving members of its own hunting squad.
While the maximum or typical lifespan of a Predator is not known, it is accepted as being well in excess of human lifespans, and it has been implied that Predator Elders can live for hundreds to thousands of years.
Speech, language and communication
- Main article: Yautja language
Predators possess their own language, both in spoken and written form, the former of which resembles a series of clicks, roars, snarls and growls. The written language is expressed in a pattern of dashes not dissimilar in form and function to many Earth-based languages. These written symbols appear on the creatures' gauntlet displays, helmets, architecture and many other surfaces. Predators regularly imitate human speech that they overhear. It is unclear to what degree the Yautja can comprehend this speech, although the creatures at least seem to hold some understanding of the language as they have been known to repeat phrases at vaguely appropriate times as a form of communication with prey. Older Predators with more experience among humans have on occasion been known to actually learn to speak English, at least to a limited extent.
It has been known for humans and Yautja to successfully communicate using sign language.
There is evidence that Yautja understand the concept of humor. For example, during events on Bouvet Island, the Predator Scar deliberately caused a deceased Xenomorph to shoot out its inner jaw and startle Lex, and her shock and fear apparently gave Scar some amusement. According to Machiko Noguchi, laughter is universal — even in their species — and the Predator equivalent of a belly laugh is the rapid clicking of tusks.
Clothing, Technology, and Armament
Clothing and armor
Yautja clothing and armor can be as varied as the physical appearance of Yautjta themselves and appears to be based largely on personal preference of the individual. Design changes can include tribal ornamentation on the forehead, different arrangements of armor plates and different colors/metals used for the individual armor pieces.
Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of a Predator's armor is its Bio-Mask, the outward design of which can range from simple and utilitarian to elaborate and decorative. Another common piece of Yautja clothing is a heated wire mesh undersuit with temperature control elements to help the Predator adapt to the harshest of cold environments. Other items, such as the metallic armor plates and bandoleers for weapons, including grenades, are applied over the top of this mesh. Wrist gauntlets provide a number of weapons, including retractable Wristblades and self-destruct explosives, as well as computerized control for many of the Predator's systems.
- Main article: Yautja technology
Yautja technology is distinctive in many respects, not least of which is its unusual combination of ornate, tribal appearance masking deadly, sophisticated weaponry. However, despite the species' obvious technological prowess, including access to adaptive camouflage and plasma weaponry, traditional, ancient weapons, such as blades, knives and spears, are still employed widely (and apparently considered by the Yautja as being more "honorable" than advanced technology).
At least one Yautja weapon uses a metal that does not correspond to any known element on the periodic table, and many devices have been shown to be completely resistant to the effects of the acidic blood of Xenomorphs, an otherwise incredibly corrosive and destructive substance. With this said however, the Wristblades and chest armor of immature Young Blood Yautja are still made of metal that is not resistant to Xenomorph blood; it seems such advanced armor must be "earned" through initiation rituals that first test the individual's prowess with more rudimentary and challenging equipment. Many of the Yatuja's tools make use of thermal imaging to track prey, while some aspects of their technology have been in use for millennia. Individuals of the species will often utilize their own bespoke variations of tried and tested Yautja weapons, constructed from different materials and with varying degrees of tribal or symbolic ornamentation.
- Cloak: Light-bending adaptive camouflage allowing Predators a form of invisibility, or at least translucence, rendering them incredibly difficult to spot. The invisibility effect has been known to be shorted out through contact with water or if the arm gauntlet is damaged, and it is susceptible to the effects of an electro-magnetic pulse, at least temporarily. The effects of the device have also been known to fail as a result of direct assaults on the Predator's body, be it with ranged weaponry or physical attacks. This device is rendered useless during Xenomorph Hunts owing to the Xenomorph's ability to "see" through its cloaking effects.
- Bio-Mask: The Predator's mask contains systems to enhance its thermal vision and provide additional vision modes in other electromagnetic spectra, ranging from night vision to ultraviolet and even vibration scanning. It also allows for Vocal Mimicry and the Language Translator, and records anything the Predator sees and hears so that it may be reviewed at a later date.
- Wrist Gauntlet: Includes the Predator's Sat-Com and sometimes an Energy Flechette or Power Punch Glove. Also incorporates touch-pad technology to control a Predator's Cloak, Self-Destruct Device, and even remotely pilot Predator vessels.
- Medicomp: Predator hunters carry field medical equipment including solvents capable of cauterizing and healing wounds and various serums and other medical devices.
- Wristblades: Razor-sharp serrated blades worn on a wrist gauntlet, typically in pairs, used for close combat and the ritualistic mutilation of prey.
- Scimitar: Essentially an enlarged singular Wristblade worn on the forearm.
- Plasmacaster: A ranged weapon capable of directing bolts of high-energy plasma at distant targets that is worn on the shoulder. Generally aimed through the Predator's Bio-Mask, although there are exceptions.
- Plasma Pistol: A hand-held version of the Plasmacaster.
- Speargun: A projectile weapon that fires small metal spears, comparable to a traditional projectile firearm or crossbow.
- Combistick: A retractable spear that can be used either in hand-to-hand combat or as a thrown weapon.
- Glaive: Similar to the Combistick, this combat staff is fitted with a sizeable blade at each end, designed to slice through prey.
- Maul: A heavy bladed weapon with a perpendicular handle, an arrangement similar to a police officer's nightstick.
- Netgun: A handheld device capable of firing a wire net with enough force to pin a target to a wall. The net also features an automatic tightening mechanism designed to cause grievous wounds to the enclosed target.
- Smart Disc: A thrown, self-guiding, discus-like cutting device.
- Shuriken: Similar to the Smart Disc, except considerably larger and fitted with several long, fan-like blades around its circumference.
- Whip: A segmented bull whip capable of slicing targets in half with enough force.
- Mines: Predators utilize a variety of mines with varying trigger mechanisms and detonation effects in their Hunts.
Culture and History
- Main article: Hunt
Yautja culture centers on the ritualistic hunting of other dangerous lifeforms, and this practice appears to be the foundation of their very society. Predators will travel huge distances — even across entire galaxies — in order to face opponents they consider a worthy challenge, and may also kidnap and transport prey across similar distances to bring such victims to a hunting ground of their choice.
Defeat in a Hunt is apparently a cause of great shame to the Yautja, and often leads to the individual committing honorable suicide, typically through the detonation of their Wrist Gauntlet's Self-Destruct Device. Upon their death, a hunting Yautja's spacecraft will return to the species homeworld on automatic pilot so that a record of the individual's Hunt, recorded through their Bio-Mask, may be returned to its kin.
Yautja society operates a class or ranking system, nominally based on an individual's hunting experience and prowess. Their titles include:
- Young Blood/Unblooded: About 25% of male Yautja are Young Bloods. This means that the individual has made no distinguishable kills. Once a Yautja kills their first worthy target, usually a Xenomorph, and collects its head as a trophy, they become blooded. Young Bloods are typically adolescent or teenage Yautja sent on their rite of passage in threes to kill a Xenomorph.
- Blooded: About 45% of male Yautja are Blooded. These are warriors who have successfully hunted suitable prey and thereby passed into adulthood. In some clans, it is traditional for the individual to mark themselves in some way following the first successful Hunt, such as burning a symbol onto the forehead with the blood of a slain Xenomorph. Blooded Yautja are granted access to more advanced weaponry denied to Young Bloods, including the Plasmacaster.
- Retirees: About 10% of male Yautja are Retirees, Predators who have fought their time and now are too old and honoured to hunt. Females commonly come under this section due to their roles as mothers and the driving force behind the homeworld's natural wasteland systems.
- Elite: Elite Predators are often leaders in their clan, and are only elevated to the caste of Elite Predator once they have acquired the skull of a Xenomorph Queen. About 15% of Blooded Yautja are Elite Predators. Elites specialize in a particular weapon, making that weapon their strong suit; for example, a Brawler is an expert with Wristblades, while a Spear Master uses the Combistick. Elite Predators often become retirees after a few decades.
- Clan Leader: Clan Leaders are only made by the Adjudicator's decision. The only way to become a Clan Leader is to clean out an entire Xenomorph Hive larger than 300 members with a maximum of two other Predators. When this has been proven, the surviving Yautja all become Clan Leaders. They become the forefathers of that clan and will repopulate with females of their choosing. In order to be eligible for the trials of a Hive cleansing, each member of the trio must have at least 3 Queen skull trophies. After this point, any Hive cleansings that the forefathers complete will give the clan greater honor and standing in the caste system. Clan leaders comprise 5% of the Yautja society.
- Adjudicators: The adjudicators are the administrators and law enforcers of the Yautja. They are world leaders and the ruling class in Predator society. Less than 1% of Yautja are adjudicators, due to their massive worldly role. At this point, they simply no longer have time to hunt off planet, but often foray into the underground hunting grounds, where younger hunters train in order to lend experience to the young ones. Adjudicators are always the leaders of a clan and no adjudicators have ever risen to that position without first having completed at least five Hive cleansings.
- Bad Bloods: These are criminal Yautja who have been sentenced to death and escaped. The Predator justice system shows that crime is very low. About 2% of Yautja are bad bloods. In Predator: Concrete Jungle, the term bad bloods was also applied to Predators captured by humans and brainwashed. They met honorable deaths at the hands of their clan brother Scarface.
- Apprentice: These are honorable humans taken by Predators to learn their ways.
- Ancient: Veterans of many Hunts, these Predators are nearly a 1000 years old and are are also leaders and retirees. Few Predators live long enough to become Ancients and those that do are highly respected.
- Philosophers: Not all Yautjas are hunters. According to War, some attend to matters of the mind instead of the glory of the hunt. It is unclear how these Yautja are seen by their fellow non-hunters, but Dachande doesn't seem to think lowly of them. Also, one has never been seen, indicating they are uncommon or even rare.
Relationship with Xenomorphs
Some human scientists studying the two races have even theorized that the Predators may have had a hand in creating the Xenomorph species, although such concepts are not widely accepted as anything more than speculation. Even so, the Yautja clearly have a significant understanding of the Xenomorphs, and obviously have far greater respect for and control over the creatures than humans; whereas human attempts to capture and study the Xenomorphs have routinely resulted in disastrous breaches of quarantine and significant loss of life, the Predators have successfully entombed and utilized Queens for thousands of years with relatively few major incidents.
History with Earth
The Yautja have a long and involved history with humans on Earth, dating back to ancient times. Evidence suggests the Yautja influenced the development of early human civilizations, including the Ancient Egyptians, the Khmer Empire, the Aztecs and a largely undocumented culture inhabiting what is now modern day Bouvetøya in Antarctica. Upon their arrival in ancient times, the Predators were worshipped as Gods by the primitive peoples of Earth, and they in turn taught these early humans how to construct pyramids (explaining why so many ancient civilizations share distinctly similar cultures and architecture). These pyramids and temples were then used as hunting grounds by the Yautja, typically for initiation Hunts involving the Xenomorphs, which would be bred through the use of sacrificial human hosts that the civilizations would provide.
These rite of passage Hunts were conducted every 100 years on Earth. Each Young Blood taking part would be expected to return with the head of a Xenomorph killed in hand-to-hand combat. Were the young hunters successful in these trials, they would use the acid of their foes to sear a clan marking or other symbol into their Bio-Masks and foreheads. On the other hand, should they fail and the hunting grounds be overrun with Xenomorphs, the Yautja were expected to activate their Self-Destruct Devices, dying honorably and eliminating all trace of the Xenomorph infestation.
Not all Hunts on Earth were conducted in such a manner. Yautja also visited the planet to hunt humans as well. In fact, the species has been linked with the destruction of the ancient Mayans in Central America. Yautja individuals have also hunted humans during the Renaissance, in North America prior to its colonization by the European nations, in New Way City in 1930, on Iwo Jima during WWII, in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, in Beiruit, in Val Verde during the late 1980s, in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s and Neonopolis in 2030, as well as numerous other occasions. A Predator also travelled to earth in 2004 to clean up a Xenomorph outbreak in Gunnison, Colorado resulting from a failed Hunt in Antarctica earlier in the year.
Throughout history, Predators have also abducted humans from Earth for staged Hunts on at least one game preserve planet that they control in an undefined region of space. This particular means of hunting prey seems to be utilized primarily by the Super Predators.
Views on Non-Predator Races
Several sources, particularly the novels written by S. D. Perry, have painted Predators in a supremacist light when it comes to other species. According to Prey, Yautja depict humans as a sort of "boogieman" and in War, there is a clear discrimination against Machiko Noguchi even though she is a Blooded hunter who's slain a Queen. Machiko herself describes them as Xenophobic and bigoted. Yautja generally don't interact with other intelligent species outside of hunting purposes, and even then there are strict rules on how to go about doing this. The Hish took the Amengi species as a slave race, forcing them to build their spacecraft.
However, some Predators have shown willingness to work with humans without much hesitance. Scar was one such hunter, deciding to escape the underground pyramid together with Lex Woods. Big Mama and Caryn Delacroix worked together to defeat several enemies in Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species. This may indicate Xenophobia isn't common to all Clans, just some or most.
Views on Humans
Despite being significantly smaller and weaker than them, all wise Yautja consider certain humans to be dangerous game. Humans are less known for their strength, and more for their craftiness, which can bring down even the fiercest hunter. They are generally not physically attracted to humans, to the point a naked human female would not even arouse a young male unblooded. In fact, the idea of doing anything sexual with a human is disgusting, if Shorty's reaction to Machiko telling him she wishes him to father her children is anything to go by.
That reaction, however, could be credited to their mutual hate of one another.
Behind the Scenes
The original Predator
Initially, the Predator was a very different creature. While it was always described as humanoid, its appearance otherwise changed quite drastically as the script for the first film developed — one early draft states that the Predator had a "strikingly human-like face" and "smooth, hairless, nearly translucent skin", beneath which "a delicate network of veins and vessels can be seen, pulsing rapidly with pale green blood". A later draft portrayed the Predator as a shapeshifter that was hunting humans to study them (it was in fact this version of the creature that was used in the novelization of the movie).
The first practical Predator built for the production was created by a team from Boss Studios, led by Steve Johnson (who also provided some of the gore effects in the movie). The suit they designed had a distinct insect- or arthropod-like appearance, with a long neck, dog-shaped head and large, yellow eyes. Its skin was covered in complex and bizarre textures, and the suit was fitted with 12" leg extensions to give the creature backwards bending satyr-legs, designed to disguise the fact it was a man in a suit. The suit was to be worn by Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, the idea being that Van Damme's martial arts prowess would make the Predator an agile, ninja-like hunter. However, from the very beginning there were problems with the suit — the creature's solid insect-like exoskeleton meant that Van Damme could not bend at the waist, and the leg extensions proved unwieldy and impractical when filming on location in a jungle. In fact, the legs proved so unwieldy that the creature had to be supported using either wires or a crane, severely limiting its agility and range of movements. It quickly became apparent that the design was unworkable.
Furthermore, compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura, actors known for their extensive bodybuilding regimes, Van Damme was not considered physically imposing enough to be a credible threat. As a result of these issues, the original suit design was scrapped and Van Damme was released from the production, while filming on the movie was shut down for six months so that an alternative could be found. The original discarded Predator design would be revisited almost 25 years later and used as inspiration for the River Ghost creature featured in Predators.
Stan Winston redesign
With the failure of the Boss Studios suit, responsibility for creating the Predator creature passed to Stan Winston, who was hired at Schwarzenegger's suggestion following the actor's experience with him on The Terminator. Winston accepted largely as a favor to his friend Schwarzenegger, but also because he felt the film was likely to be a success. According to Winston, "My feeling from reading the script was that the Predator had to be a real character, rather than a generic creature. He needed to be a very specific character — and that's what we came up with." Winston's design was heavily influenced by a piece of Rastafarian-themed concept art painted by Alan Munro, which had been hanging in producer Joel Silver's office. Additionally, Winston's good friend and frequent collaborator James Cameron suggested the Predator's distinctive mandibles during a flight the two were taking to an event in support of Aliens. Winston later joked, "Between the Rastafarian painting in Joel Silver's office and the mandible idea from Jim Cameron, I came up with 'Stan Winston's Predator'. And I take complete credit for it, even though I had nothing to do with it, obviously!"
The new suit was far simpler than the Boss Studios effort, allowing for much greater freedom of movement. It was built around actor Kevin Peter Hall, who at 7 feet 2.5 inches tall was a much better physical match for the actors he was playing against. The design originally incorporated mechanical finger extensions on the hands, but when these proved difficult to manipulate they were removed. Winston's studio created all the physical Predator effects on Predator and Predator 2, including the suits worn by Hall and the creature's mechanical facial effects. The new Predator took eight weeks to design and create before filming was completed in January and February 1987. Winston considered the original Predator to be one of his proudest works, and was honored by how it has gone on to become a pop culture icon.
The Predator's luminescent blood was created by mixing KY Jelly with the active liquids found in glow sticks; the mixture lost its glow quickly, so new batches had to be mixed constantly between takes. The blood was originally intended to be orange in color, to help it better stand out against the predominantly green jungle background. However, when the crew were unable to acquire any orange glowsticks on location, the blood was changed to green. This caused some problems for the special effects department, who had already completed several shots featuring the original orange blood. Consequently, these shots had to be discarded and remade. The Predator's vocalizations were provided by long-time voice actor Peter Cullen, most famous for his portrayal of Optimus Prime in the Transformers franchise. Cullen said the inspiration for the Predator sounds were horseshoe crabs.
The camouflage effect was designed by R/Greenberg Associates. The idea for the effect came in a dream one of the Thomas brothers (who wrote the film) had, in which there was a chrome man who was inside a reflective sphere. The man blended in, perfectly camouflaged, reflecting from all directions and only visible when in motion. It took the production team some time to devise a technique to achieve the effect, but eventually they settled on repeating a background image in a pattern of ripples in the shape of the Predator's body. It proved very effective and was a new way of presenting an "invisible man". Before there was digital rendering technology all of the camouflage was created optically using photo-chemical means, the result being the end product would never be the same twice when combining the same pieces of film.
Throughout their film appearances, Predators have undergone numerous design variations. In Predator 2, the main Predator was designed to look more urban and hip than its predecessor. Design changes included tribal ornamentation on the forehead, which was made steeper and shallower, brighter skin coloration and a greater number of fangs. In Alien vs. Predator, the appearance of the Predators was redesigned to make them seem more heroic, with alterations including a reduction in head and waist size, broader shoulders, a more muscular physique, piranha-like teeth on the upper jaw and dryer, less clammy skin to further differentiate them from the Aliens. In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the Predator was returned to the sleeker design concept used prior to Alien vs. Predator. For the so-called "Black Super Predators" seen in Predators, the designers used the difference between a cassette tape and an iPod as an analogy in differentiating the new Predators from the originals. The Super Predators were designed as leaner and taller than the "classic" Predator design, with longer faces, tighter armor and with more swept back dreadlocks.
The Predator species is never given a name in any of the films in which it appears, with the creatures simply being referred to as the Predator both on-screen and in the films' credits. In Predator, Anna Gonsalves refers to the creature as "El diablo que hace trofeos de los hombres", or "The demon who makes trophies of men". However, in expanded universe material the species has been known as the Yautja, the Hish or simply the Hunters. The term Yautja was first used in the novel Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, which was itself a novelization of the original Aliens vs. Predator comic book series, the first media to discuss the Predators at length from their own perspective.
The degree to which the name is recognized by the Yautja themselves has varied from source to source — for instance, in the Rage War trilogy, the Widow Clan does not recognize this word when it is applied to them. Other sources, however, such as the anthology Predator: If It Bleeds, has the creatures directly referring to themselves as Yautja.
While never named on-screen, the creatures from the first two films in the series have often come to be known as the Jungle Hunter and the City Hunter, respectively, nicknames based upon their chosen hunting grounds and first used in the 2005 video game Predator: Concrete Jungle. With the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, specific Predators were given individual names in the film's credits. This was repeated in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and Predators.
In the Expanded Universe
- For a complete expanded universe history of the Predator's known activities, see Timeline
Predators breathe 1% more oxygen, and 4% more nitrogen than humans and are capable of adapting themselves to Earth's atmosphere for one week at the most if deprived of a breathing apparatus. Predator blood has the capacity of partially neutralizing the acidity of Alien blood, and Predator flesh and blood, if consumed, is known to have the capacity of greatly lengthening a human's lifespan.
While the maximum lifespan of a Predator is unknown, the species has been known to live for hundreds to thousands of years. It has been implied that one or two centuries is considered young for the species, with relative adolescents of the species not even going on their first Xenomorph hunt before they attain an age of few centuries. Most, however, do not reach senescence due to the rigors of their dangerous and semi-nomadic lifestyle.
Some Predators, referred to as "Hish", have been known to possess a gland located between their neck and collarbone which secretes powerful hormones into their bloodstream and which drives them to hyper-aggression. When this gland is over-stimulated, it sends the creatures into a frenzied rage, causing them to attempt killing any living thing in sight, including members of their own species. This "kill rage" can be contagious and spread from one Predator to another, driving them all to attack each other. These Predators barely survived the wars provoked by their kill glands, and they have learned to control the gland's secretions with artificial hormone regulators.
Males and FemalesSome Predator females have been known to be larger and stronger than males, Hashori being one such female. and sporting more prominent mammary glands (like human females). Other Predator females have been witnessed who superficially show little distinction from males in size. Big Mama, a female predator, has been seen in the nude, the image suggesting the female predator reproductive anatomy and female human reproductive anatomy do not differ, at least superficially. Male predators have comparable anatomy to a male human, or at least both are phallic and designed for penetration. Male predators also have visible gonads, again comparable to most mammals, who have exterior testicles. All Yautja onscreen and most of them in the expanded universe have been male, but Vagouti and Wendigo are two more examples of female Predators.
There may be variants between clans and Predator sub-species, as the clans do not often interact with each other. Some clans might have females that are larger and stronger than the males and in other clans the opposite may be true. Both genders give off a strong musk to signify aggression, while females can also emit it when in estrus. This musk can be detected by other Predators and canids, though it is imperceptible to humans.
The Hish are unique in that their sexes are fluid. An individual randomly and unwillingly shifts back and forth between "receptive" and "generative" breeder anatomy, although they may psychologically identify with one of the two and resent being the other when it's time to shift.
How Yautja procreate is never explained in detail, however their anatomy implies a process not too different from most earth mammals. Young Yautja are called Pups, Suckers or occasionally, sucklings. Unlike Humans, Yautja have a breeding season, in which the females go into estrus and select the strongest and bravest males to sire their pups. Females do not generally pay much attention to youngbloods or unblooded. It is only when a male reaches Blooded status and has worthy kills to his name that a female desires to share his company. Nat'ka'pu, a clan leader, is said to have many wives, which suggest Yautja are a polygamous species and that a famous enough male may have access to his own personal harem which he can add to by impressing yet more females, as Nat'Ka'pu thinks winning human trophies will earn him more "conquests". This is further confirmed by the apparent existence of a Widow Clan, made up of female Yautja who have lost their mate.
According to Dachande, a "Yautja did what a Yautja had to do" to bolster his line, indicating that aside from attaining glory and honor, continuing ones bloodline is another imperative of the species. It even appears that the Hunt and mating and intermingled, with mates and offspring being one of the top motivations for Hunters and Glory being the other. Some Hunters have made names for themselves regarding breeding and the genetic pools just as some have made names for themselves as Hunters. The amount of pups born per pregnancy is never revealed, however it isn't uncommon for particularly esteemed hunters to have 70 or 80 offspring. Yautja are polygamous breeders and have never been known to stay with a single mate.
Yautja are known to practice a form of Eugenics and Elder Predators can deem some males unsuitable for breeding, to the point of even removing their gonads to make them impotent. Lar'nix'va was one such male, smaller than usual and considered by Elder Hunters for castration for this reason.
Source: AvP Comics, requires additional sourcing
Yautja culture revolves around the Hunt. They do not hunt to eliminate threats or for food (at least this is not the main reason) but for honor, sport and the thrill of the hunt. Male Predators also Hunt to gain access to females, who will otherwise ignore them, meaning that male cannot continue his bloodline. To Yautja, no hunt meant no will to live. Yautja mark themselves with the blood of their kill. The symbol varies with each clan, but so far the most widely known symbol is of the Thunderbolt. This is symbol of the unnamed Warrior God worshiped by some, possibly all Yautja.
Combat between Yautja is generally not permitted as the focus of their species is to kill and hunt other life forms. Certain Predator clans have been known to take unorthodox approaches such as accepting humans into their clans. Inter-clan rivalries and internal mutinies have also been known to happen, and the Predator culture has not always been witnessed as being totally uniform.
Rarely, some Predators have been known to kill (or attempt to kill) unarmed men, women and children, often in dishonorable ways such as ambushes or shooting their quarry in the back. Note however these may be renegade clans or more likely, Killers or Bad Bloods (see Castes).
It is the opinion of Machiko Noguchi, a human female accepted into a Predator clan, that the Predators were responsible for the spread of Xenomorphs throughout the galaxy. The Predators themselves deny this, though, stating that the Aliens' large interplanetary distribution is due to simultaneous convergent evolution.
Speculation has it that the Engineers and Yautja may have been adversaries. In AVP Requiem, an Engineer helmet is shown as a Predator war trophy. It is also speculated that the Xenomorphs may have been an Engineer weapon against the Yaujta.
The Predators are polytheistic, and their equivalent of the Grim Reaper is the so-called "Black Warrior", who is seen as an eternal adversary who eventually wins all battles. They also have a warrior god, called Paya, who is godlike in their hunting and fighting abilities. They are also called "The Conquering Warrior".
They also believe in a Warrior god who can wield bolts of lightning and those who honor him mark themselves and their masks with thunderbolts. This god has no name and is simply referred to as a "warrior god" and an "extraterrestrial odin".
Section seriously requires sourcing
According to some reports, Yautja motivations for hunting are not just for sport, but rather for honor, with the species having developed a whole tribal culture around their status at the top of the food chain, as the ultimate Predator. Their code of honor dictates what makes a worthy adversary, and thus will make a Predator or clan more respected.
Yautja clans have been known to be governed by a Council of Ancients, which consist of the oldest of the race. Their word is considered law and they ensure that the many clans follow the law. Inter-clan warfare is watched over by the Ancients and they decide matters such as which planet is considered a clans hunting ground. (AvP: Extinction) For example, a high born Yautja was encountered by the Iron Bear mercenary Vassili Rykov who believed the hunter to be a "Prince" among his race which suggests a possible royalty among their species. (AVP 2) A Young Blood (Young Predator) must pass a series of test from several Elites to become an Elite Hunter. (AVP 2010)
Predator portrayals in comics and novels
In 1989, the Predator franchise was licensed to Dark Horse Comics to produce comics based on the story and concept. That same year Dark Horse began laying the groundwork for a cross-over series between the Predator and their other popular licensed sci-fi property, Aliens. Thus, the Aliens versus Predator line of comics also debuted that year.
While the Predator comics line focused mostly on stories—like the original films—told from a human point of view, with lone Predators as unknown alien beings visiting the Earth in the present or at different points in human history, causing havoc and terror for unknown reasons amongst their human prey; the Alien versus Predator comics—and their spin-off novelizations—started to delve more into stories told from the Predator race's point of view, and reveal more about their culture and customs. It is in these comics, throughout the 1990s, that what is now known as "yautja" culture, and even the name "yautja" originated. That said, yautja in the comics and novels have been prone to a degree of varying interpretations depending on the writer.
In these stories, certain Predator clans have been shown to take unorthodox approaches such as accepting humans into their clans. Inter-clan rivalries and internal mutinies are also depicted, showing the Predators as not having a totally uniform culture. Several times in Alien vs. Predator comics, Predators are seen killing (or attempting to kill) unarmed men, women and children, often in dishonorable ways such as ambushes or shooting their quarry in the back.
Note however most of these differences may be explained as differences between customs from clan to clan, by the existence of multiple Predator-inhabited worlds, and/or by the existence of renegade clans such as the recently introduced "Killers" (see Castes)
Predator portrayals in games
Much of the intricate organization and demographics given about the yautja clans and how they are governed in the 2000s has come from the AvP video game franchise. It is here that they are shown to be governed by a Council of Ancients which consist of the oldest of the race. Their word is considered law and they ensure that the many Clans follow the law. Inter-clan warfare is watched over by the Ancients and they decide matters such as which planet is considered a clans hunting ground. (Aliens versus Predator: Extinction) A high born Yautja was encountered by Rykov who believed the hunter to be a "prince" among his race which suggests a possible royalty among their species. (Aliens versus Predator 2) A Young Blood (Young Predator) must pass a series of test from several Elites to become an Elite Hunter. (Aliens vs. Predator)
- The goblin spider genus Predatoroonops is named after the Predator, owing to the perceived similarity between the spider's mouthparts and the Predator's mandibles. Additionally, the various sub-species of Predatoroonops all have taxonomic names that reference aspects of Predator, including Predatoroonops schwarzeneggeri (named for Arnold Schwarzenegger), Predatoroonops maceliot (named for Mac Eliot), Predatoroonops vallarta (named for Puerto Vallarta, one of the filming locations on the movie) and Predatoroonops peterhalli (named for Kevin Peter Hall). There is even a species called Predatoroonops yautja.
- On March 20, 2015, the Predator was accidentally confirmed (via the Xbox One store) as a guest DLC character in the fighting video game Mortal Kombat X.. The Predator Bundle was eventually released in July 2015.
- In some books, the named Yautja is used by the predators to define themselves, but in other books, some clans -- such as the Widow Clan -- do not recognize the term and tilt their heads in confusion when humans use it to address them.
Behind the scenes
- Predator: The Hunted—information about the Predators at the expansive, informative and well-written fansite
- Predators—article on Wikipedia
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Paul W. S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator (2004), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Steve Perry, Stephani Perry. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, p. 4 (1994), Bantam Spectra.
- ↑ AVP: Evolution (2013), Angry Mob Games, Fox Mobile Entertainment [Mobile].
- ↑ NECA Predator figures
- ↑ Predator: If It Bleeds, p. 107 (2017), Titan Books.
- ↑ Predator: Concrete Jungle - Raze the Depot
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 John McTiernan, Kevin Peter Hall, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stan Winston, Jim Thomas, John Thomas. If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of 'Predator' (2001), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Marc Cerasini. Alien vs. Predator, p. 236 (2004), HarperEntertainment.
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers), Stephen Hopkins (director). Predator 2 (1990), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers), John McTiernan (director). Predator (1987), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001), Monolith Productions, Sierra Entertainment, Fox Interactive [Microsoft Windows].
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Aliens vs. Predator (2010), Rebellion, SEGA [Microsoft Windows].
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005), Eurocom, Sierra Entertainment, Vivendi Universal Games [PlayStation 2, Xbox].
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Steve Perry, Stephani Perry. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey (1994), Bantam Spectra.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Marc Cerasini. Alien vs. Predator, p. 237 (2004), HarperEntertainment.
- ↑ Randy Stradley (writer), Rick Leonardi (illustrator). Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #1 (2010), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ Paul W. S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator Unrated Edition (2005), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Michael Finch, Alex Litvak (writers), Nimród Antal (director). Predators (2010), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Simon Hawke. Predator 2, p. 21 (1990), Jove Books.
- ↑ Paul Monette. Predator, p. 85 (1987), Jove Books.
- ↑ Paul Monette. Predator, p. 94 (1987), Jove Books.
- ↑ Shane Salerno (writer), The Brothers Strause (directors). Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ S. D. Perry. 'AVP: War', p. 22.
- ↑ S. D. Perry. 'AVP: War', p. 23.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator: War, Page 69
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 "Monster Legacy - Predator Metamorphosis — Prologue: Hunter". Retrieved on 2014-01-16.
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 "Monster Legacy - Predator Metamorphosis – Part I: Predator". Retrieved on 2014-01-16.
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 100 (2006), Titan Books.
- ↑ Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 101 (2006), Titan Books.
- ↑ Les Paul Robley. Predator: The Original Makeup (1987), Cinefantastique.
- ↑ Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 103 (2006), Titan Books.
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 Stephen Hopkins, Kevin Peter Hall, Gary Busey, Stan Winston, John Rosengrant. The Hunters and the Hunted: The Making of 'Predator 2' (2005), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ "Prime Directive: An Exclusive Interview with Peter Cullen". The Digital Fix (2006-08-18). Retrieved on 2010-08-07.
- ↑ Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 336 (2006).
- ↑ Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr.. AVP: Alien vs. Predator: The Creature Effects of ADI, p. 128 (2004), Design Studio Press.
- ↑ Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Chris Ayers. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: Inside the Monster Shop, p. 128 (2007).
- ↑ "''Meet the Hunters of Predators'', IGN Movies". Uk.movies.ign.com (2010-05-06). Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
- ↑ John Shirley. Predator: Forever Midnight, p. 250 (2006).
- ↑ Steve Perry, Stephani Perry. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, p. 7 (1994), Bantam Spectra.
- ↑ Steve Perry, Stephani Perry. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, p. 6 (1994), Bantam Spectra.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator: Omnibus, p.343
- ↑ Steve Perry, Stephani Perry. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, p. 128 (1994), Bantam Spectra.
- ↑ Alien vs. Predator (novel)
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 Brescovit, Bonaldo, Santos, Ott & Rheims, 2012: The Brazilian goblin spiders of the new genus Predatoroonops (Araneae, Oonopidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, n. 370, pp. 1–68 (whole text).
- ↑ http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3336863/confirmed-predator-will-mortal-kombat-x/
- ↑ http://gamerant.com/mortal-kombat-x-predator-guest-character-dlc-confirm/
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-predator-joins-mortal-kombat-x-character-roste/1100-6426045/