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Original Predator Design — Van Damme As A Giant Fly?!?!

Original Predator Design - Jean-Claude Van Damme

This won’t be news to any of you who own the Predator special edition and have watched the extras, but for everyone else…

Predator’s original title was ‘Hunter’, and they actually started shooting with a totally different alien design. The creature had longer legs, and the head of a fly/dog. That head was designed to be able to turn and flip to almost any angle so he could track his prey (cool idea). Wobbling around on its stilts, and using a harness, they just couldn’t get the walking to look convincing, or the head to look like it was properly attached.
Original Predator Design - Jean-Claude Van Damme
Original Predator Design - Jean-Claude Van Damme
Predator Design - Van Damme
Predator Design - Van Damme
Predator Design - Van Damme

But it gets better. Hired to wear the suit, for his agility, was martial-arts-trained Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Here he is on the job -
Predator Design - Van Damme
Predator Design - Van Damme

Van Damme quit after two days, unhappy that he was to be an uncredited special effect.

With the creature problems, the original design was scrapped, and Stan Winston was called in. It was James Cameron who suggested him. Winston created the design we’re all familiar with. Cameron also reportedly came up with the idea of the mandibles on the face.

Robert Rodriguez has said he’ll feature new Predator/alien-wildlife designs in this week’s sequel. So I wonder if his Predator hunting planet will include something similar to this as a tribute? [Update: It did!]

Do you prefer the original design or the final Predator?

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29 Comments »

  • dnwilliams said

    Much prefer the original design, shame they couldn’t make it work.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 67

  • Uncle LOL said

    @up: Naaah, predator without dreadlocks is not the predator ;)

    Thumb up 69 Thumb down 3

  • si said

    I agree and it is good to see the new version remaining faithful to the original.

    The mandibles and dreadlocks are iconic.

    JCVD in a rubber suit now that’s funny.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  • gd smith said

    The original looks like a fookin’ prawn!
    it also looks a bit like someting from the Asylum’s Alien V Hunter.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  • Joker said

    Glad ditched that costume.Looks like it was inspired by venom or something.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  • Bosatsu said

    I also red that Jesse Ventura told that Van Damme complained about the heat. He wasn’t much good to work with. So they fired him. To bad. This one was a major blockbuster and a classic. But he later said in an intervieuw he didn’t have any regrets he din’t finish the job. But it turned out to be good for him. Alltough the kwality of the later movies went lower and lower.
    Don’t like his acting very much. But he has a charisma to pull it of in the big screen. Just like Seagal. No much acting, bad movies. But still they are drawing crowds just for what they are. I only wathc those straght to dvd movies for the action. The rest is all crap.

    Ohm mani padme hum.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Sheridan Passell said

      To be honest I’m sympathetic to Van Damme quitting, I imagine the heat of the environment in that suit would be pretty unbearable, and if he wasn’t even going to be credited, and if everyone was arguing/unhappy about the suit…

      Then again, he refused to be in The Expendables – maybe he does make bad calls.

      Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

      • wes said

        ummmmmm dude JCVD WAS IN EXPENDABLES………HE WAS MAIN BAD GUY

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

        • Sheridan Passell said

          That was Expendables 2. They’d made up by then.

          Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

        • Dave said

          You are a bright one aren’t you? Replying to a 3 year old message ab out the 1st Expendables movie with a fact about the 2nd Expendables movie. Derp derp

          Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

    • TRYER said

      I think it is about credit. There is not really anyone who has had to fully suit up for a movie, that got credit for it. Not as much as they deserved anyways. The only real ones who cared, are character actors and JCVD is not one of them. With JCVD pretty much just starting his career in 1987, I think he wanted more then acting in an oven with crappy pay and being uncredited, I know I would. I bet you would too=P

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Adam M said

    I’m so glad they ditched the original design.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  • si said

    Is that true about JCVD turning down “The Expendables”……what an absolute noob.

    I was about to wax lyrical about how Jean Claude was ever so slightly under rated and that he didn’t take himself too seriously. But after hearing this I just think you t@#t.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • Sheridan Passell said

    Yes it’s true he turned down a part in The Expendables. He said it was because when Stallone phoned and asked him he wouldn’t tell him what the character would be. The two then got into a bit of an ego argument and that was the end of it.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Maryanne said

    I like the final Pred suit, the orginal looks dorky. the final suit has a humanoid effect to it which I think appeals to people more as it eludes to the darker side of people. Looking forward to the new Predators movie.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • the claw said

    Any creature design with any kind of an extended head ends up reminding people of the Giger Alien [Xenomorph] – and there’s no point trying to compete with that, so immediate fail. They did the right thing.
    Getting rid of Van Damme into the bargain must have been a bonus.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • David Fullam said

    Not a bad design, but it lacks a certain sort of flair or character. I can certainly see it as part of an entire army of monsters. Sort of like the Storm Troopers. It would work as part of a team or army. But Predator needed Darth Vader, not the Storm Troopers. Stan Winston gave them what they needed.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • Thad said

    I was lucky enough to see the Seattle film premiere of Predator with Stan Winston. Stan told us that the problem with the original Predator design started when it was first unloaded from the train and the film crew began laughing at it. The producers were understandably nervous and started scrambling to find someone else to come up with a whole new creature design.

    According to Stan Winston, he had only something like five or six weeks (I can’t remember exactly which) to start from scratch with a new concept, and then implement a design build that had to be delivered to Mexico where they were filming. It’s still hard to believe that he was able to come up with such an impressive character in such a short period of time, but I heard it firsthand from the man himself.

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  • PlasticenePredator said

    I think that whilst the original hunter design is interesting as it never happened, the predator design is much more imposing and fear-inducing. Also I think that the original is too slender to work as the main monster.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  • PlasticenePredator said

    Also it wouldn’t have worked with all the weapons of the predator arsenal.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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