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The Predator: What Exactly Are the 'Ultimate Predators'?

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The ultimate hunter becomes the hunted in the first full trailer for Shane Black's The Predator, which serves as a sequel/reimagining of sorts for the iconic sci-fi franchise. Released this morning, the new trailer shows a classic Predator fighting a losing battle against something Agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) refers to as an "ultimate Predator." The new extraterrestrial creature is certainly more physically imposing than its traditional counterpart, even sporting alternate coloration, but what exactly is the story behind the new threat? And why is it fighting another less-ultimate Predator?

The first official synopsis for The Predator revealed a new motivation for the aliens' interstellar hunts; using the DNA obtained from different alien species around the galaxy to genetically upgrade themselves to become stronger, smarter, and deadlier than ever before. Before this, it was assumed Predators traveled from planet to planet simply to hunt for sport, a purely lethal leisure activity. Now we know there's an entirely new layer to their motivations.

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The new trailer shows the result of this genetic power boost in the form of a much more fearsome incarnation of the Predator. It is at once immediately recognizable as the classic alien monster, yet visibly different rom its predecessors, with a hulking stature, increased musculature, and blue-green skin color with red, tiger-like stripes. Whereas Predators tend to stalk their prey from the shadows, this ultimate Predator appears to have no problem bursting through walls and standing out in the open amidst its enemies; stealth is no longer necessary in the face of this new evolution.

The concept of ultimate, or super Predators, is not a new one to the franchise; after all, 2010's Predators saw three super Predators hunt the film's main characters across an alien world. These upgraded Predators also had a rivalry of sorts with their weaker counterparts, with the two forms of Predators fighting to the death in the movie's climax. This deadly rivalry carries on to Black's upcoming film and even serves as the focal point of the latest teaser poster for The Predator released earlier today. boasting the ominously telling tagline "The Hunt Has Evolved", the traditional Predator's skull and spine are the latest trophy in the ultimate Predator's collection.

The question, then, is why has this new ultimate Predator arrived on Earth? Is it hunting another member of its species due to a glorified intergalactic schoolyard grudge match?

Well, probably not exactly.

The new trailer reveals that the classic Predator was captured by an American black ops including former Army Ranger Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) during a mission somewhere in Mexico. Taken back to a top secret research facility, Traeger oversees the government's experimentation on the alien and its technology, until the creature manages to escape and regain its weapons. This is when the ultimate Predator appears. We're guessing it's been dispatched to Earth to kill his predecessor, perhaps due to its dishonor of being bested and captured by an inferior species in the first place.

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Predators being sent to Earth to clean up loose ends is not a new concept to the franchise, either. 2007's Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem saw a veteran Predator land on Earth to eradicate Xenomorphs and a Xenomorph-Predator hybrid on the loose in small town America with humanity caught in the crossfire. Here; it makes sense that the ultimate Predator has arrived on Earth not necessarily to obtain new genetic material, but to eliminate all evidence of the traditional Predator's incursion on the planet.

Directed by Shane Black from a script cowritten with Fred Dekker, The Predator stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Jane Thomas, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, and Yvonne Strahovski. The film arrives in theaters on September 14.

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