Movie Reviews

New Predator Movie Casting Makes It More Exciting After Surprising Prey 2 Decision


  • Elle Fanning’s casting in Badlands is unexpected but promises a unique and fresh take on the Predator franchise.
  • Fanning’s lack of action experience adds intrigue, hinting at a potential shift towards psychological horror or thriller genres.
  • Badlands may open the door for crossover with Prey, offering exciting new possibilities for the franchise’s future.

The newly announced Predator movie Badlands has set its sights on its new star. Celebrated actress Elle Fanning, best known for her Golden Globe-winning performance as Catherine the Great in the Hulu series The Great (2020–2023), is expected to take on the lead role in Dan Trachtenberg’s upcoming sci-fi movie. Trachtenberg directed 2022’s Prey starring Amber Midthunder, which was the fifth mainline installment of the celebrated Predator series that began with the original 1987 classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With Prey 2 already confirmed under Trachtenberg’s direction, the pivot to focusing on Badlands is somewhat surprising but ultimately great for the franchise at large. Badlands will be written by screenwriter Patrick Aison, who wrote the screenplay for Prey as well, indicating that the upcoming Predator film looks to capitalize on the winning formula of Prey, which received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94%. While Fanning isn’t necessarily known for starring in many sci-fi horrors, her acting talent alone makes Badlands incredibly promising.

Elle Fanning Is An Interesting (& Exciting) Casting Choice For Badlands’ Lead

Fanning’s lack of action experience actually makes her casting choice more intriguing

Fanning is an outstanding actress but is also not typically seen as an action star.

Fanning is an outstanding actress but is also not typically seen as an action star, which suggests that Badlands may pivot the Predator franchise away from the action genre. Fanning has starred in a number of dramas since she made her feature film debut as a child star in I Am Sam (2001). The closest thing to an action movie that she has starred in is Steven Spielberg’s Super 8 from 2011. It seems likely that Fanning will be making a return to the action genre unless Trachtenberg and Aison completely switch things up with Badlands.

What is certain about Badlands is that it will be a true sci-fi film based on it being a part of the Predator franchise. The film could end up veering more into the psychological horror or thriller genres rather than a full-on action adventure like Prey was, which could justify the reason for creating a brand new installment rather than going straight into production on Prey 2. If Badlands proves to be a success, there is even crossover potential between it and Prey and could theoretically pair Midthunder and Fanning together onscreen.


Prey 2 Can Pay Off 1 Awesome Predator Scene The Original Movie Cut

With Prey 2, the Predator franchise can still pay off an exciting deleted scene that was cut from the prequel hit Hulu original movie, Prey.

Elle Fanning Can Help Justify Making Badlands Before Prey 2

Fanning could spawn her own Predator series withing the franchise

Amber Midthunder's Naru stalks through the forest at night in Prey 2022

The casting of Fanning provides a major clue as to the direction and tone of
given her track record in dramas and thrillers.

It’s a bit of a surprise that Disney, Trachtenberg, and Aison opted to do something new before Prey 2, which is why it’s more than likely that Badlands will be a unique and different entity from the Prey movies. The casting of Fanning provides a major clue as to the direction and tone of Badlands given her track record in dramas and thrillers.

Ultimately, this shift in focus from Prey 2 to Badlands can only be a good thing for the franchise. Prey felt very fresh and exciting, so hopefully Badlands can capture some of that energy while venturing to new areas, which is better than making safe sequels that try to repeat the same formula.


Why Disney Is Making A Brand New Predator Movie Before Prey 2

Dan Trachtenberg is writing and directing a standalone Predator movie for Disney, and that raises questions about why it’s coming out before Prey 2.

Badlands Predator Movie Temp Poster

Badlands (2025)

Badlands is a new entry in the Predator franchise, with the writer and director of Prey, Dan Trachtenberg, returning for this installment. No details on the film exist save for the fact that Badlands will be a standalone entry set during a new period.

Dan Trachtenberg

20th Century Studios

Dan Trachtenberg

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