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Predator Pastiche

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From top to bottom: a Predator from Predator, an Elite/Sangheili from Halo, and the Alien Skull Hunter from Teen Titans Go!.
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Since the success of the 1987 science fiction action film Predator, numerous later sci-fi works have included extraterrestrial hunters in their settings similar to the eponymous creature from that film. Among the traits the aliens have taken from the Predator include:

  1. A Proud Hunter Race culture, with humans and other sapients being their preferred prey. This often pairs with an Honor Before Reason mindset wherein they'll make sure their prey has a fair chance of fighting back. They often view the heroes as Worthy Opponents by the end.
  2. They may be Scary Dogmatic Aliens in other ways as well.
  3. They tend to be a Higher-Tech Species compared to humans, on top of their physical skill.
  4. A Blade Below the Shoulder or a similarly atypical bladed weapon. This frequently results from a more general preference for low-tech weaponry when fighting despite access to things like faster-than-light space travel and laser guns.
  5. Unusual mouths, whether segmented mandibles or no mouths at all (based on Predator's mask).
  6. Dreadlock-like Alien Hair.
  7. Helmets or masks that mostly cover up their faces but tend to leave the aforementioned hair loose.
  8. Chameleon Camouflage
  9. Tracking their prey with Night-Vision Goggles (usually of the thermographic variety) or some similar type of artificial imaging technology.
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Additional, optional criterianote  include:

  1. Human foes who are military members typically start off working on their own covert missions in remote parts of the globe before getting ambushed by the alien hunter.
  2. Luckier quarry cover themselves with mud or some other cooling substance to trick the hunter's thermal tracking.
  3. A tendency to hunt their prey in tropical rainforest settings.
  4. An intense rivalry with a Xenomorph Xerox or a similar race of parasitic Metamorphosis Monsters, referencing the Alien vs. Predator crossover series.

Because of their tendency to hunt humans for sport, they are usually depicted as villainous aliens. However, because of their heavily honor-based cultures, they are almost never Always Chaotic Evil. It's even somewhat common to depict them as A Lighter Shade of Black compared to more outright evil aliens.

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A sub-trope of Humanoid Aliens.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sabagebu!: A race of cats that act like the Predators and have the same technology appear in one episode.

    Films — Animation 
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Prowler's main role is to be a relentless masked hunter chasing after Miles, and he can see in multiple light spectrums. There are even several scenes where the audience sees through his eyes, and it's much the same as how the Predator sees through his mask.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has skekMal the Hunter. While he may not have mandibles or dreadlocks, he wears a mask, takes the skulls of his prey for trophies, jumps around in trees, and above all, is obsessed with hunting.
  • Doctor Who: Tzim-Sha (or Tim Shaw) from "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". He lacks the dreadlocks, but has a face full of teeth he's collected as trophies from his human prey. He freezes his quarry to death as a calling-card. He's also a dirty cheat, using a bio-mechanical life form to scan for prey, which is explicitly not in his race's "rules of the hunt". He returns as the Big Bad for the season finale.
  • Reaper: "Unseen" has the gang chasing an escaped soul called Herbert Scrim who can turn invisible and hunts and murders joggers in a forest park. The gang deal with his invisibility by shooting all round them with a paintball gun.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • The Hirogen lack most of the overt features of Predator Pastiches, having a more human face but reptilian in design, but the heavy armor and the hunting culture is unmistakable. It's shown to be slowly leading to the decline and eventually potential destruction of their civilization. Certain aspects of their technology are very advanced, but their nomadic lifestyle has led them to stagnate culturally. The inspiration was originally going to more explicit with a costume design that included the trademark mandibles combined with a large hairstyle, but it was thought this would be too blatant and might get the show into copyright legal trouble.
    • The original Hirogen design and costumes were switched with an unrelated alien in season four, the one-shot Kradin from the episode "Nemesis". Kradin look very similar to Predators with mandable-like spikes around their mouths. The episode banks on this perception as it involves Chakotay being swept into two groups of soldiers fighting each other in a jungle, with him seeing the Kradin slaughter innocent civilians, but at the end discovered it was a deception made to recruit soldiers against them. A peaceful and eloquent Kradin official actually helped Voyager get him back, a shocking subversion of Beauty Equals Goodness.
  • Ultra Series: The series have a few:
    • Ultraman Max: A pair of Monster of the Week, the aliens Kesam and his brother Kerus, are practically kaiju-sized Predators clad in similar-looking armour, having clawed gauntlets looking exactly like those used in the movie, and even posses planet-destroying bombs as backup arsenal in case their fight against Ultraman Max goes south.
    • Ultraman Mebius Gaiden: The alien swordsman, Mecha-Zamu, is brought Back from the Dead, and in his redesigned form resembles a Yautja warrior, with a face-concealing helmet with dangling dreadlocks and mechanical glowing eyes. Also in the same series Ultraman Mebius was stalked by an Imperializer robot, whose visual visors look exactly like the Predator's sensors from the movies.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Dio Maddin, in the WWE stable Retribution, wears a sloping metal mask to the ring. His own dreadlocks really complete the image.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: While they don't physically resemble the Predators, being instead ogre-like beings with large tusks, the devils known as Orthons otherwise fit the bill, being relentless infernal bounty hunters who "value the challenge of the chase and the thrill of one-on-one combat" against a Worthy Opponent. They posses True Sight, wield an nasty blade and a versatile projectile weapon, have an invisibility field that can be disrupted by successfully hitting them, and can blow themselves up if their HP gets low.
  • SLA Industries: The Shaktar race are honorable, bipedal humanoid warriors with dreadlocks and bizarre mandible-like lips. They also throw power discs that cut through things.

    Video Games 
  • Abuse: The Xenomorph Xerox-fighting protagonist, although human, wears Predator-esque Powered Armor.
  • Alien Rampage features a Predator-like alien protagonist, known as Ravager (the game's original title), complete with dreadlocks and an arsenal of dangerous weaponry.
  • Destiny 2 features the Fallen, also known as the Eliksni, a species of spider-esque aliens that can climb walls, jump high, and sport cloaking tech as well as Shock Blades, a type of sword or knife charged with electricity. While they retain Proud Warrior Race qualities, they trade in the Predator Pastiche theme of hunting for a theme based on piracy, although they are associated with the game's Hunter class in silhouette and fighting style.
  • 8th Man has dreadlocked brutes wearing Predator-like masks as Elite Mook enemies, usually attacking either one or two at a time. They can occasionally fire Hand Blasts on you from a distance away.
  • Halo: The Elites/Sangheili are a more reptilian take on the trope. The main military caste of the Covenant during most of their war against humanity, they are a Proud Warrior Race whose signature weapons are a broad energy blade and a compact Plasma Cannon. They have segmented mandibles and cloaking technology like the Predator. They also end up fighting the parasitic Flood (who take great influence from the Xenomorphs) as often as humans. Strangely, a female Elite shown in Halo Legends is also portrayed with somewhat Predator-like dreadlocks despite every other Elite in the series being hairless.
  • League of Legends: Rengar is a homage to the Predator, with a philosophy of hunting the strong, a camouflage ability, dreadlocks, living in the jungles of Ixtal, and a trinket of teeth from his prey (which lets him get stronger as he collects trophies from each unique champion he kills). He has a rivalry with Kha'Zix, a Xenomorph Xerox, and has a special in-game event that shows up only when both are on opposite teams, Kha'Zix has evolved three abilities, and Rengar has taken trophies from each member of the enemy team: if Rengar kills Kha'Zix before Kha'Zix kills him, he replaces his necklace with the head of his foe. The Headhunter skinline (of which Rengar was the first) takes it further, being an entire set of cosmetics inspired by the aesthetics of the Predator (most notably the black dreadlock hair).
  • Marathon: The Hunters draw heavily from the Predator's armor design, complete with a shoulder cannon, although they lack its Invisibility Cloak.
  • Mass Effect: The turians are a downplayed example, being an alien species with mandibles surrounding their jaws (which are blunt and curve outward and are used exclusively for nonverbal communication). Prior to the start of the game they fought a war with humanity but they're a Proud Soldier Race rather than a Proud Warrior Race and they believe in intelligent tactics and cooperation rather than individual prowess or collecting trophies.
  • Mortal Kombat: The ninja cyborgs are relentless trackers/hunters inspired by Boba Fett and the Predator. This can be seen in their masked faces with dreadlock-like wires coming out the back, and their abilities which include invisibility and energy attacks, and some have (energy) nets and a self-destruct (via arm control) as a fatality.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4: The Verdugo is an insectoid variant, also incorporating Xenomorph design elements, effectively making it a Predalien Pastiche.
    • Resident Evil 3 (Remake): The Hunter Betas, with their segmented outer mandibles, resemble reptilian Predators.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: The Iridorian is concealed by an opaque helmet, so his physical appearance is unknown, but his description of his species' culture is unmistakably reminiscent of the Predator archetype. He expresses disdain for other traditionally mercenary species for valuing money or ethics above what should be most important to any hunter: savagely killing one's prey.
  • Starcraft: The Protoss are a Higher-Tech Species of mouthless Proud Warriors with dreadlocked hair. note 
    • In the games, their basic unit, the Zealot, is a melee fighter with blades affixed to their forearms. They also begin as Scary Dogmatic Aliens before the plot develops them out of it, and are fierce opponents of the Zerg, who are the setting's Xenomorph Xerox.
    • The Nerazim, or Dark Templar, take the parallel even further, as they are shadowy hunters who wield cloaking technology, and even decorate themselves with trophies from their hunts, such as hydralisk bones. In the sequel, one of the portraits for them shows them wearing jawbones on either side of their chin, giving them a mandible-like appearance.
  • Unreal: The Skaarj are a technologically advanced but savage race of warriors with mandible-like tusks, dreadlocks, and wrist-mounted blades called Raziks. Although rather reptilian in appearance, their lifecycle is actually more like insects, as Skaarj Queens lay eggs which hatch into pupae before metamorphizing into adults.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The Prone are a large, imposing Proud Warrior Race that judge everything (including allies) by martial superiority. There are two warring clans (the Tree Clan and Cavern Clan), which have been at odds for centuries; the Tree Clan is willing to work alongside humanity against their greater foe, while the Cavern Clan are almost all hostile upon sight. Even their faces have some resemblance to Predators, with wide, mandible-like mouths.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: The Sotoraggian Bounty Hunters are a clan of ruthless high-tech hunters who speak a strange language, appear monstrous under their helms (at least in Six-Six's case), carry an arsenal of deadly alien weapons, and have no qualms about challenging powerful prey for the kill. The main difference is that, while the Predators are in it for the thrill of the hunt, the Sotoraggians are in it for the pay.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid", Gene is sick during Thanksgiving and asks his sisters to tell him stories that make him hate food to pass the time. Louise's story is "Breadator", which has Gene as Dutch being hunted down by the Breadator (played by Bob), an alien made out of bread that turns its prey into baked goods.
  • Duck Dodgers: "K-9 Quarry" turns Wile E. Coyote into one, complete with a Trophy Room and a menacing armored suit. Unfortunately, given this is Wile E. we're talking about..
  • Freakazoid!: In "Nerdator", a clear Predator parody (albeit one with a robotic appearance) starts kidnapping nerds.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a brief reference in "Every Little Thing She Does". While sorting photos for a scrapbook, Applejack shows off a picture of Big Macintosh escaping from a spiky-haired creature with oversized mandibles, by jumping in a mud pit to disguise his body heat.
    Applejack: Big Mac knew if he just covered himself in mud, the creature wouldn't be able to see him!
  • The New Adventures of He-Man has an episode unsubtly titled "Dreadator". The titular character is "the unbeaten gladiator-champion of the universe", and Skeletor maneuvers him into defending his title by fighting He-Man.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "The Least Dangerous Game", K'Ranch is an intimidating eight-foot-tall animalistic alien whose species' culture revolves around finding prey to hunt using advanced harpoons and boomerangs, changed just enough to avoid copyright.note  The main joke though is he is actually a Friend to All Living Things, the hunt is "catch and release" complete with taking selfies, and the injury he inflicted on Boimler is easily mended with Starfleet medical technology.
  • Teen Titans Go! has the Alien Skull Hunter, who initially hunts down the Titans with the intent of collecting their skulls as a reward of the hunt, but he turns out to be a pretty nice guy who gets along with the Titans once they offer him some coconut curry. By the time he has to leave, he's built a strong bond of friendship with Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beastboy. He still adds Robin's skull to his collection, though.

 
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Breadator

Louise is trying to get Gene to hate bread by telling a story about the Breadator, it's like the Predator but with bread.

How well does it match the trope?

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