One of Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s most iconic films is 1987’s Predator, but he never returned to the franchise which is still going strong. The action icon played a no-nonsense mercenary Dutch who leads his team against an unstoppable alien hunting them for sport. Helmed by future Die Hard director John McTiernan, the relentless sci-fi action film was a huge box office hit. A sequel was fast-tracked and released in 1990. However, Predator 2 sported a new hero played by Danny Glover. Schwarzenegger did not return.
The year of Predator 2‘s release was a successful one for Arnold. Total Recall from Robocop director Paul Verhoeven satisfied the public’s need to see Arnold do visceral action. Meanwhile, Kindergarten Cop, from Ghostbusters and Twins mastermind Ivan Reitman, once again showed Arnold was a solid comedy performer. Since its release, Predator 2 has gained a fanbase. However, it failed at the box office in 1990.
Of course, the Predator franchise lived on in the decades to come. The hunters from outer space were pitted against the xenomorphs of the Alien franchise in two films in the 2000s. 2004’s Alien vs Predator was followed by 2007’s AVP: Requiem. In 2010, Adrien Brody faced off against the alien hunters in Predators. 2018’s The Predator sought to turn the franchise into a more cohesive story but failed to attract an audience. Schwarzenegger was rumored to have parts as Dutch in several of the above sequels at various points. However, nothing ever came to be.
Why Schwarzenegger never returned to the Predator franchise
Currently, Prey is streaming on Hulu to great critical acclaim and positive fan reaction. It serves as a prequel to the events of the original 1987 movie. The film has caused many fans to look back to appraise the previous films in the Predator franchise. Many fans wondered why Arnold never faced off against the alien hunter again.
The original Predator producer, John Davis, recently told Variety why Arnold didn’t return for Predator 2. Everything was lining up nicely for the sequel. The original writers of 1987’s Predator, Jim, and John Thomas returned. “The Thomas brothers wrote that also, and Stephen Hopkins directed it, Davis said. He claims the script with Arnold in the lead was “really wonderful.”
“Arnold was gonna play [Dutch] role. The studio was negotiating with him, and the whole deal fell apart over $250,000. And it was obvious: Joe Roth, who was the head of the studio at the time, just said, ‘I won’t go past this number and Arnold wanted this other number.”
It’s tough to imagine a studio unwilling to shell out more dough for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. Of course, another sequel would make Arnold an even bigger superstar. Released in the summer of 1991, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It was a huge success, likely leaving Joe Roth wishing he had paid Arnold what he was asking for.