We ain't got time to bleed as we run down the Predator movies in order.
The long-anticipated Predator prequel, titled Prey, is now available on Hulu (opens in new tab) in the U.S. and Star (through Disney Plus) internationally. This new take on the Predator formula has given the franchise a second fighting chance, big screen or not. For now, the hunt continues on streaming, where you can watch the entire franchise if you don’t have physical copies at hand. If you need some guidance, here’s our list of all the Predator movies in chronological order, including the two Alien vs. Predator (AvP) flicks.
The Predator movie franchise has slowly become bigger than anyone could have predicted, already packing five “solo” installments and two Alien vs. Predator crossover entries in which the most famous spacefaring hunters of all time clashed against the infamous Xenomorphs. On top of that, video games and especially comic books are keeping the flame of the hunt alive for newer generations and hardcore fans that want more gory action.
The Predator timeline is pretty straightforward so far and works well in conjunction with the AvP movies – the “solo” Alien movies don’t – if you’re willing to consider them as canonical. In fact, there are some explicit references to the first AvP in a subsequent Predator movie.
If the Alien vs. Predator talk (and potential rewatches) you find below gets you in the mood for more Xenomorph-driven horror, be sure to check out our rundown of the Alien movies, ranked worst to best. And if you’re looking for a more critical take on each Predator movie, head over to our list of the Predator movies ranked, worst to best.
There are no spoilers in this list beyond the basic premise of each movie and some curiosities and references, but if you want to go in as blind as possible, stick to the bullet point below.
Predator movies in chronological order
- Predator 2
- Alien vs Predator
- Alien vs Predator 2
- The Predator
- Release date: August 5, 2022
- Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro
After more than 30 years, the Predator franchise dared to escape modern-day settings and went back in time to tell a simple but highly effective tale of survival that just so happens to feature a Predator. Set in the Great Plains in 1719, the movie follows Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche woman trying to prove herself as a worthy warrior and hunter while a feral Predator visits Earth for the first time.
There’s not much to say here. This is the first Predator movie if you want to follow the universe’s history. There are no story references nor connections to the other flicks beyond an explicit Predator 2 wink that may or may not lead into a new “period piece” movie.
- Release date: June 12, 1987
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
In 1987, up-and-coming action director John McTiernan and rising star Arnold Schwarzenegger knocked it out of the park with an action-packed monster feature penned by Jim and John Thomas. In spite of several production-related hurdles, the sci-fi horror flick found great success and is widely regarded as one of the best American action movies ever to this day.
The original Predator takes place in 1987, in the middle of U.S. interference in Central and South American political affairs. A CIA operative (Carl Weathers) and mercenary Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lead a military team deep into a Central American jungle to take down a sensitive enemy operation before a Predator starts hunting them down. Since it’s the very first movie, it works on its own and is light on information about the alien hunters.
3. Predator 2
- Release date: November 21, 1990
- Cast: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton
Predator 2 ditched the jungle setting of the original movie for the concrete jungle of a twisted vision of Los Angeles seven years into the future (1997); there’s a huge heat wave and crime is running rampant – the perfect destination for our favorite hunters from outer space.
The decision to set the movie seven years into the future instead of 1990 is strange, as everything looks and feels one-hundred percent early 90s. However, it quickly helps sell the chaotic and blood-soaked version of Los Angeles the movie wants to play with. It’s very much a sequel to the original movie, with Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) connecting the dots for detective Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and expanding on the events of Predator and what humans have learned about the dangerous spacefaring warriors over ten years.
Moreover, Predator 2 introduced the possibility of Xenomorphs existing in the same universe with the brief appearance of a skull displayed as a trophy. Plus, there’s that fun item near the end which now has a connection to Prey.
4. AVP: Alien vs. Predator
- Release date: August 13, 2004
- Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen
After a failed AvP project which was developed in the 90s, Shane Salerno’s script set the action in (back then) the present day, 2004. An expedition led by Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) wants to investigate a massive heat signal under the ice on Bouvetøya, an island off the coast of Antarctica. What comes afterwards is a chaotic battle between long-dormant Xenomorphs and three Predator hunters, with humans caught in the middle.
As the first Alien vs. Predator crossover movie, AvP tries really hard to connect both franchises, especially with the inclusion of Aliens veteran Lance Henriksen as the founder of Weyland Industries (which later becomes Weyland-Yutani after a merger). However, it put the origins of the Xenomorphs – as presented by Alien (1979) – into question, and Ridley Scott’s prequel movies later trashed the entire idea of Xenos existing this early in the timeline.
As for the Predators, nothing in this movie contradicted their rather simple lore and history up to that point. We get a huge flashback way back in time which connects the species to human history, plus the extended cut opens with a flashback to 1904 that explains the “whaling station” incident mentioned later in the movie.
5. AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
- Release date: December 25, 2007
- Cast: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz
20th Century Fox’s (now Studios) second go at AvP was met with abysmal reviews and a cold shoulder from most fans, although it delivered enough unrestrained nastiness and new bits of Predator lore to catch the attention of diehard fans. AVPR is set in 2004 too, starting right after the previous movie cuts to black. There are some notable differences between the theatrical cut and the extended one (which is the way to go), but the main events remain unchanged in the latter.
This movie keeps pushing the idea of everything in both franchises happening in one big timeline, and ends up tying Yutani Corp’s huge space travel advancements we see in the Alien movies to Predator tech. This isn’t canon anymore for the Alien franchise, but as mentioned before, the AvP movies have been seemingly embraced by the Predator timeline. On top of that, we get to see the Predator homeworld – or at least one planet controlled by their civilization – and a bit of how they operate when they’re not hunting on Earth.
- Release date: July 9, 2010
- Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga
This Robert Rodriguez-produced joint relaunched the Predator saga with a new generation of badasses and expanded the mythology in intriguing ways – turns out there are different races of Predators, and they’ve got a feud going on. They all love hunting other worlds’ most dangerous life forms though.
There’s been some debate over this entry’s actual place in the timeline – a discussion reignited by The Predator director Shane Black during the promotion of his movie – so let’s try to break it down and explain our decision.
Predators doesn’t mention a specific year, and its varied roster of criminals and mercs could be mined for little clues (trust us, the fandom has), plus the setting – an unknown alien planet – welcomes the possibility of this group of Predators abducting and storing their selected preys in cryosleep for a long time before each hunt begins. Moreover, the next installment in the timeline doesn’t mention anything or anyone from this one. Since all of this is theory-making fueled by the movie’s vagueness, we’re choosing to stick with an early 2010s time period unless an official source states otherwise.
7. The Predator
- Release date: September 14, 2018
- Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay
The Predator is set in 2018, no complications here. But it also ran with the idea of a feud between distinct Predator factions – though the group from Predators appears to be a third one – and took things even further by rewriting (or at least upgrading) some of the species’ key lore and technology.
Even though future movies will probably ignore most of the new elements introduced here, The Predator contains some interesting bits and connections, with the most notable being the inclusion of a Predator shuriken and a makeshift Xenomorph tail spear – both from the first AvP movie – inside Project Stargazer’s base of operations, where Sean Keyes (Jake Busey) continued the work of his father, who we met in Predator 2.
If we really want to get wild, two scrapped endings showed either Ellen Ripley or Rebecca “Newt” Jordan (yes, really) as seen in Aliens being extracted from the mysterious Predator pod, so we can assume one of the plans thrown around at some point before release included a new Alien vs. Predator flick. And, of course, such a bananas final twist would have confirmed the long-standing theory of Predators having access to time travel while muddling up the timelines all over again.
Predator movies in release order
- Predator (1987)
- Predator 2 (1990)
- Alien vs Predator (2004)
- Alien vs Predator 2 (2007)
- Predators (2010)
- The Predator (2018)
- Prey (2022)