In 1996, Robert Rodriguez wrote an initial script draft for a sequel to Predator 2, marking the inception of his vision for the Predators project. Being somewhat new in Hollywood, he tried many different ideas for multiple movies and found the Predator series fun. Despite the initial rejection of his script, it laid the groundwork for the eventual Predators movie, albeit with significant differences. The story revolves around Alan "Dutch" Schaefer and a group of soldiers thrown into gladiatorial battles against Predators and other captive aliens on an alien planet. The script was much more epic than the final movie and would have needed a considerably bigger budget.
Galleon Attack and Abduction
In the opening act of the script, an antiquated galleon became the battleground when suddenly attacked by cloaked figures armed with Predator weaponry. Amid the chaos was an aged Dutch, with no good explanation given how he ended up on the ship, or what his motives were. Being the sole survivor, was taken captive by the mysterious attackers who revealed themselves to be human soldiers. This unexpected abduction set the stage for an intergalactic journey filled with trials and revelations.
Arkus 6: Desolation and Discovery
Upon arriving on the desolate planet Arkus 6, the soldiers found themselves amidst the remnants of a destroyed outpost. The discovery of a crucified Predator added to the enigma shrouding the alien world. As the group navigated the desolation, they uncovered the grim reality of a prison complex, setting the tone for a harrowing tale of survival and intrigue. The planet belonged to the Predator race Dutch was trapped on it.
Gladiatorial Arena and Allies
The narrative unfolded in a gladiatorial arena where soldiers, including Dutch, were pitted against Predators and other alien creatures. Amidst the chaos, Dutch formed an alliance with a fellow soldier, Hardwick, as they strove to escape the clutches of the Predators. It is possible that Hardwick was a template for Harrigan from Predator 2, but Rodriguez wasn't sure of his return. The arena became a battleground, testing alliances and exposing the dark collaborations between humans and extraterrestrial hunters.
Betrayals and Predator King's Court
Confrontations within the complex led to revelations of betrayal and collusion. Sadler, a key orchestrator of the human-Predator collaboration, exposed the military's dark dealings. Dutch and JC managed to escape once more, only to find themselves facing the enigmatic Predator King. Dutch fought and killed the King, while the Crucified Predator bombed the remaining enemies in the camp. They joined up in the Predator ship and left for orbit.
A Possible Earth Invasion By Predators
With the escape from Arkus 6 succeeding, the Predator spacecraft set its course for Earth. Dutch, realizing what he had done by killing the Predator King, contemplated the possibility of a full-scale Predator invasion. The story would possibly be expanded in the sequel (Predator 4), leaving Earth on the brink of an extraterrestrial threat that transcended the events on Arkus 6. The Predator invasion of Earth was also hinted later at in The Predator, and was seen to happen in the streets of New York in the first Predator comic series, where Dutch's brother John fought the Predators.
Differences With The Final Movie
Rodriguez's script, while providing the foundation for Predators, underwent significant changes in the final shooting script. The grand scale and the anticipated return of Dutch presented a narrative that, despite facing rejection, remained a compelling "what if" scenario. The Crucified Predator (who survives in the script) and the Black Predator (Berserker) would still make it to the movie, while the River Ghost creature took the place of the many exotic Aliens. While the script had about 50 Predators, the final movie had only four, providing a good way to cut down the budget.
The Real Fate of Dutch Schaefer
With every Predator sequel, there have been rumors of Dutch Schaefer returning in at least a cameo, which has unfortunately never happened. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not appear in Predator 2 and was not interested in Predator 3, so the script had to be rewritten to exclude him. However, Dutch Schaefer would finally return in video game form, in a DLC pack released for Predator: Hunting Grounds. The game would show an older, battle-vary, and scarred soldier who has fought many Predators and has cooperated in some form both with the OWLT and the Stargazer project. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to reprise the role, giving his likeness and voice to the character. The game even included lore tapes from the 30 years of Dutch's past.
The draft for "Predator 3" from 1996 by Robert Rodriguez was an epic and ambitious script that saw Dutch Schaefer returning in a big role to fight many Predators on an alien planet. The script was somewhat dumb in parts and needed several rewrites, which explains its initial rejection. Later, when Rodriguez made a bigger name for himself, the script was picked up again and shot by a friend of Rodriguzes - Nimród Antal. Some parts of the script remain in the final movie, including the abduction of humans and the Crucified Predator.