The following post contains SPOILERS for The Predator.

I had a couple of takeaways from The Predator. First of all, Sterling K. Brown should have been the star of the movie; next time, Shane Black should cast him as his lead (possibly with Trevante Rhodes, who’s the other highlight of The Predator, as his straight-laced sidekick). Second, what’s true of Hollywood movies in general is true of Predators: Bigger is not necessarily better. And third, I don’t know what the hell happened to the final 40 minutes of this movie in the editing room and reshoots, but it is a total mess.

The very last scene is particularly clunky and bizarre. After Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), and Quinn’s son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) finally kill the film’s Mega-Predator, we are treated to a baffling sequence set in a secret government facility. Quinn is introduced to a scientist, some kind of expert in cybernetics, who explains that the first of The Predator’s two Predators — the one that is smaller and basically resembles the alien from the original two movies — had gone rogue, and was coming to Earth to deliver something of great importance. Although this Predator’s ship was destroyed by the Mega-Preda (Note: They don’t technically call him this, but they should) this precious cargo somehow survived, and now it’s in the hands of the U.S. Government.

The scientist reveals that the cargo was referred to by the Predators as “The Predator Killer.” Before someone can ask why a Predator would create a Predator-killing weapon and then willingly hand it over to an alien race, the pod containing the Killer opens. This is a very dramatic reveal, with smoke, alien technology unfurling, and slow camera zooms. Who or what could be inside this pod?!?

When I hear the phrase “Predator Killer” the first thing that comes to mind is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Granted, most phrases make me think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but in this case it’s actually appropriate, since Schwarzenegger’s Dutch killed a Predator in the first movie, and hasn’t been seen or heard from in any of the sequels. Having him kidnapped by the Predators would explain his absence, and would be a great way to set up a sequel you’d actually want to watch. Or a Predator Killer could be one of the xenomorphs from Alien; they’ve tussled before in comics, movies, and video games, and certainly have been known to kill a Predator or two in their day.

Instead, after all the build-up, what’s inside this thing is just another Predator wrist gauntlet. When a guy picks it up, it attaches itself to his arm, covers his body in armor, and targets basically every person in the laboratory. Boyd Holbrook’s character boasts that he’s going to wear it and kill more Predators — even though all the Predators we’ve seen in the film are already dead — and that’s the extremely anticlimactic ending of the movie. It’s shot in a way to suggest this huge reveal of something we will recognize as hugely important and then it’s ... Iron Man Predator? Meh.

But Birth.Movies.Death. just revealed that the film’s script had a very different ending, one that would have actually included Schwarzenegger. Instead of the scene I just described in the lab, here’s what would have happened:

McKenna, his son, Rory and Casey Bracket have all just survived the final attack of the Super Predator (referred to as "The Upgrade" in the script) when a helicopter lands. Out climbs...Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his "face haunted; etched by pain." Dutch tells the trio to come with him, and when Rory asks, "Uh ... me, too?", the franchise's second-most iconic badass smiles and says "Especially you."

BMD notes that Schwarzenegger even talked in interviews about how he’d been offered a role in The Predator that he did not want unless they rewrote it or made it a more “significant role.” Clearly at some point, Black pivoted from that ending to this one, although the way it’s shot, with this opaque pod that slowly opens dramatically to reveal thing mystery MacGuffin, it seems like it was designed so that if Schwarzenegger had changed his mind at the last minute, he could have been inserted here without absolutely no problem. Schwarzenegger stayed away, and so they went with this thing with the armor. Which is not nearly as good. Alas.

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