Even though Predators spend every single movie hunting humans either on Earth or some off-world preserve, humans aren’t the Yautja’s favorite prey.
Despite the fact that Yautja are hunting humans in every installment of the Predator film franchise (and most of the comics/novels as well) one extended-universe story reveals that humans actually aren’t the Predators’ favorite prey, as that honor belongs to an entirely different (yet just as recognizable) lifeform.
Yautja were introduced in the 1987 film Predator as a race of highly-advanced hunters who travel the cosmos in search of the perfect prey. When the Yautja of this first film goes up against an army of guerilla soldiers, followed by an elite team of mercenaries, it tears through them like it is nothing–proving its superiority over humanity. Except, that’s not entirely accurate, as there was one man who single-handedly defeated the Predator and proved that even an advanced species bred to hunt couldn’t match the best humanity had to offer. As the series progressed, this trend persisted as Yautja were shown coming to Earth (or kidnaping humans for an off-world hunt), killing a bunch of people, and then getting killed themselves by a few exceptional human opponents. This regular occurrence would lead one to assume that humans are the species that impress Predators the most, which would–in turn–make humans their favorite prey, but one comic confirms that isn’t the case.
In Aliens vs Predator vs The Terminator #3 by Mark Schultz and Mel Rubi, Ripley8–who is a clone of the original Ripley with traces of Xenomorph DNA within her own, making her a superhuman hybrid–has been abducted by Predators as they need her help in taking down an all-new threat to the cosmos: Xenomorph/Terminator hybrids. In preparation for the final battle between the Predators and the Xenomorph-cyborgs, Ripley8 becomes indoctrinated into the Predator culture, which included a ritual that prepared the Yautja’s spirits for war. During the ritual, Ripley8 begins to understand the Predator race as she learns why they hunt and, more importantly, why they invited her to join them on this particular hunt. Ripley8 confirms that the only reason she was taken in by the Predators was because of her superhuman abilities associated with being part-Xenomorph. As Ripley8 put it, “they didn’t much care for my human side… but, oh, do they respect and approve the alien in me!”.
Predators Have More Respect for Xenomorphs, Making Them Their Favorite Prey
Predator has long-established that Yautja hunts are primarily about mutual respect between the hunter and the hunted, and that at any point those roles can be reversed. It was always assumed, based on the film franchise, that Predators held humans in the highest regard when considering this mindset, but this issue confirms Predators have much more respect for Xenomorphs. As Ripley8 said herself, the Predators didn’t care about her human side, they only thought she was worthy of helping them because she was part Xenomorph. While initially shocking, in the grand scheme of things, this actually makes a great deal of sense. Xenomorphs are a part of Yautja culture, as hunting Xenomorphs is a rite of passage for Predators while hunting humans is just something the Predators sometimes do–making Xenomorphs much more significant to them.
Predators obviously see Xenomorphs as the greatest prey in the cosmos due to the fact that hunting them is literally an integral part of their culture. So, even aside from what Ripley8 said in this issue, it becomes clear that Predators value hunting Xenomorphs much more than hunting humans upon further investigation of their extended lore–proving that humans aren’t Predators’ favorite prey, Xenomorphs are.
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