A Detailed Timeline Of The ‘Predator’ Franchise And The Most Important Hunts

The Predator franchise began with mercenaries trying to defeat a strange extraterrestrial hunter while deep in a secluded rainforest. Soon enough, the science-fiction franchise would expand as more of these extraterrestrial hunters were encountered around the world. These alien lifeforms would come to be known as Yautja and they’d soon begin terrorizing everywhere from the forests of Central America to the streets of Los Angeles.

According to the Predator movies and comic books, the Yautja have quite a complicated history with humans. In fact, while humans first encounter with the Yautja was thought to be Dutch’s team of mercenaries in 1987, interactions with these alien hunters actually predate this event by several centuries. The Predator timeline is far from simple, however there are key hunts that help explain the history between humans and the Yautja. Traveling all the way back to ancient civilization, here is an in-depth exploration of all the major events involving Yautja and humans according to the timeline of the Predator films.

1. 2996 BCE: The Yautja Meet The Egyptians, Aztecs, and Mayans

Photo: Alien Vs. Predator / 20th Century Fox

It all starts here, long before Dutch went head-to-head with a chatty Yautja in the jungles of Central America, and way before the Predalien wiped out a small Colorado town. As human civilization was just getting its act together, the Yautja showed up to teach primitive tribes across the globe how to build pyramids.

The Egyptians, Aztecs, and Mayans each had their own run-ins with the Yautja, a highly advanced species that were considered to be gods. Worshipped as deities, the Yautja not only used humans to construct the pyramids, but also pushed them to breed Xenomorphs for their hunts.

2. The Yautja Begin Ceremonial Hunts Every Hundred Years

Photo: Alien Vs. Predator / 20th Century Fox

It didn’t take long after the first pyramids were finished that the Yautja began their centennial Xenomorph hunts in South and Central America. The hunts test the mettle of young Yautja trying to earn their dreads. Survivors are considered to be worthy of future hunts, and those who are overwhelmed by Xenomorphs destroy everything in order to keep Xenomorphs from taking over the planet.

Initially, natives offered themselves up as hosts for the Xenomorphs to help the creatures they saw as gods carry on with their hunt. As time went on, this practice disappeared, and the Yautja were forced to coerce humans to the area through heat blooms and various scientific quandaries in order to continue with their hunt.

3. 1718: A Yautja Mysteriously Aids A Pirate Captain

Photo: Dark Horse Comics

The first recorded instance of a Yautja and a person working together occurred in 1718, and – wouldn’t you know it – it was a nasty affair. That was the year that pirate captain Raphael Adolini faced a mutiny over a case of gold that was on its way to a mission. Adolini wanted to make sure the gold made it to its destination, but the crew thought otherwise.

A Yautja entered the fray as Adolini’s men chased him through the jungles off the Guinea Coast. Adolini and the Yautja fought back-to-back until they defeated all but one of the mutinous crew members. A final member of the crew shot Adolini in the back and earned a blast from the Yautja for his efforts. Before Adolini passed on, he gave an engraved musket to the Yautja. Before leaving, the Yautja left his retractable sword with Adolini’s body.

4. 1719: The Comanche People Encounter A Yautja

Photo: Prey / Hulu

The Comanche hunting grounds were turned into a killing field when a Yautja arrived in 1719. What began as a hunt for the area’s apex predators turned into a gruesome battle of man versus alien when young Comanche healer, Naru, noticed the creature stalking animals in the area.

Naru’s tribe doesn’t realize what they’re up against until it’s far too late. Her fellow warriors and her brother are slaughtered by the vicious alien hunter, as are a group of French fur trappers who are so out of their element with the Yautja it’s not even funny. It looks as if the Yautja is about to have free run of the planet until Naru truly proves herself as a warrior. She uses her surroundings, as well as the contemporary weapons of the hunter alien, to drown it in a bog before beheading it.

5. 1904: A Ceremonial Hunt Is Interrupted By A Whaling Group

Photo: Alien Vs. Predator / 20th Century Fox

In 1904, Norwegian whalers near Razorback Point experienced underwater tremors in the chilly Arctic waters surrounding them. The men who investigated the mysterious rumbling discovered a metallic pod hidden in a crater on the ice that held a Yautja. As soon as this single hunter was free of the pod, it started wiping out whalers left and right.

The whalers had the bad luck of showing up on time for the centennial hunt, so they didn’t just have to deal with one Yautja – which might have ended decently – they had Xenomorphs to deal with, too. The men were wiped out completely, and Razorback Point became a ghost town.

6. 1987: Dutch’s Team Defeats A Yautja

Photo: Predator / 20th Century Fox

If the Yautja popped up on Earth between 1904 and the decades leading up to Predator, there’s no record of it. In 1987, one of these alien hunters popped down to Central America. That’s where it ran afoul of a search-and-destroy troop of ex-military men led by Major “Dutch” Schaefer, who were wiping out a group of insurgents.

Dutch’s team was completely wiped out until the major was the only person left standing. He went head-to-head with the Yautja in jungle warfare, which led to the hunter blowing himself up with a timed nuclear device. Dutch and the single insurgent survivor, Anna Gonsalves, escaped the explosion on a helicopter.

7. Survivor Anna Informs The US Government About The Yautja

Photo: Predator / 20th Century Fox

At an unspecified time following her escape from the Central American jungle, Anna spent time working with the US government to inform them about her experience with the Yautja. Her information helped form the basis of the Other Worldly Life Forms Program.

Her cooperation with the government filled in a lot of the blanks about the Yautja’s defenses and technology and allowed the OWLF to prepare for the Yautja’s next mission to Earth.

8. 1990: The Yautja Abduct Ronald Noland

Photo: Predators / 20th Century Fox

In 1990, former United States Army Air Cavalryman Ronald Noland was in the middle of a CIA-sponsored government coup when he was captured by the Yautja for some fun and games. He was taken to the game reserve planet where he was forced to fight for his life as the young hunters sharpened their skills.

All in all, Noland spent 10 “seasons” on the planet, which seems to be about 20 Earth years. During his time on the planet, he learned to evade the Yautja through his own skills – and by adapting to their technology. 

9. 1997: A Yautja Hunts Throughout Los Angeles

Photo: Predator 2 / 20th Century Fox

When Lieutenant Michael Harrigan started investigating a Los Angeles turf war between rival groups, the last thing he expected was to catch the eye of a trophy-hunting alien. Harrigan caught the interest of a Yautja warrior hunting in the urban jungle and spent the next few days fighting it off.

The hunter focused specifically on Harrigan during its visit to the city of stars, but it also managed to run afoul of the OWLF (the Other Worldly Life Forms Program). The secret government group tried to capture the Yautja in a frozen meat locker, but that didn’t work out the way they expected – that is, they were all slaughtered. Harrigan actually managed to take down the hunter somewhere east of the Sunset Strip, and for his bravery, he was rewarded with the musket belonging to Captain Adolini. 

10. 2000s: Scientist Sean Keyes Becomes Obsessed With The Yautja

Photo: The Predator / 20th Century Fox

Following the demise of his father in 1997, Sean Keyes developed an interest in the Yautja. Rather than put boots on the ground with the military to follow in the footsteps of dear old Dad, Sean became a government scientist in order to study the creatures. Whether or not he was seeking revenge is unclear.

Before going to work at Stargazer, Keyes worked with the OWLF to keep records of their research into the Yautja. At some point in his rise through the ranks of the secret government program, Keyes met with Dutch to get more insight into the alien hunters.

11. October 10, 2004: The Predalien Is Created

Photo: Alien Vs. Predator / 20th Century Fox

In 2004, a group of scientific researchers were brought to the Bouvetøya island off the coast of Antarctica to investigate a mysterious heat signal. Bad news – this little trip happened to be 100 years after a certain group of whalers were ripped to shreds. Anyway, that heat signal turned out to be a ruse created to draw humans toward a Xenomorph nesting place. It wasn’t a good time for anyone.

The only survivors of the ensuing event were a single human who worked with a Yautja nicknamed “Scar” to fight the Xenomorph Queen. A group of elder Yautja watching over the hunt collected Scar’s body and brought him aboard their ship, but were unaware he had been impregnated by a facehugger. He later gave birth to a Predalien.

12. October 14, 2004: A Colorado Town Is Destroyed To Prevent The Spread Of Predaliens

Photo: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem / 20th Century Fox

Shortly after the centennial hunt off the coast of Antarctica, the Predalien hatched from Scar and took out every member of the Yautja on board – but not before they could get off a distress signal to a nearby ship. After landing in Gunnison, CO, the Predalien caused straight-up havoc in the small town. It’s sort of like how in The Blob remake, the Blob eats everyone in the town, but with a half Xenomorph, half Yautja.

The Predalien and a Yautja responding to the distress signal ripped up the city as a group of humans attempted to make sense of the creatures while trying to get help from the US government. Rather than pop in to do battle with the two alien hunters, the government smartly turned the area into a wasteland with a nuclear blast.

13. 2000s: The Yautja Begin To Feud Among Themselves

Photo: Predators / 20th Century Fox

It’s not exactly clear when the blood feud between various clans of the Yautja began, but it was first spoken about by humans on film sometime in the 2010s. The extraterrestrial creatures haven’t written a lengthy thinkpiece about the factions on their planet, but from what we can tell, there are two main groups: Super Predators and the Jungle Hunter Clan.

In 2010, Noland stated that the two groups were at war with one another, but there was no clear indication why. In order to tell the difference between the two, all one needs to do is look at them. The Super Predators are larger and stronger than the Jungle Hunters – which tend to be smaller and more lean. Of course, this is all relative because even Jungle Hunters are huge compared to humans, so choose your side wisely.

14. 2010: Eight Humans Are Abducted For Yautja To Hunt On A Game Preserve

Photo: Predators / 20th Century Fox

Why go to Earth and hunt a bunch of Xenomorphs when you can just pick up eight mass murderers and drop them off on a jungle planet where you can hunt them in peace? That’s exactly what happened in 2010 when various soldiers, mercenaries, and even a serial killer were forced to survive a marathon of violence from three hunters.

The three Yautja hunting humans failed to work well together and ended up turning on one another, with the biggest and strongest of them attempting to slay the rest of its cohorts. All three of the hunters were destroyed by the humans.

15. 2018: Project Stargazer Obtains A Weapon That Could Defeat The Yautja

Photo: The Predator / 20th Century Fox

As the successor to the OWLF, Project Stargazer is a secret government operation bent on getting ahold of Yautja technology, as well as a live Yautja specimen. Made up of agents and mercenaries from various government organizations, Stargazer does what it has to do to complete its mission.

In 2018, Project Stargazer added to its collection of spears and masks with a live specimen that turned out to have human DNA. The group surmised that the hunters were attempting to make themselves stronger by co-opting the DNA of the species with which they interacted. After battling with the Yautja, Project Stargazer was gifted a set of “Predator Killer” armor. This was both a warning to humans that the hunters would return, and a weapon to level the playing field.