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Schwarzenegger might be ‘Old Arnold’ in new Predator movie

Director Shane Black’s upcoming reboot of the Predator franchise has been cloaked in secrecy since it was first announced back in 2014, and one of the many unanswered questions posed by fans has involved the potential return of original Predator star Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a recent interview, Black declined to offer any confirmation of the former California governor’s return to the franchise, but did offer some hints about how such a return might be framed.

Basically, if Schwarzenegger does return in The Predator, he’ll be returning as a 25-years-older version of Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, his character in the original 1987 film.

Related: Here’s your first image from Shane Black’s Predator sequel

While the idea of Schwarzenegger returning as an older version of his character instead of a young man might seem too obvious to merit any uncertainty, recent installments of the Terminator franchise have proven that creating a “young” Schwarzenegger is very much in the realm of possibilities for the actor. That won’t be the case in The Predator, though — if he’s actually involved in the film, of course.

Speaking to Crave while promoting his new film The Nice Guys, Black explained how The Predator was likely to approach a return for Schwarzenegger’s alien-fighting leader of an elite special forces team.

“These things all happened in 1990,” said Black of the events in Predator and its 1990 sequel, Predator 2. “But now it’s 25 years later. So in other words, if Arnold’s in it — which I’m not allowed to discuss — he would be old Arnold.”

Black also indicated that there’s a very good reason for the project including “The” in its title — one that will be made clear when The Predator arrives in theaters.

“There is a reference in the script as to why that makes sense, but I’m not really supposed to talk about it,” he teased.

Black also reiterated that the iconic alien hunter could undergo some visual changes for the film, with the movie likely to both answer some questions about the alien species and pose a few more. Among the mysteries he hinted at answering in the film is the question of who actually builds all of those cool spaceships the Predator aliens fly around in, searching for prey.

“You don’t want to change [the canon] up too much, but you want something more said about it,” he said of what the next installment will bring to the franchise. “You want another discovery, another mystery to solve that makes it fresh again.”

Production on The Predator is expected to begin later this year, and the film is currently scheduled to hit theaters March 2, 2018.