Prey Director Defends The Force Awakens After New Hope Retread Critics

Prey‘Dan Trachtenberg defends JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens of the criticism that it is a retread of A new hope. Trachtenberg, who has previous action film experience with 10 Cloverfield Lanewas the director of Preya 1987 prequel Predator. Prey does not feature characters from the original film, as it takes the audience back to a time 300 years before the events of Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator. Prey follows the story of Naru, a skilled young warrior, who fights to protect the Comanche Nation from one of the first highly evolved predators on Earth.

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Prey and Star Wars: The Force Awakens share a common criticism that they are too similar to previous installments in their respective franchises. After its release in 2015, the force awakens has been compared to A new hope, which followed a similar plot structure, but with different characters. In the same way, Prey was cited as being too similar to the original Predator film, despite its plot existing in a time before Dutch and Dillon hit screens in the 80s.

Related: Star Wars: The Biggest Difference Between The Force Awakens & New Hope

Now Trachtenberg is speaking out against these criticisms of the force awakensin a recent interview with Radio 1 Screen Time podcast. Trachtenberg compared his film to the force awakensemphasizing that just as the force awakens has structural similarities with A new hopehis film Prey looks like Predator. However, Trachtenberg pointed out that Abrams had been overly criticized for elements of the force awakens which weren’t as important as fans thought. For example, viewers were quick to point out the amount of reflections in the force awakens. Trachtenberg pointed out that “we’ve had movies with tons of lens flare for years.” He quoted Michael Bay Transformers film, which he suggests doesn’t have lens flare in the same way Abrams did. He attributes this to a case of their being”one more thing“, like a lens flare in an irrelevant moment, which throws the”very delicate“Balance paid fan service while creating new content. Check out the full quote from Trachtenberg below:


“I think some movies get bashed because they’re too fan-centric…and it’s like that’s a fraction, sometimes just one too many…I always think of JJ Abrams and lens flares. And, boy, we’ve had movies with tons of lens flare for years! Michael Bay, who’s a filmmaker that people love to criticize for overly aggressive visuals, those Transformers movies are full of lens flare, we have never been, like “the reflection of Michael Bay”. [So then why JJ?] Because it’s like, there’s one more, one at a place where he jumped. And even Force Awakens, I think – people say, “Oh, that’s too much of a retread”, not everyone, but like, there was a voice on the internet that said that. I think it’s as similar to A New Hope as our movie [to Predator]structurally we are very similar, like Rian [Johnson]was at Empire Strikes Back, but maybe there was one thing too much. There was one more thing, you know? So that’s just- all that to say it’s very tricky.”

while defending the force awakens is in Trachtenberg’s best interest here, the director always has a good point about how these elements are perceived by the audience. It’s easy for viewers to jump in and “slander” movies to be”too fan servicey” when in reality they are trying to accomplish the delicate task of creating an original film while paying homage to their franchise predecessors. In both cases, the force awakens and Prey come from beloved franchises, so a reference to the originals and an appreciation for the story structure that earned them so much acclaim is a crucial part of connecting them to their original content.


Even with some of his criticisms, Prey was an overall well-received film, much like the force awakens. Although the film was released on Hulu, speculation has been buzzing as to whether Prey would have been a box office hit had it gone to theaters instead of streaming. In a competitive year for action movies, that may not have quite held up. In both cases, Prey is a valuable entry into the Predator franchise, even if it follows some familiar structures rather than completely charting its own course.

Source: Radio 1’s Screen Time Podcast

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