Behind The Scenes

PREDATOR 2 - Making the Predator Suits

See how Stan Winston Studio created the Alien Hunters for the popular sequel to Predator.

Aug 17, 2017

The Hunt Continues. This time in Los Angeles.

Predator 2, directed by Stephen Hopkins has another Predator coming to Earth, this time to hunt human game on the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles. Kevin Peter Hall returned to portray the Predator, while Stan Winston Studio designed and built a new and improved version of its now-famous character.

"We Got That Chance To Improve"

To watch the PREDATOR 2 - Making the Predator Suits video, click on the player below: 

This time though, the SWS crew were working within a normal schedule, rather than under the emergency conditions of the original film. “Every time you do something,” Shane Mahan remarked, “you come out of it knowing what you would do differently next time if you got a chance. On Predator 2, we got that chance to improve.”

Pictured above: John Rosengrant & Shane Mahan sculpt the Predator 2 suit in WED clay at Stan Winston Studio.

Stan Winston Studio artists altered some elements of the Predator design, both to distinguish this Predator from his predecessor and to serve Stephen Hopkins’ vision of the character as more urban and hip, befitting the sequel’s street setting.

Pictured above: John Rosengrant sculpts the Predator stunt head as Stan Winston and Shane Mahan discuss brow detail.

“The director wanted this Predator to be more colorful,” said Mahan, “with flashier, more intricate weapons. The design of the Predator’s head was also altered a bit to make it look like it was a different individual - the same species, but a different character. It was steeper and a little shallower.

Pictured above: SWS crew members work on the suits at Stan Winston Studio. 

Pictured above: The painted, finished hands, with Jordu Schell in the background. 

We didn’t just want to pull out the old mold from the first movie and paint it differently because we thought audiences would detect that.”

Pictured above: Final Predator head, painted by John Rosengrant.

It All Starts With Design

Illustrating concepts for Predator 2 was the first job assigned to Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery, a musician and recent graduate from the Art Center in Pasadena who would play a crucial role at Stan Winston Studio for a number of years. When it appeared that his rock and roll aspirations were not going to pan out, McCreery determined to make a living as an artist - but not in any traditional way.

Pictured above: Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery’s designs for the hero Predator in Predator 2 gave the character an updated, yet familiar look. A horned brow ridge, multiple lower fangs, and more detailed tribal ornamentation highlighted the new design.

Pictured above: Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery’s concept renderings for Predator 2.  

Mark “Crash” McCreery, Len Burge, Ian Stevenson, Bruce Spaulding Fuller & John Rosengrant extrapolated from the original Predator design for their drawings of Predator 2's weaponry.


Pictured above: SWS concept artist Ian Stevenson’s Predator 2 hero mask & Predator wrist gauntlet design.

Pictured above: Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery’s original black & white pencil renderings.

Pictured above: John Rosengrant’s body and armor concepts.

Pictured above: Artists in action! Top to bottom: John Rosengrant, Ian Stevenson, and Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery.

Same Species. Different Character.

The build for Predator 2 included the basic suit and head, plus a mechanized insert puppet head that had more intricate mouth movement for shots of the Predator speaking - something the character did not do in the first film.

Pictured above: The basic head and a mechanized hero puppet head.

Pictured above: Hero insert bust with full puppet head, used in the Predator’s death scene.

The Original Predator Makes a Cameo. Kind Of.

For the character designated the ‘Elder’, the Stan Winston crew used the original Predator head, modified slightly with foam latex appliances. “We changed the structure and the look of it a bit,” said Mahan, “and broke a tusk on it to make it look older. It was fun to go back and do that guy again.”

Pictured above: Top & bottom right - Different angles of the "Greyback" aka Elder Predator head, a modified mask pulled from the original Predator molds. Bottom Left - Beth Hathaway works on the Greyback.


After Harrigan finally defeats the City Hunter aboard the Predator ship, Greyback and his band of alien hunters surround him. But rather than kill the human, the Elder Predator presents him with an antique flintlock pistol as a show of respect for his fighting prowess.

Pictured above: Top - The Elder Predator takes center stage. Middle - The flintlock pistol "trophy" presented to Harrigan. Bottom - John Rosengrant touches up Kevin Peter Hall as the Elder Predator as director Stephen Hopkins sets up the shot.

The Lost Predators

The crew built multiple suits and heads, with various paint schemes, for a scene aboard the alien spaceship, in which a number of Predators are seen.

Pictured above: Completed "Lost Predator" suits at Stan Winston Studio. 

Pictured above: Another view of the finished Predator suits. 

Pictured above: Wyatt Weed in the "Boar" Predator suit on the set. 

The Predators of the hunting party (not including the City Hunter) are often referred to collectively as the "Lost Predators" because the suits used to depict them on film were literally lost after production was completed.

Pictured above: All the Lost Predators with their names.

Several of the hunting party members were played by players from the Los Angeles Lakers; Danny Glover was a big fan of the team, and when the production needed several very tall people to play the background Predators he asked them to help out.

Pictured above: Top - Team photo of the Los Angeles Lakers players. Bottom -  Lakers players on the set of Predator 2 in their "Lost Predator" suits. 

The brief scene featuring the Predator hunting party was the films most expensive, requiring Stan Winston's team to build nine additional, customized Predator suits for just a few minutes of screen time.

Pictured above: "Guardian" aka Gort Predator and a friend outside the Stan Winston Studio truck.

The Predators seen on the ship make a special appearance in the humorous behind the scenes "Danny Glover's Predator Dance Party" video (Via

To watch, click on the player below: 

In The Streets Of Los Angeles

While much of Predator had been filmed in remote Mexican jungles, Predator 2 was shot in the streets of Los Angeles. But crewmembers were soon longing for the jungle locations.

Pictured above: Kevin Peter Hall as the "City Hunter."

“The most horrible places I’ve ever had to film in were the alleys in downtown Los Angeles,” Shane Mahan commented, “and Predator 2 was shot in a lot of those disgusting alleys. They were dirty and depressing and gross, with people peeing on walls. We’d be rigging something, and there would be rats there."

Pictured above: A promo picture for the film with Kevin Peter Hall in the full suit on set.

"I remember being at the top of a thirteen-story building with Kevin Peter Hall and his stunt double one day when we were shooting Predator 2," recalled Mahan, "just strapped to the building’s edge, hanging there, for a long, long time. That’s the kind of thing that isn’t a lot of fun when you’re going through it; but it is great to look back on as an experience.” “Doing creature work is always easiest on stage,” John Rosengrant added, “in the controlled environment of a studio. But, on the other hand, shooting on location is more of an adventure."

Pictured above: One armed stuntman R. David Smith portrayed the Predator in Predator 2 when the Predator is dropped down the side of a thirteen-story building.

Pictured above: Left: The Jamaican gang members' skinned body dummies. Right: Shane Mahan adds fake blood to one of the skinned corpse dummies on set.

King Willie's Fate

You can't see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin'. - King Willie

Pictured above: King Willie faces off with the Predator. 

For Predator's decapitation of voodoo priest and Jamaican gang leader, King Willie (played by Calvin Lockhart), Stan Winston Studio artists created a totally realistic severed head. The irony of one dreadlocked badass facing down another was not lost on Predator fans, but King Willie never had a chance.

Pictured clockwise from top left: Bruce Spaulding Fuller paints the King Willie head, reference photo of actor Calvin Lockhart, the severed head in progress, the head as it appears in the film.

The Ultimate Trophy Room

Pictured above: Harrigan finds the Predator spaceship's "Trophy Room."

Stan Winston's team created several extraterrestrial skulls for the Predator trophy room. Most of them unnamed alien species sprung from the SWS artists' imaginations.

Pictured above: Sculpting and painting extraterrestrial skulls at Stan Winston Studio. 

However, in a fun nod to the Dark Horse comic Alien vs Predator, John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan decided to include an Alien Warrior skull in the Predator’s trophy case. The skull was sculpted by Kevin Hudson.

Pictured above: The Alien Warrior skull by Kevin Hudson.

The Finished Suit

Pictured above: Another promo picture for the movie with Kevin Peter Hall on the set. 

Pictured above: Kevin Peter Hall as The Predator and Gary Busey as Peter Keyes on the set of Predator 2.

Predator 2's New Weapons

Check out our blog about the new weapons HERE: Predator 2 - New Weapons for a new Predator

Pictured above: Predator spear, dics and blades at Stan Winston Studio. 

- Blog assembled by Balázs Földesi with selections from The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio by Jody Duncan