Wait, this Predator is Canadian?
As the only member of the Lost Tribe to
have served as a Temple Guard, Guardian's skills a much more similar to a soldier than a hunter. After serving some time protecting the Clan Leader, he sought to apply his unique methods to trophy hunting. He was chosen by Greyback himself for his experience with high-powered artillery and explosives. Guardian is the very definition of "The Big Gun" among his fellow hunters, often using his array of ballistics to quickly create new paths or clear an area of potential threats. Because of these specialties, he was rarely tasked with taking out the primary targets - after all, in order to acquire a trophy, there needs to be something left. Limitations set on his role among the Lost Tribe would eventually cause Guardian to leave for solo missions. During that time, he would learn to master his devatating arsenal, seeking the most dangerous Xenomorph hunts in the universe. With his potential finally proven, Guardian's new parth would earn him the coveted Yautja status of "Elite" hunter.
So I've come to the realization that I more look forward to these fun expanded universe bios from the back of the boxes than I look forward to the figures themselves. Not that I'm not enjoying the Ultimate Lost Predators, but read that story above and then look at Tristan Jones' box art - Guardian is fighting a Flying Alien Queen! Just like in the old Kenner line! A flock of warrior drones is skittering around in the background, and they appear to be fighting on the paws of some alien Sphinx statue. The original art would have just had Guardian kneeling in front of an unknown background, but this dynamic fight is awesomely better.
If you'll recall, back when the non-Ultimate Lost Tribe was coming out, Monkey Boy informed us all about how utterly boring
Guardian was as a concept and design: "Guardian Predator was kind of an easter egg in Predator 2, because he's wearing the mask that was originally intended for the antagonist of the first Predator film [...] While the other Preds get the same basic body with unique armor, clothing and trophies to set them apart, [Guardian] is pretty much all [City Hunter], right down to the bone purse/satchel thing he's wearing. Same armor, same retractable blades, same loincloth, same 'plasma caster' shoulder cannon. [...] at this stage in the game that costume isn't particularly interesting if you've been collecting the figures all along." And he's not wrong.
At least back then, Guardian had paint on his side. He had an off-white base with a reddish pattern above that, and armor that looked like tarnished silver - a uniquely vibrant look for a Pred. Maybe their colors fade with age, because this one has a darker yellow base and a stripey brown pattern. Even the armor looks dingier. So everything is painted well (even the lines of the fishnet body stocking), but it's not as... "thrilling" as before? He looks more like everyone else. There's one oddity, though: the little bit of scalp visible behind his mask is the bright red the rest of him should have been.
Like it says above, the mask Guardian wears is the one originally developed for the first movie, but was adjusted and simplified because it looked too much like the Predator's real face - the filmmakers wanted it to be more of a surprise. This mold is the same that's been used since the 2011 "Gort" Predator exclusive, with all the same little cuts and dings, though this time there are some dirty splatters of paint on it as well, making it look like it's seen more wear and battles over the years.
Like all the Lost Tribe Ultimates, Guardian includes a second head. It's interesting to note that so far, all the ones NECA has updated were ones who were originally wearing masks, so they just had to kitbash faces for them, not design new masks - it will be interesting to see what biomasks they come up with for Elder and Shaman when we get there. (Lost was also originally unmasked, but they'd already designed a mask for him a few years ago.) This head has the mandibles open, like the Arcade Mad Predator, but the markings on the scalp don't match the solid red seen on the masked head.
The 2012 Guardian only included an extended spear and a closed throwing disc, because that's what the one seen in the movie carried.
If you've read the other Lost Tribe Ultimate reviews, you can probably guess 2021 Guardian comes with those, plus their alternate closed/open versions. He also has an energy blast that fits on his shoulder cannon (orange this time, not like Stalker's blue), and like Scout, he has the little pop-up mini-blaster on his left gauntlet. There are also a variety of hands to hold all the various accessories.
The "new"-new parts include what the back of the box calls a "removable Proximity Bomb," which is functionally just a big lump
that can swap on or off his backpack as needed, and an arm cannon. The "bomb" looks like a metal cicada, for want of a better comparison, but the tech does match what we know of Predator design. The arm cannon plugs into the wrist in place of a hand, suggesting it's a prosthetic device - did he lose his hand in some future fight? It's up to you! There's a massive energy blast that can plug into the barrel, and smaller "vent" flares that can plug into the back, as seen in the cool box art. Those really make it look like a powerful device!
The original Guardian wasn't a super exciting figure, and the new one isn't either. Really, it's just one accessory and the fun character art that's selling this one. That and the desire to build the whole updated team.