I completely agree, regarding the banter. If I were doing my 'cat free' version, suggested above, I'd have the rec-room, mentor and relationship scenes all involve/revolve around *reaction* to the Kilrathi. Blair doesn't know what to think, he and Maniac are new and scared - Hunter hates them for killing his brother... Polanski says they're not as tough as they seem, he was at the route on Epislon IV... Paladin has the real story about what they're like from his time as a POW... etc. Build your relationships around that and at the same time build up the enemy you never see, instead of a fear of Pilgrims.
I thought this the first time I saw the movie and was going to post something quite similar at the end of this thread. It really would have added a fear and ferocity to the Kilrathi to continue to build them up without actually revealing them.
I don't think it would be bad for us (the gaming community) either. I mean, do we really have to see them in a movie just because we've encountered them face to face in the games? I would have almost treated it like an inside joke, where I knew something more than the average viewer. Plus, it would have allowed my imagination to go wild, piecing together what I thought the cats looked like and drawing on the *best* inspiration from all of the games, literature, and the cartoon.
On a side note, I always wanted to see more of Blair's dogfighting prowess in the movie. He should have come accross Thrakath or a local sector ace or something...