James Cameron’s Original Terminator Pitch Would Have Ruined the Franchise


Director James Cameron initially presented a version of The Terminator, which featured the T-800 and T-1000 in one film, which would derail the entire sci-fi franchise even before the start of the series. Despite the fact that the Terminator franchise has a lot of problems, it’s hard to blame the series for its ambitions. Since its inception, Terminator films have pushed the boundaries in terms of what can be achieved with computer graphics and practical effects, and have also pushed the boundaries when it comes to how many confusing movies jumping around the timeline movie fans are willing to tolerate.

If anything, the franchise can get overly ambitious at times, as new Terminator films require fewer new Terminator models and focus more on simple, immersive chase narratives. This problem has been haunting the series since its inception, and director James Cameron’s original plan for the Terminator was so ambitious that it could doom the entire franchise. Cameron moderated his plans due to the limitations of technology available in the mid-80s, but as a result, this decision inadvertently saved the series.

Cameron, as you know, wanted two different models of Terminators to appear in the original Terminator, only for the head to eventually admit that it was not viable. However, it would greatly undermine the rest of the Terminator series, as the introduction of the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was one of the strongest scenes in the franchise. The sequel’s decision to pit Schwarzenegger’s heroic T-800 against Robert Patrick’s T-1000, turned the Terminator films into something more than just a sci-fi horror series, and Cameron would have inadvertently ruined that setup if the original Terminator had introduced both Skynet models at the same time.

Explanation of Cameron’s Original Terminator Proposal

Initially, Cameron wanted both the T-800 and T-1000 to be dual antagonists of the original Terminator. In this version of events, they were both sent back together and they both searched for Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, just as Kyle Reese originally traveled through time with a partner named Sumner (whose grim Terminator death was wisely cut from the finished film). . However, this idea would have killed the series before it even started for many reasons. Firstly, the joint work of the T-1000 and T-800 would make their possible rivalry less effective, and secondly, the presence of two villains would make each of them less deadly.

Why Cameron abandoned his original “Terminator” presentation

In the end, Cameron abandoned this terminator idea and chose the version of the story that viewers now know, a streamlined story about a time traveler helping an individual heroine escape from a lone cyborg killer. The director realized that the technology needed to depict the melting metal of the T-1000 on the screen was not yet sufficiently developed to be used, so he had to wait until the 1990s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to show the villain on the screen. The iconic crawling Terminator T-800 was an image that Cameron included in his concept art for the original film, proving that the director had a clear idea of what the T-800 would look like and what he wanted the film to feel like. As a result, it is not surprising that Helmer was able to convey his vision of the T-800, and the T-1000 failed to be realized on screen in 1984, although there is no evidence that Cameron knew that the original idea of the Terminator could also be realized. catastrophically ruined the main story of the series.

Why Cameron’s proposal would destroy the Terminator

The scariest thing about the T-800 is its stubborn and purposeful determination. The villain just won’t stop, even if he’s actually dead. That’s why the movie Terminator: Salvation, implying that terminators can be intelligent, was such a shock to many of those who are well versed in the franchise, since in the original film, the cyborg killer is depicted as a mindless killing machine that cannot be persuaded, bribed or even distracted. . This setup would not have been nearly as effective if the T-800 had been sent back in time with a backup T-1000, as it would have proved that the cyborg was not the unstoppable killer he seemed. Similarly, the terrifying effectiveness of the T-1000 would be greatly reduced if the villain needed the help of the T-800 to track down Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, whereas his portrayal in Terminator 2: Judgment Day instead implies that only Sarah and the T-800, working together, could stop the villain (and then hardly).

Related: “Terminator 7 Should Copy the Predator Prey Prequel Trick”

Why Cameron’s Proposal would ruin “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

What made the dynamic coup in Terminator 2: Judgment Day so effective was the complete reinterpretation in the film of the T-800 from the original film.