13 Fun Facts About The “Terminator” Franchise

This October marks the return of a brand new “Terminator” movie. Unlike the previous three movies, “Terminator: Dark Fate” would mark the first time since 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” that reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and James Cameron. As we wait patiently for the release of “Terminator: Dark Fate”, here are 13 Fun Facts About The “Terminator” Franchise!


1) It All Started From A Nightmare

Believe it or not, then-unknown young director James Cameron first came up with the idea of “The Terminator” while he was in Rome. He was sick and down with high fever after spending the night editing his first low-budget horror movie, “Piranha II: The Spawning”. He ended up sprawled on the bed and had a bizarre dream about a “metal death figure coming out of a fire.” From there, he began to draft the story about a cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill the young woman whose unborn son would become the future saviour of mankind. That story was called “The Terminator” and the rest, as they say, is history.

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2) O.J. Simpson Was Originally The Studio’s First Choice To Play The Terminator

Can you imagine if former NFL star O.J. Simpson (“The Naked Gun” trilogy) ended up securing the pivotal role of the Terminator? Such a result would be definitely unthinkable! The idea was initially suggested by Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy but we all had James Cameron to thank for. He wasn’t convinced that Simpson looked the part for the Terminator role. The role, of course, eventually went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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3) Schwarzenegger Was Originally Up For The Role Of Kyle Reese

Before Michael Biehn (pictured below) got the part, it was hard to believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger was initially slated to play Kyle Reese. But thanks to James Cameron over a lunch meeting, Schwarzenegger eventually changed his mind and agreed to play the Terminator instead.

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4) Sting Was Once Considered To Play Kyle Reese

Apparently, Michael Biehn wasn’t the shoo-in replacement to play Kyle Reese after Schwarzenegger decided to play the Terminator role. Sting — yes, the same lead singer from The Police who gave us the memorable hit song “Every Breath You Take” — was considered for the part. He was even offered a cool USD350,000 paycheck but Cameron himself picked Michael Biehn instead.

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5) Schwarzenegger Only Spoke Less Than 20 Lines In The First Film

In the first Terminator movie, Schwarzenegger was pretty much a man of few words. And very few, indeed, to the extent of just 18 lines — including his now-famous line “I’ll be back” — while playing the Terminator role. He was only paid a low salary of USD75,000 back then — a far cry from what he would eventually earn — millions of dollars during the height of his popularity in the 80s and 90s.

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6) “Terminator 2” Was Once The Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

A big-budget Hollywood blockbuster that costs around USD90-100 million isn’t a big deal by today’s standard. But not so in 1991, where the USD94 million budget for “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” was the most expensive movie ever made at the time of its release.

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7) T-1000 Was Initially To Be Introduced In The First Film

Those who have seen “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” would agree that among the best thing about the sequel is the introduction of Robert Patrick’s liquid-metal terminator a.k.a. T-1000. But did you know that his character was originally supposed to be featured in the first film? However, James Cameron had to omit his character out of the original “Terminator” movie since the technology wasn’t available back in the 80s.

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8) The Liquid-Metal T-1000 Was A Groundbreaking Special Effect

The liquid metal effects were first introduced in 1989’s “The Abyss”, where Cameron utilised a then-new CGI to create the alien creatures. But it wasn’t until “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” that Cameron finally perfected the same effects used to bring T-1000 to life with the help of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). The effects alone were a hugely complicated task, taking 35 different ILM artists a whopping 6 months and a hefty USD5 million just to render the whole thing.

Interestingly enough, fellow ILM artist John Knoll and his brother Thomas were famously responsible for developing new software that helped create the T-1000’s morphing effects. And that software in question happens to be called Photoshop.

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9) Schwarzenegger Was Paid A Hefty Sum To Return For The Third Film

Compared to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” where Schwarzenegger was paid a whopping USD15 million salary, he got to earn an even larger sum of nearly USD30 million to appear in 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”. If that’s not enough, his contract also included additional perks such as private jets, a fully-equipped gym and even 20% of the gross receipts on ticket sales, TV rights, DVDs, game and in-flight movie licensing.

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10) The Crane Chase Sequence Was A Massive Undertaking

There were many reasons why “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” cost an astounding USD170-180 million to make. And one of them happened to be the crane chase sequence. Several city blocks were utilised for a destruction scene where Schwarzenegger’s T-800 was dragged through an entire glass building while hanging from the crane’s hook. He even put up his own money — USD1.4 million, to be exact — just to complete part of the crane chase sequence.

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11) “Terminator Salvation” Became The First Film In The Franchise With A Toned-Down Rating

“Terminator Salvation” is the first “Terminator” film in the history of the then 25-year old franchise to receive an audience-friendly PG-13 (that would be P13 in Film Censorship Board of Malaysia). The previous three “Terminator” films were all rated under R (or “18” in our local rating system).

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12) Christian Bale’s On-Set OutburstĀ 

Christian Bale, who plays the adult John Connor in “Terminator Salvation” let out an infamous foul-mouthed outburst against cinematographer Shane Hurlbut for walking into his line of sight during a take. Bale has since issued a lengthy apology that he felt “miserable” and “out of order beyond belief”.

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13) The Scene Where The Older Schwarzenegger Fights His Younger Self In “Terminator Genisys” Took A Whopping One Year

In “Terminator Genisys”, there was a particular scene involving the older Schwarzenegger facing off against his younger 1984 T-800 version. While the younger version is played by bodybuilder-turned-actor Brett Azar, the scene required the special effects team to manipulate Brett’s head with a CG younger version of Schwarzenegger right down to his exact body weight.

Image Credit: syfy.com