The Terminators are a series of combat and infiltration robots created by the artificially intelligent computer defense network Skynet in the early 21st Century. They are notable for their armoured, metallic endoskeletons, enhanced robotic strength, glowing red eyes and inhuman endurance. Some Terminator models are also cyborgs, covered in living flesh and programmed to imitate the appearance and mannerisms of humans in order to infiltrate and eliminate the human resistance enemies of Skynet.
In the future, Skynet employs Terminators to clean up the remaining human population after wiping out most of mankind, whom it judged to be a threat, by instigating an nuclear holocaust. Terminators, specifically cyborg infiltration units, were also sent back through time by Skynet to find and execute its enemies in the past, before they could become a threat in the present.
While created as killing machines, Terminators have, on occasion, been reprogrammed by the human resistance to protect certain human individuals from more advanced robotic machines that attempt to kill them.
Behind the Scenes
The Terminators are the titular characters in the Terminator series, created by James Cameron in association with Gale Anne Hurd and Wiiliam H. Wisher Jr. The franchise, particularly the film series, has many behind the scenes links with the Alien and Predator film series. In addition to all three being major science fiction action/horror film franchises from the 1980s and 90s, they also share several other connections:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer in Predator, also played a T-800 Terminator in each of the films in the Terminator series (although his appearance in Terminator Salvation was realised through the use of special effects).
- Michael Biehn, who played Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Aliens, also played Kyle Reese in The Terminator and the extended Special Edition of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
- Lance Henriksen, who played Lance Bishop in Aliens, Michael Bishop in Alien3 and Charles Bishop Weyland in Alien vs. Predator (as well as several characters in the video games based on the series), also played Detective Hal Vukovich in The Terminator. In fact, Henriksen was actually planned to play the titular Terminator cyborg, but the character then went through a redesign to be far more imposing and Schwarzenegger was cast in the role instead.
- Bill Paxton, who played Private William Hudson in Aliens and Detective Jerry Lambert in Predator 2, also played an unnamed street punk in The Terminator.
- Jenette Goldstein, who played Private Jenette Vasquez in Aliens, also played Janelle Voight in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
- James Cameron, who wrote and directed Aliens, also wrote and directed The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
- Stan Winston, who provided makeup and creature effects on Aliens, Predator and Predator 2, provided animatronic effects on the first three Terminator films.
- Hyperdyne Systems, the company that manufactured Ash (mentioned in Aliens), is a reference to Cyberdyne Systems, the company responsible for creating the Terminator robots in the Terminator franchise.
- Dark Horse Comics, who own the rights to produce comics based on the Alien/Predator/Alien vs. Predator franchise, also own the rights to comics based on the Terminator franchise. (In fact, in 2000 they produced a crossover in the form of the comic Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator.)
Additionally, Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen have both been killed by an Alien, a Predator and a Terminator in motion pictures, making them the only actors to have that dubious honor.