Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Terminator: Genesis’ Character Explained

Published 1 year ago by

Terminator Genesis Arnold Schwarzenegger Character Explained Arnold Schwarzeneggers Terminator: Genesis Character Explained

Ever since it was first announced that the Terminator series would be partially rebooted in Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genesis, along with an accompanying TV show, fans have been debating if and how franchise star Arnold Schwarzenegger might be included. We now know that Schwarzenegger is set to return, after handing over T-800 duties to a CGI body double in Terminator: Salvation, but there have been few details on how the aging actor would actually be incorporated in the new film. At first some even speculated that Schwarzenegger wouldn’t play a terminator at all and could, instead, flesh out his (ridiculous) Sergeant Candy role from a Terminator 3 deleted scene.

Fortunately that won’t be the case but depending on how the filmmakers approach the series canon, it could be hard for the actor (now thirty full years older than he was in Terminator) to pass as a T-800 – especially since select scenes are rumored to revisit events featured in the first film. Yet, according to a new interview with Schwarzenegger, the writers aren’t simply going to ignore the obvious age difference and have prepared a full explanation for the killing machine’s aged appearance.

Speaking with MTV, Schwarzenegger explained there are actually two versions of the same T-800 in Terminator: Genesis – a younger version and an older version that has been reprogrammed.

“Terminator deals a lot with time travel, so there will be a younger T-800 and then what that model does later on when it gets reprogrammed, and who gets ahold of him. So it will be all kinds of interesting twists in the movie.”

terminator 5 genesis script Arnold Schwarzeneggers Terminator: Genesis Character Explained

We’ve heard that Genesis could retell aspects of the Terminator story from a slightly different perspective (thanks to appearances from Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese and Emilia Clarke playing Sarah Connor), which would seem to require new shots of the young T-800 model. If true, it’s unclear which tricks filmmakers will use to recreate the young Schwarzenegger – especially after negative response to the plasticky looking CGI copy seen in Salvation. Wide shots, body doubles, CGI, and age make-up go a long way in filling in the missing pieces but, until we know for sure how the stories overlap, it’s hard to know for sure.

Nevertheless, based on Schwarzenegger comment teasing “what that model does later on when it gets reprogrammed,” it sounds as though the older Terminator version will enjoy a more nuanced story arc and more involved performance from Schwarzenegger. As a result, wide shots and body doubles won’t cut it, meaning the actor’s 66 year-old physique will be obvious to viewers. Fortunately, with a little suspension of disbelief, the writers have devised a surprisingly straightforward explanation.

In the interview, Schwarzenegger asserts that genetically engineered flesh also ages:

“The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.”

terminator 5 script start date Arnold Schwarzeneggers Terminator: Genesis Character Explained

It’ll be exciting to see how much (or how little) detail director Alan Taylor offers in explaining Terminator anatomy and aging. However, while the explanation might be eye-rolling to some, the idea of a Terminator model that has been around long enough to show 30 years worth of aging would allow for some genuinely interesting story ideas. If Terminator flesh ages slower, as Schwarzenegger suggests, that means the older/reprogrammed model will have endured decades worth of adventures and experiences. Recent rumors even suggest those adventures will see the T-800 character secretly watching over an unknowing Sarah Connor her entire life.

The balance between artificial intelligence and human nature has become one of the most intriguing aspects of the series and, given the amount of “humanity” that John Connor’s T-800 learned in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (which occurred over the course of several days), it’s exciting to think about how a reprogrammed T-800 might view its existence after spending decades online.

Hopefully, whatever Taylor has in mind, it’ll be better than the previously mentioned (and arguably non-canon) Sergeant Candy scene from Terminator 3, which you can check out below:


MORE: New Terminator TV Series Details


Terminator: Genesis will open in theaters on July 1st, 2015. The new Terminator TV series does not have a release date yet.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on The Terminator movie reboot and TV series as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: MTV

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. “The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.”

    That is exactly the way to go and it makes sense. He is back!

    • Agreed! I’m looking forward to seeing him play the Terminator again, but I feel in order for this film to be a success, it must be entirely serious…no campiness.

      I’m hoping his next film is Conan the Legend, also entirely dark and serious.

      • +10000

        I understand the use of humor, and when done correctly, definitely has a good place in a serious action movie, to give the audience a “break” at moments in the film where the characters could also take a break, it’s a way of connecting the audience to the characters. But to put humor inappropriately in the middle the parts that should be serious does nothing but makes a movie campy.

        I REALLY hope whoever does this new movie takes the story really seriously and has taken some notes from the first 2 Terminator movies…



  2. so what/who exactly is he? he cant be the first terminator or the 2nd and 3rd one because they were destroyed. i wonder if he will be one john creates really early and he then teaches him everything like the 2nd movie. he will be a prototype or one of the first terminators that were easy to hack

    their relationship in 2 was amazing so seeing something like that again would be great.

    • I think that he will be a T-800 series that had the same biological covering as the original. The metal is the type of car, the skin is the paint. So he is playing an older model T-800 which has been re-programmed.

    • It’s not like those were the only T-800s built, or the only ones sent back in time. There could be many of them sent back by Skynet.

    • He can very well be the same T-800 each time. This is the paradox of time travel. Each time John sends him back, he changes the future. So in theory, John from the future could keep sending the same T-800 back to different points in time until they get the desired outcome.

      • …which could result in multiple versions of the same T-800 occupying the same time line, a la Back to the Future.

  3. This flick is on my Netflix list.

  4. Wow. so bad T3, I couldn´t remember that scene.

    • It was a deleted scene on the DVD.

  5. I think it’s an intriguing (if not elegant) solution to the aging problem.

  6. So, the robot skeleton doesn´t age, but the flesh around that robot skeleton does? Did those people watch their own movies? Not a singke Terminator was around long enough to age. Terminator 1 was set during two, maybe three days. The second one was around for a week or so. As well as the third one. So those people are trying to tell us that the resistance has a Terminator, keeping kim for 30 years, and THEN they send him back? That´s a pretty lame, even for a Schwarzenegger movie.

    • I think its implying that this particular terminator was sent back with a different mission, to observe and not interfere. Therefore the skin aged over decades.

      • The Terminator was sent back to “observe” but not interfere & his skin aged? Observe?? Observe WHAT exactly? Silly plot twist. VERY silly.

    • The implication from the information gathered about Terminator: Genesis is that this Terminator was sent back in time and has been living on the fringes of society since the 80s, possibly watching over the Connor family in secret.

    • I was going to rant, but I just don’t have the energy to waste on an oxygen thief like you.

      There wasn’t any bears in those movies either, do they not exist in that world?

      • Wow, scapegoat you really couldn’t figure out the angle? I think most of us found it pretty obvious.

        • Congratulations, dude! Did you get the call from Mensa yet?

      • Oxygen thief. That´s cute.

        • You’re not even a good troll.

  7. Like this idea as it is a fitting solution of his actual aging.

    However Arnie said the T800s flesh ages slower so makes me wonder how far into the future he is from, what I am trying to get at is this, the T800 went online around 2020 so even if this T800 is the 1st of the line then ages to Arnie’s age it would put its departure point around 2050-2070ish and that based on Terminator timelines is about 20-40 years after the fall of Skynet.
    Makes me wonder if skynet managed to keep a small part of itself alive enough to send another terminator back in time well after its main body died forcing John Conners kids to send back an old model (our Arnie) back.

    Yeah I geeked out with that but hey it came to mind.

    • From what I can gather it seems that this Terminator will be sent back to the 80s and live through the present and beyond judgement day and into the human-machine war.

    • I don’t know where some of you are getting the idea that the T-800 will be sent back already aged. Common sense, and the details that have been confirmed, overwhelmingly suggest what Michael said. This T-800 has been in the past for 30 years. It wasn’t sent back already aged, it aged after being sent back.

  8. Wow, this franchise is so messed up. I wished only T1 & T2 excisted now.

    • 100% agreed!

      The only thing I want to see in this franchise is the post apocalyptic war with the Terminators! The only person worthy of giving it justice is Cameron which is now in the Avatar business.

      I love Arnie but can’t handle seeing him say “I’m back” again for another movie.

      Hope has faded. Long live T1 & T2!

    • According to what I read online, this movie is going to happen as if Terminator 3&4 didn’t happen!

  9. Let’s see what the director has to offer. Everything seems plausible so far. I would give them the benefit of the doubt.


    I can’t believe what I just watched. I have never seen that scene before and in all honesty if before reading this someone told me it was a Funny or Die video I would have believed them.

    I know it was a deleted scene but the fact that it was even filmed better have cost someone their job.

    • It actually was filmed for the Terminator 3 video game releasing at the same time. It was a very bad game.

  11. more terminator please

  12. That explanation actually makes me almost laughing. It’s ridiculuous, but understandable, I guess.

    • Not sure why you believe it is a ridiculuous idea. Flesh is organic, and thus, is subject to age and decay. Makes complete sense.

      • Well, the truth is, to me, it sounds like a half-ass reasoning just so they can have Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie. I’m not disputing that flesh is subject to age and decay, that’s why I called it understandable.

        • I’m personally looking forward to having him in it again, but with the condition that it is a serious movie. To his detriment, I feel, he likes to joke around and have a little too much fun, which when incorporated into his movies, creates very campy moments. I’m hoping they avoid this completely. It’s unfortunate that he tends to make a joke of himself sometimes. It shows his humility, but it has detracted from his reputation as a true action star.

  13. This already sounds blasphemous, Oh he is just the older wiser t-800 that john conner goes to seek answers from within secret forgotten sky net base that just so happens to have an old t-800(hopefully he reminds him of the good ol days when there was a guy named Cameron who made these stories good).

    let me guess, the older t-800 will sacrifice him self in act 4 just in time for john conner to escape the deadly explosion/have john conner kill the evil t-800?

    hopefully the first scene that we see arny in is him saying “I told you id be back…see its me..i remembered.”

    This is all ranting but seriously the terminator verse could be so much better if they just progressed with the story instead of making the same s*** over again, the time travel is a cool aspect of the movie but it isn’t the entire movie.

    It would of been better to continue T4 directly or have a film depicting the first stages of the larger scale war

    • I don’t know why some of you find this so confusing. It has been pointed out, multiple times, that the aged T-800 will have been living in the past. It is not sent back already aged. John doesn’t find an old Terminator then send him back. He is sent back, and lives through the events of the other films over a times span of 30-40 years, thus AGING in the process.

        • I never stated*

          • Yea, you stated exactly that. Want me to quote it for you? Or you could just look up and read the first sentence in your post. We don’t know why this version would be undamaged, or what it’s been doing, and what it’s purpose is. We don’t have those details.

    • Surely it’s not that confusing?

      A fresh-off-the-production-line T-800 is sent back in time from (say) 2029 to (say) the 1950s.

      The T-800 tracks down Sarah Connor’s parents and waits for her to be born.

      The T-800 spends the next several decades secretly protecting Sarah Connor, as the events of the first and second movies occur.

      The T-800′s organic tissue ages, so by the time we see it in 1984, it appears to be in its sixties.

      However the robot underneath is still just as functional, save for any damage.

      Not so hard to understand, is it?

  14. He will be like a Wolverine.

  15. I say go for a something simple like T3 and not the plot weirdness of Terminator Salvation. This sounds even more complicated than Salvation. But the movie with Bale was at least tolerable.

  16. Two words FUTURE WAR. Seriously, there is no need to have an 800 series Terminator that even looks like Arnie. The first film proved they don’t all look like him and why the hell can’t a new film focus on the struggle at it’s peak, rather than all the time travel crap? I wanna see warrior models with no skin pounding the humans with deadly precision, and some skinned infiltration units that, while they are “big looking dudes” obviously not all looking like Arnie. I mean seriously, what good is an infiltration unit that causes more and more humans to say “Hey, I just saw that guy over in sector 27!” “And I saw him marching into HQ on the other side of that ridge 5 minutes ago!” “Hey, waitaminnit!” “He has Austrian accent you say? GEDDEM! TERMINATOR!” I just want some good, original storytelling that we haven’t already seen so many times.

  17. “which would seem to require new shots of the young T-800 model. If true, it’s unclear which tricks filmmakers will use to recreate the young Schwarzenegger”

    The young Terminator is played by Brett Azar!