‘Terminator: Genesis’: New T-800 Actor & Story Details

Published 12 months ago by , Updated May 7th, 2014 at 10:02 am,

Arnold Schwarzenegger CGI Terminator Salvation Terminator: Genesis: New T 800 Actor & Story Details

Despite underwhelming sequels Terminator 3 and Salvation, the Terminator movie series remains a buzz-worthy property – one that many viewers would love to see restored to its Judgement Day glory. The core man versus time-traveling machine premise still holds plenty of potential – if filmmakers can find the right story to tell within the larger canon.

To that end, it shouldn’t be a complete surprise that Terminator: Genesis is set to soft-reboot the franchise – drawing from prior entries while also resetting key elements for development over the course of an all-new film trilogy (and spin-off Terminator TV series). Still, details remain extremely scarce on what fans of the series can actually expect – not to mention whether they should be hopeful that director Alan Taylor can bridge past installments with fresh story lines and a healthy foundation for the future.

Of course, finding that balance is the major challenge facing Genesis – since star Arnold Schwarzenegger is, for many viewers, synonymous with the series and at the same time thirty years older than he was in the original film. The actor’s aging physique became a major question mark for fans – leading to an amusing explanation from Schwarzenegger that actually plays a major role in the Terminator: Genesis narrative. In the interview, Schwarzenegger indicated that he was set to play an “older” T-800 model whose human skin had aged during three decades of service.

terminator reboot genesis images Terminator: Genesis: New T 800 Actor & Story Details

Early rumors suggested this veteran Terminator would revisit moments from the first movie, and while Taylor has yet to verify with official comment, a new video post from HitFix seems to confirm that the Genesis script is directly tied to James Cameron’s original:

“Kind of like Back to the Future, the Terminator: Genesis script folds into the first film in the series…. There’s a scene in the script where literally, we see the scene in the first Terminator where Arnold steps out, the punks threaten him, he rips Bill Paxton’s heart out and takes his clothes and wanders off. And as soon as that scene ends, another Arnold Schwarzenegger who’s older, and bearded and a very different version of the Terminator, comes walking in from the other side and plays another scene, right at the scene of that first incident.”

Prior rumors indicated Genesis would pick-up before Sarah Connor (played by Emilia Clarke) encounters the original Terminator and that Schwarzenegger’s aged T-800 may have been guarding the future mother of John Connor for close to thirty years. Coupled with the HitFix report, it’s increasingly likely that Genesis will allow audiences to revisit key Terminator scenes from a new perspective.

Still, if Taylor intends to Back to the Future the original Terminator movie, he wouldn’t be able to rely entirely on archive footage – and would need to recreate select moments from different angles (meaning he’d still need a “younger” actor to stand-in for Schwarzenegger’s toned mid-30s body). At first, fans assumed the actor could be aged down (made younger) in post-production or the studio might opt to superimpose a CGI Schwarzenegger head onto a stand-in actor’s body through the magic of digital effects (as in Salvation).

Terminator Genesis Arnold Schwarzenegger Character Explained Terminator: Genesis: New T 800 Actor & Story Details

We’ll have to wait for official confirmation but a (now deleted) post from body-builder Aaron Williamson has resulted in speculation over what his role in the production might mean for Terminator: Genesis (and the new trilogy):

“Thanks to an amazing team of people who help me get better each week, both physically & creatively, I’ll be playing a T-800 (Terminator) in the upcoming production ‘Terminator: Genesis’. I’m extremely grateful & motivated as this new chapter begins to take shape.”

Understandably, the post raised an intriguing question: Was Williamson cast as Schwarzenegger’s younger body or an entirely different T-800? After Terminator Fans reported on the body-builder’s post, Williamson reached out to the site with an official comment:

“I’m not really at liberty to discuss anything w/ regard to this part. My social media followers have been following my journey since I returned to the states from Iraq, which is why I shared that photo; my desire to overcome adversity has really moved people. Where I’m at in my life right now is destiny & it’s truly a blessing. I grew up as a skinny kid watching the original Terminator & was fascinated by Arnold which is the man who inspired my career in fitness. To be a part of this production is a dream come true & a very special moment for me.”

Unfortunately the actor does not specify whether he’ll be standing-in for the original T-800 or playing a new variation on the model (with a different skin design). His “a T-800” phrasing seems to suggest that he’s not “the T-800,” implying there is more than one model in Genesis but Williamson could simply be attempting to conceal the film’s time-bending twists from his followers. Still, while it would be easy to dismiss the actor as a simple stand-in, the news put a spotlight on one of the production’s biggest uncertainties: assuming that Kyle Reese and Connor still take-out the original Terminator, who will Schwarzenegger’s older T-800 fight?

terminator 5 genesis script Terminator: Genesis: New T 800 Actor & Story Details

Alternate T-800 series models, with different living tissue, have been depicted in other Terminator mediums, but the Schwarzenegger version is the only T-800 that has been significantly featured within the core live-action series. Still, SkyNet’s reason for creating the Infiltrator Terminator line was to deceive humans, so the introduction of a previously unknown T-800 skin wouldn’t be much of a reach for the Genesis storytellers – one that could easily be explained away with a line of dialogue and provide an exciting antagonist for Schwarzenegger to battle.

After all, whereas earlier installments upped the ante with the T-1000 and T-X, Genesis could go a different route and force Schwarzenegger’s aging Terminator to utilize more brains than brawn in battle against a fresh T-800 that just came off the production line.


More: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator: Genesis Character Explained


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.

Sources: HitFix [via Comic Book Movie] and The Terminator Fans

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. I like the idea of revisiting the first movie like that. I hope they play it straight instead of turning the Terminator into a caricature of itself like T3 (and partially T2) did.

    That’s an interesting topic, by the way. Why do so many franchises turn into selfaware, over-the-top parodies of themselves? Terminator, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Supernatural, RoboCop, [REC], Indiana Jones etc.

    • I’ve only ever seen the first two [REC] movies (both of which I enjoyed, thought the sequel was much better though) but the usual answer is “lack of ideas”. It’s what happens when you take a great idea then stretch it thin to milk it as a cash-cow franchise.

    • T3 actually has a fairly serious tone if you ignore all the awful “talk to the hand” type jokes. Robocop was camp from the very beginning.

      • Woah, woah.

        I’ve seen Robocop (the original one with Peter Weller) at least 200 times and not once has it felt campy at all. Unless you mean the pointless remake from a few months ago, in which case, I’d agree with you if I’d actually seen it (I don’t want to).

        • RoboCop is incredibly campy, at times, but it has a whole lot of social commentary and heart in it’s core, which is what makes it such a classic. It’s really no different with it’s camp in comparison to say Total Recall or Starship Troopers, but it certainly makes audiences feel something for Murphy instead of simply viewing him as a bada$$ killing machine. To say it has no camp is just ridiculous.

          I WOULD NOT buy that for a dollar!!!

        • Then you have no idea what camp is.

  2. I dunno, I still have a feeling Genesis is happening this way because they didn’t have the balls to follow through with the future part of the story. Salvation was perfect for what it was and set up another film to follow on that finally would show the war that fans have been clamouring for since the original released but now, whoops, money talks and now we’re revisiting “classic scenes from a fresh angle” because apparently, it seems they have zero ideas for a film set in the future so lets retread the familiar.

    It’d be like telling us that the new Star Wars trilogy won’t be new stories, they’ll be “new characters sent back to the original trilogy to get a new perspective on classic events”.

    • @ Dazz

      I was hoping to see post Judgement Day battles of the war myself and see the laser weapons & time displacement equimpment get developed or the latter prevented. Is Terminator Genesis loosly a sequel to Terminator Salvation?

  3. It’s not bill paxton’s heart, it’s brian thomson heart who get his heart ripped

    • Neeeeeeeerd! (a la Homer Simpson) ;)

  4. It would be nice to see a “good” Arnold T-800 again without it being a cheesy parody like T3 was…

    • @ Ken J

      I dunno. All this pretty much has me wish there were just Cameron’s two films only.

      • @ WallyWest

        Have to agree with that. But I am intrigued that they are going to pull a back to the future 2 type scenario and play the new events intertwined with the first movie.

  5. I actually really liked Salvation, except for the kind of lame premise with Sam Worthington’s character coming back “home” and finding the lady that apparently “saved” him in computer form. I think it’s all entirely plausible, but the way it played out was cheesy.

    Otherwise, I really very much liked Terminator: Salvation. I didn’t find anyone in the theater who didn’t think it was totally freaky and awesome to see an amazing digital rendition of Arnold on screen tossing Christian Bale around. It was a very cool scene and one of the first times I thought the CGI was pretty close to a human look.

    Looking forward to the next iteration.

    • Salvation is a fantastic sci-fi action movie. It’s in my Top 3 of 2009 (the other two being Star Trek and Watchmen)

  6. A lot of you guys are commenting a little prematurely. You have no idea what they may be setting up. What if coming back to the first film is what causes the war to happen. Just wait for the trailer then let’s see what happens when it comes out, or don’t go see it at all. I haven’t ever scene any of your names in any film credits. Where are your original ideas?

  7. I’ll be watching this one on Netflix, I am sure.

  8. I kinda like this idea. A way to revisit some of the things that really worked in the first two, integrate Arnold back into it, and also tell a new story? I would take this over a remake/reboot any day. And you know that if some of these elements fell through, that’s the first thing they would do. And we would have another toned down generic remake like robocop or total recall

  9. The Terminator storyline is now obsolete in my view. After artificial intelligence achieves singularity, the next possible outcome would look something like the Matrix. Humanity loses the war and is erraticated or enslaved by the machines.

    If you think about it, the world depicted in the Matrix is the future and logical conclusion to the Terminator storyline.
    With that in mind, I’ve become bored with the Terminator as I know how the story will eventually end. (or at least how it’s supposed to end)

  10. So Skynet can continue sending terminators over and over back in time. Nice. Keep doing it until successful so there would be no more movies I say. Love time travel movies, so simple to understand the concept! Imagine sending two or three terminators to get the job done. Sarah is so dead.

    • I can’t remember if they gave an explanation already, but it could be a matter of limited ressources coupled with a lack of precise control.

      Also, if they send to many back, they might risk changing the past so much, that the war never starts. A butterfly effect.

  11. I just wish they would have continued the story from the first movie with a future war and that ends where they send kyle back in time to save sarah. That would have been perfect…. if only

  12. wait, is he saying that after the original T-800 kills the punks and steals their clothes and leaves another T-800 mysteriously walks out of the shadows? where the f has that guy been the whole time then?

  13. I’ve been saying this since i started hearing about this. they need to show the future war

    future wars future wars future wars (say it three times in the mirror it might happen)

  14. I’d like concept of the aged T-800 to be more of an anti-hero that only reveals his true intentions in the third act. He’s changing the future, he shouldn’t give any further explanations for what he’s doing, he knows best. Plus, bearded Arnold is intimidating, why would anyone ask him “WHY?”

  15. If they do this I would like to see Arnie playing more of a creator roll, mabey he modeled the T-800 On himself whilst working for the machines. I think if Cameron is going to do it, considering he made avatar look real, it will be a breeze.

    • @ Abraham:

      Wasn’t he already played that in deleted scene of T3?
      I remember I saw the clip somewhere..

  16. Gotta make a comment on that top photo. Is that Arnie on steroids? Or is it a CGI body ?

    • That’s the body of bodybuilder Roland Kickinger with Arnie’s CGI face on it. It’s from Terminator: Salvation.

  17. that a geat movie…..

  18. I hope Terminator: Genesis undoes the serious continuity errors that plagued Terminator 3 and carried over onto Terminator Salvation. As entertaining as I thought those two movies were, I’m pretty sure James Cameron didn’t intend for his franchise to go in that direction. It spits in the face of the premise of “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves” from the first two installments. Audiences already have knowledge of what the future was intended to look like, had Judgment Day taken place.

    The whole “blowing up Cyberdyne OVER 10 years ago”(when T3 took place nine years after the events of T2) and John Connor once again bumping into the girl he went to junior high school with, and whom he shared a kiss with “the day before he met the Terminator”, which contradicts the fact that Connor was only ten years old when he first met the T-101, not thirteen, is the source of the continuity errors that plagues the franchise.

  19. Always been a fan of these movies. but tell me this wouldnt be a great T movie. first making it a hard rated-R and having Dwayne Johnson play the new Terminator chasing John and having good ol Arnold playing the good Terminator… MANNN LISTEN, LOL

  20. The only reason Salvation didn’t work is because there were only a few terminators in the whole movie. When are they going to sack up and show the WAR we want to see between the humans and machines. I’m rather tired of the time travel aspect for this movie series. Traveling back in time is how they save money on NOT showing us the war we want to see!

  21. Easiest way they could have done this with Arnold, was to set it in the future and make Arnold an old commando fighting skynet. He could meet John Conner, but does not have to to make it work. Then at the end of the movie Arnold is captured and used by Skynet as the basis for a line of terminators. Wraps everything up in a nice package.

  22. I wish they retain Bale as John Connor if this was going to be semi-sequel to Salvation…

  23. Just fyi it drill paxtons heart that got ripped, rather brian Thompson’s

  24. Does anyone have any idea if the younger muscular Arnold is a cgi effect or is it a body Double. I need to know. This is my direct email. Aftabdagenham@hotmail.co.uk