In the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a pair of action sci-fi blockbusters that helped cement him as one of the major movie stars of that decade and the one after. The Terminator, starring Arnold as a murderous cyborg form the future, arrived in 1984, with Predator, starring Schwarzenegger as the leader of a commando team fighting an alien in the Central American jungle, following three years later.
Terminator was directed by James Cameron, Predator by John McTiernan, they came from different studios, different production companies and different writing teams. Both have had numerous sequels over the years, with and without Schwarzenegger’s involvement, but the universes of Terminator and Predator have never intersected on screen. But of course, someone on the internet thinks they actually have.
According to an article published this week on Cracked, a fan theory has emerged that not only do the Terminator and Predator storylines take place in the same universe, but that Dutch (Arnold’s Predator character) actually served as the model for Schwarzenegger’s Terminator robot. What’s the evidence? A combination of movie novelizations, an arcade game, and associated comic books.
What’s the case for this? In the Aliens Vs. Predator arcade game, there exists a character named “Major Dutch Schaefer,” who is described as “a cyborg created to fight extraterrestrials.” The character is given the serial number “CDS-170A3,” with “CDS” possibly standing for “Cyberdyne Systems,” the corporation that created Skynet in the Terminator films. There are also clues in the novelizations of the Predator movies, Dark Horse comic books, as well as the whole business of Aliens and Predator established as being in the same universe. There’s also this:
Remember that serial code from above — CDS-170A3 — the serial code for Cyberdyne Systems 170A3 model a.k.a. Cyborg Dutch? Ash also had a serial code: Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2 — which, when put into the same format, would be: HDS-120A2
Three letters (that abbreviate the name of the company).
Followed by the number 1.
Followed by another number.
Followed by the number 0.
Then followed by the letter A.
And finally, another single digit number.
Now look at them stacked:
Just about all fan theories are a stretch. Normally they’re a stretch in the sense of “this same actor was in two different movies, and therefore the two movies must be connected.” This one’s a bit more sophisticated, but still rather silly, for a few different reasons. It’s far from established that arcade games, comic books or novelizations are considered canon in the Terminator or Predator universes. James Cameron was about two decades removed from any involvement with either franchise by the time of Aliens vs. Predator. Those sorts of numerology arguments tend to be just as silly as fan theories.
Now is it possible that someone involved with the arcade game had this theory themselves, or was merely a fan of both franchises and wanted to make a winking reference in his or her work? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it anything close to official canon, especially not if it hasn’t happened on screen.