The Terminator series is an American cyberpunk media franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. The franchise encompasses a series of films, comics, novels, and additional media, concerning battles between Skynet’s synthetic intelligent machine network and John Connor’s Resistance forces with the rest of the human race. Skynet’s most well-known products in its genocidal goals are the various terminator models, such as the T-800 (Model 101), who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the original Terminator film in 1984, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films. By 2010, the franchise has generated $3 billion in revenue.
Cyberdyne Systems Series T-800 / T-850 Model 101, or “The Terminator”, is a fictional character from the Terminator franchise portrayed by both Arnold Schwarzenegger and numerous actor stand-ins digitally overlaid with Schwarzenegger’s likeness. The Terminator itself is part of a series of machines created by Skynet for infiltration-based assassination missions, and while an android for its appearance resembling a human, it is described as a cybernetic organism consisting of living tissue over a robotic endoskeleton.
The first appearance of the Terminator was as the eponymous antagonist in The Terminator, a 1984 film directed and co-written by James Cameron. While the original Terminator was destroyed, other androids using the same “mold” that made them look like Schwarzenegger—said physical template was described in-universe as the “Model 101″—are featured in the sequels. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Genisys and Terminator: Dark Fate, Schwarzenegger is the protagonist instead of the antagonist, pitted against other Terminators sent by Skynet. In Terminator Salvation, the T-800 appears briefly as a T-RIP (Resistance Infiltrator Prototype) CGI model. In the context of the stories, the plot device of having various robots looking the same provides a certain continuity for the human characters by exploiting their emotional familiarity with a particular “human” visage associated with each “model”.
The “Terminator” title has also been used as a generic name for other human-simulating characters in the “Terminator” universe, such as the liquid metal shapeshifting T-1000 antagonist in the sequel Judgment Day and a T-850 in the sequel Rise of the Machines.
15 Terminator Facts
For Fanboys and Fangirls who want to know all they can about this killing machine, we’ve put together a list of 15 things fans probably don’t know about The Terminator.