Home Entertainment Netflix’s Terminator Zero Finally Resurrects James Cameron’s Original Vision For The Franchise

Netflix’s Terminator Zero Finally Resurrects James Cameron’s Original Vision For The Franchise


After James Cameron had the nightmarish 1981 fever dream that gave birth to the “Terminator” franchise, he immediately started developing the killer cyborg at the center of his story. Initially, he was designed as an inconspicuous figure, capable of blending in and conducting his murderous missions without detection. As the Cameron told Variety, “The Terminator was supposed to be very innocuous. He was supposed to be an infiltrator. That was the whole point with the cyborg outer flesh layer that he would just disappear into a crowd.”

Of course, in what turned out to be a sci-fi actor replacement that was for the best, Cameron eventually met with Arnold Schwarzenegger and changed his initial plan entirely, casting the bulky Austrian and reworking the Terminator as a physically imposing figure. But during the stage when Cameron was still pursuing his “infiltrator” idea, he envisioned something entirely different, initially sketching concept art that depicted a much more slight, pallid, and even gaunt visage concealing the metal endoskeleton.

Cameron had originally planned to cast actor Lance Henriksen, who would end up playing a cop in “The Terminator” after Schwarzenegger was given the lead role, and who worked with Cameron again on 1986’s “Aliens.” Meanwhile, Arnie came to embody the killer cyborg at the center of Cameron’s film, becoming a star in the process and establishing the image of the Terminator as a pop culture icon. But ever since Henriksen was passed over for the Austrian Oak, fans have wondered what “The Terminator” could have been had Cameron stuck to his original stealthy cyborg plan — to the extent you can find fan art and even an impressively crafted bust of Henriksen as the T-800.

Now, it looks as though “Terminator Zero” might finally give us the creepy infiltrator Cameron never did.

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