James Cameron Wasn’t Sure He Could Pull Off the Liquid Metal Terminator in ‘T2’

Lawrence Yee

James Cameron has always been ahead of the times. The director actually had the idea for a liquid metal Terminator for the 1984 origin film, but the technology at the time didn’t allow for it.

“It actually part of the story I took out of Terminator, because nobody knew how to do it,” Cameron explained to FANDOM.

He turned to Oscar-winning special effects guru Dennis Muren at ILM — whom he collaborated with in the 1989 sci-fi film The Abyss — to bring the now iconic T-1000 to life. It was an ambitious plan — the sea creature in The Abyss only appeared in a handful of scenes, whereas the liquid metal Terminator would be the primary antagonist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Robert Patrick was tapped to play the expressionless, steely (no pun intended) killer, whose mission is to travel back in time and kill John Connor. The T-1000 has become one of the most iconic villains in cinema.

Computer-generated characters are now commonplace in many films, including 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, but at the time, the effects were seen as cutting-edge. And they certainly have withstood the test of time, which audiences can see in the newly released T2: Judgment Day 3D.

“Now these tools are so common and ubiquitous that we don’t even think about them,” Cameron said of the pioneering effects.

The Threat of Cyber Attacks and A.I.

Cameron also predicted the rise of AI, although it (thankfully) hasn’t become a malevolent force bent on destroying humanity.

Today, cyber attacks still are still initiated by humans: identity theft, hacks, etc. But Cameron notes that technology has facilitated these attacks. “We obviously are very vulnerable … our technology has seduced us into a dependence on it, which could be just as dangerous to us as an actual attack from the machines.”

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D returns August 25 in the United States and August 29 in the U.K.

“If the film has power today, it’s not because of the liquid metal guy, other than a bit of a fun nostalgia moment when that was cool,” Cameron reminisced. Having screened the new 3D version, this writer thinks it’s still cool.

Lawrence Yee
Lawrence is Editor in Chief of FANDOM. He grew up loving X-Men, Transformers, and Japanese-style role playing games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. First-person shooters make him incredibly nauseous.
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