Why Every Terminator Movie Features a Creeping Terminator

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Every Terminator movie ends up featuring a crawling Terminator, and there’s a secret meaning to this recurring image throughout the movies.

All terminator slice manages to weave a creeping Terminator into its story at one point, and there’s a secret meaning to the recurring image that crops up throughout the iconic sci-fi franchise. Despite sharing the titular robotic star, the terminator the movies don’t have much in common with each other. Through six films, the terminator The franchise has changed its tone, genre, age rating, and timeline several times.

With its brutal opening scene killing John Connor, Terminator: Dark Fate was a gory, hard-R action film similar to the original 1984 relentless thriller. However, its immediate franchise predecessor Terminator: Genisys was a lighter, PG-13-rated sci-fi story that focused more on twisting the timeline than gore or a pessimistic tone. Before that, various terminator The installments attempted to turn the franchise into a post-apocalyptic war movie, gory horror, and a surprisingly sweet story of the Connor family.

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As such, it is surprising to see the same identical image appear in each terminator film in one form or another. The image is not of series hero John Connor being killed, although both Genisys and dark fate used this twist, and Terminator 3: Machine lifting‘ Cutting Connor’s assassination would have improved the film. Instead, it’s the recurring sight of an injured Terminator model crawling towards its target after taking massive damage, remaining unfazed despite its impending death. The same image appears throughout the series in different guises, and there’s a surprising secret reason for that.



The Terminator 1984

Whether the T-800 in the original terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Daythe TX in Terminator: Rise of the Machinesa random T-600 in Terminator: Hithe Guardian in Terminator: Genisysand Carl the retired suburban Terminator in Terminator: Dark Fate, all of these characters crawl after their lower halves have been immobilized, destroyed, or crushed to show just how relentless robotic killers are. The reason this image appears in every movie, other than it being an effective and haunting shot in every version of The Terminator— that’s because the image was one of the few iconic pieces of concept art that director James Cameron used to pitch the original film.


Concept art that Cameron crafted, shared by Joseph Gordon Levitt on Twitter in 2019, shows early designs of the Terminator crawling towards the viewer despite being torn in half and separated from its lower half. It’s a striking image and one that managed to sell the film to the producers, making its recurrence throughout the terminator franchise an understandable reason. Unfortunately for Cameron and company, a striking image doesn’t make a hit series, and recently terminator the films struggled to unravel the franchise’s convoluted timeline. Fortunately, all terminator whatever reboot/sequel/follow-up eventually arrives will still have that iconic image to revisit.


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