- Key scene deleted from original Terminator movie sets up future events in the franchise, revealing how the technology for the machines was discovered.
- Producers had to use non-actors in the deleted scene due to a demand from financiers, resulting in questionable acting that ruined the scene.
- Despite the deletion, the overall film remains satisfying, but the perfect time loop moment would have added a sci-fi twist and made the movie even better.
The Terminator producer Gale Ann Hurd explains why a key deleted scene featuring the recovery of the T-800’s arm and chip was cut from the movie. Released in 1984, James Cameron’s sci-fi/action classic introduced an iconic character in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg assassin from the future. With the release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, Cameron’s creation officially became a franchise, but as hardcore fans realize, the series was actually set up perfectly in a scene deleted from the original movie. In the excised near-ending moment, scientists from Cyberdyne Systems recover parts from the destroyed T-800, setting in motion the chain of events that will eventually lead to the future war between humanity and the machines.
Now almost forty years after the release of the first Terminator, producer Hurd has explained why the decision was made to cut the scene that put a perfect capper on an already near-perfect movie. As Hurd laid out on Twitter, the scene was removed due to some questionable acting by cast members who were not actually professional actors, but were instead financiers that she and Cameron were unfortunately forced to put into the movie. Check out what Hurd had to say in the space below (along with the deleted scene in question via Flashback FM):
#TheTerminator financier John Daly’s #HemdaleFilms had an output deal with #OrionPictures but hadn’t yet made a hit (that changed with our film and #Platoon). They insisted we use financier friends not actors in this scene, which ruined it for us. … They were paid as actors, via the #TaftHartley act. I think he insisted they be in the film because the financiers were promised a return on their investment and had yet to receive one. Daly never believed the film would be a success. … The film cost $6.4 million…which seemed like an awful lot to us at the time!
How This Deleted Scene Sets Up The Terminator Franchise
The classic set-up of the original Terminator of course sees Schwarzenegger’s T-800 being sent back in time to murder Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of the man who will eventually be humanity’s savior in the coming war against the machines. The plan fails however, because Connor ultimately defeats the Terminator, after being assisted by the future soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who turns out to be the father of Sarah’s son.
But as the deleted scene above shows, the plan to send the T-800 back in time actually does succeed, by leading to Cyberdyne discovering the very technology that will allow them to invent the machines in the first place. The deletion of this perfect time loop moment doesn’t ultimately hurt The Terminator as a film, as its conclusion is still satisfying, but it’s nevertheless disappointing that the film did not feature this perfect sci-fi twist that hints at events to come. Had Hurt and Cameron been allowed to hire real actors to perform the scene, their almost-flawless movie might have achieved true perfection.