Picture it: 1992. Terminator 2: Judgement Day had bee in theaters and is on the fast track to becoming one of the biggest motion picture event of the millennium. Little A.P. Miller, a science fiction aficionado in his own right, takes to the James Cameron franchise like a meth addiction on a reality TV star.
I think we can all agree that one of the coolest visual devices used on the film “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” was the liquid metal protagonist, the T-1000. The shape-shifting killing machine was malleable, changing its shape and appearance at will, while also being able to distort its limbs into lethal shapes intended on stabbing or dismembering the target at hand. I know I was fascinated by the prospect.
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I was the “weird kid” in school – I’d rather have played with my action figures and made up stories instead of playing football with the neighbor kids. That part of me also wanted to know how the T-1000 existed within the confines of the contextual rules set up by the first film.
To that end, I present to you: the advanced theory of the T-1000 and practical earth applications.
Before we can begin, we need to agree on a few rules & assumptions within the Terminator Universe:
- Up to the release of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the multiverse theory was not employed, and time travel was based on singular, cyclical Earth, and that the rules of time travel from the first film must remain in tact and without interference.
- Nothing dead can go through the breach in time space, that’s why the Terminators had to go through naked
- That Skynet has continued with scientific advancement through a means of self-preservation and that innovation did not stop when Skynet became self-aware
The theory: the T-1000 is a mass of cells that have been attached to by nano-bots, thus meeting the requirements of a “cybernetic organism.”
According to Ms. Julie Winters’ Seventh Grade science class: “cells” is what qualifies something as being living or not. We take the assumption that nothing dead can go through, then we have to assume that the T-1000 has living cells somewhere near the surface of its liquid metal make up. The T-800 (the machine that was sent to protect John Connor), says “I am a solid metal endo-skeleton covered by living tissue.” So, we know that Skynet is proficient at human cellular manipulation.
What makes the T-1000 fascinating as a specimen is the shape-shifting abilities of the T-1000 unit. Consider what we’ve stated so far: 1. the T-1000 must be comprised of cells, and 2. those cells must be fortified with nano technology. What human cells would be capable of manipulating themselves to the exact need of the stimulus and cellular precedent around them? Stem cells of course! When John Connor was raiding the Skynet compound in “Terminator: Salvation,” Skynet was clearly working with infant children and would have the facilities to nuture and culture a human life being born; stem cells could readily be harvested.
The concept of nano-technology wasn’t widely embraced in the early 90’s — when Terminator: Genesys was released, the T-3000 (an advancement on the T-1000 / T-800 (or later) hybrid design relies on the concept of nano-technology that we understand and embrace. If Skynet were still developing and innovating cellular technology, nano-bot innovation would have surely been at the forefront.
The initial design of the T-1000 had an incredible design flaw: a lack of rigid skeletal structure. The prototype design theory was sound: the T-1000 would have a finite amount of malleable mass and there should be an optimum amount of mass ready to be called upon for weapon initialization, to re-render its appearance to one of an odd shape or size, and to be able to escape from potential threats to self. The T-1000 design flaw would be eliminated in future advancements, such as the T-1001 (Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles), the Terminatrix (TX) (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), and perhaps the greatest innovation to the T-1000 concept since the T-1000 itself: the Rev-9 (Terminator: Dark Fate), in which two separate terminators operate independently and symbiotically.
There you have it — I’ve nearly nerded myself unconscious! As a writer, thinking about fiction as critically as I have here is what makes my work as reasonable as it can be. I like to think that the less my readers have to suspend disbleief, the more they are able to be lost in the story.
A BIG thank you to James Cameron, whom created such a mythology that I could sink my teeth into!
Until your next trip across the Millerverse!