When we think of the Terminator, it stands to reason that the first image which springs to mind is that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. After all, not only was that one of his career’s defining roles, but he’s also viewed as being the face of the film franchise. In fact, one could argue that some of the disillusionment moviegoers shared toward Terminator Salvation had to do with his absence.
Funny enough, history could’ve played out much differently if Arnie had been cast in the role of Kyle Reese as originally intended. Believe it or not, there’s a debated urban legend saying it was Lance Henriksen whom director James Cameron originally envisioned to play the cybernetic organism with living tissue over metal endoskeleton in the picture that blurred the lines between science fiction and horror.
Now, thanks to Core of Movies, we have a general idea of what that would’ve looked like. Via some early concept art, we see Henriksen as the iconic machine, draped in shadow and only half of his face resembling something human. Actually, this makes it hard not to recall Kano from Mortal Kombat, but that’s just me.
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Of course, Schwarzenegger ultimately wound up as the antagonist, with Michael Biehn landing the role of Kyle Reese and Henriksen still being included as a cop named Hal Vukovich. And even if Henriksen may have never been intended to be the T-800, it’s fun to ponder the possibilities.
As it turned out, Henriksen ended up playing an android, Bishop, in Cameron’s Aliens a couple years later, so it’s not like he went home empty-handed. And, all things considered, the veteran actor went on to enjoy a very illustrious career, even if he can’t lay claim to having played the Terminator, appearing in countless genre films over the decades. Either way, this is undoubtedly some interesting trivia that fans will surely appreciate.