Wait, wait...Why Does a Killer Robot Have an Austrian Accent?

It just hit me today at lunch…howcome the Terminator speaks like an Austrian? I mean, you send a killer robot back in time to ensure that the future isn’t changed, but you want him to blend in so as to minimize suspicion. Isn’t it a little odd that Skynet programmed him with an accent? Especially since he can change his voice? What’s up with that? Is Austria the only major nation in the future still fighting the machines?

(Oh, come on…they dubbed Arnold in Hercules in New York.) :smiley:

Well, that’s what you’d expect, isn’t it? But SkyNet, being a super-intelligent sentient computer, knew you’d expect that, so it deliberatly made the Terminator with an Austrian accent to throw you off! “Is that a killer robot outside?” “Naw, why on Earth would they make a killer robot with an Austrian accent? Open the door.” “ARGH!”

Actually, I figure that each Terminator is unique. If they all looked like Arnold, they’d kinda stand out. Some of them are big muscly Austrians, some are wiry little Jamaicans, some are overweight Chinese… so on and so forth. When SkyNet was choosing a Terminator to go back and kill Sarah Connor, it probably just picked a design at random, which happened to be the big muscley Austrian one. I don’t think “blending in” was much of a consideration, as there wasn’t much 20th century humans could do against a 21st century killer robot, whatever he looked like. And Arnold wasn’t going lo-pro. Certainly, he could have found a more subtle way of getting Sarah out of the police station, to name one example at random. Also keep in mind that this was “Plan B,” just in case the shiny new liquid metal Terminator going after John somehow blew his job, so the Terminator chosen was probably whatever SkyNet had at hand, not something purpose-designed for the mission.

I picture it looking something like this: the humans are battering down the gates to SkyNet HQ. SkyNet sends it’s best Terminator back in time to kill John as a tyke. The terminator goes, but John Connor is still out there leading the troops: clearly, the mission failed. Figuring even young John is too tough, it quickly throws together an old-style Terminator, probably grabbing a design at random, and hustles that one through the time portal aimed at Sarah. Just then, John and the humans break into the inner sanctum and give SkyNet a bit of the ol’ “Control-Alt-Delete.” He sends his most trusted lieutenant (and unknowing father) through the portal to save mom, then resets it for a few years later, runs off another copy of the Terminator currently in the Play-Doh Killer Android Fun Factory (Arnold) and sends that one through re-programmed to save John’s ass.

How about this: the Terminator that ended up in the hydraulic press at CyberDyne had an Austrian accent chip, which became the basis for all future Terminators. A causal-loop paradox, of course, but that’s what you get with time-travel stories. That’s why they’re so annoying.

After careful study, Skynet determined that a gravelly Austrian basso sounded the most intimidating to human ears.

Traveling back in time makes you Austrian if you’re a non-liquid robot.

I wonder how many Austrians are even left in the future…

I like Kabong’s theory…a French Terminator wouldn’t be too frightening.

Y’know, I’ve mused over this one m’self, just a little. The truth be told, I read or heard or somesuch (sorry, no cite at the moment, anyone better at threading through Google lists care to prove me right/wrong?) that Arnold was actually brought in to play the role of Reese, but after reading the script, convinced the folks responsible to let him play the title role, instead. So I suppose that’s the factual answer. If it’s true. :slight_smile:

But I picked up a book in the grocery store checkout lane a while back called T2: Infiltrator that threw an interesting curve at me. Seems SkyNet, in what passes for AI wisdom, chose, as one o’ the templates for the T-whatever (800?) series an Austrian counter-terror agent. Said agent naturally crosses the paths of John and Sarah during the course of the story, leading to all sorts o’ Three’s Company style mistaken impressions.

Actually, it was a fun read, if’n ye don’t take yer Skiffy too seriously. YMMV. From what I’ve run across about the upcoming T3, this book had a better storyline than the next movie will, but I’ll still go see the bloody thing.

Miller: Were you a fan of the (first NOW, then Darkhorse) Terminator comic books, once upon a time? Your theory sounds vaguely similar to one I read in one o’ the different series, but I’d be hard pressed to say which without digging through a lotta stuff to get at the remains of my collection.

Mmmmm, misspent youth.

Re: Miller’s design ponderings…

Remember that we saw another T-800 in one of Reese’s flashbacks in the first movie (played by Arnold’s old bodybuilding buddy Franco Columbu). I think individual T-800s would vary in appearance, both by design (the better to infiltrate) and by necessity (variations in growth of the organic “covering”), but that they would all tend to be big and bulky since the inner robot wasn’t much modified from a standard combat robot (also seen in first movie flashbacks). The primary objective of the T-1000 design was likely to overcome the disguise limitations of the previous design.

Intimidation actually does seem like a reasonable explanation for the voice, at least in the first movie, since the Terminator usually only speaks to anyone when it’s demanding something (clothing, the whereabouts of Sarah Connor, the neighbors to shut up, the driver to get out of the truck, etc. It would also likely arouse unnecessary suspicion for an infiltration robot to go around routinely speaking like, say, Jennifer Tilly, even though it can sound however it needs to if circumstances dictate. The Austrian accent might serve to further intimidation, as well as a sort of excuse for limitations of vocabulary and idiomatic speach.

Quite Simple.
Skynet has had problems creating realistic Terminators. The old models had rubber skin right? My guess is they also had old Atari voices at one time too. Skynet sees that for some reason the humans can detect this so it tweaks the design a bit.

Bingo Cyborg Terminators perfected… except the look and voice box was designed after some obscure 20th century actor in a bootlegged copy of “Jingle All the way” that one of the earlier programmers had once streamed through Skynet and dumped into an old data base.

Laahnd shaahk.

Hel-lo-pro-fes-sor. How-a-bout-a-nice-game-of-chess?

People, people…get your numbers straight! The terminator from the original movie was a “Cyberdine Systems model 101”. Not 800. The 600 series had rubber skin.

I really doubt that Arnold would have been considered for the Kyle Reese role. I skimmed over Cameron’s original treatment (which you can read on the latest release of the Terminator DVD; the framework for the eventual script) and it called for a “tall, powerfully-built” terminator. Kyle was envisioned as 21 years old, “young, compact, and muscular”. Arnie wouldn’t have fit that vision very well.

Well, as long as we’re worrying about Terminators:

–in T2: Judgment Day, the T2000 can can mimic the voice and appearance of humans perfectly. Yet, in the final showdown, when he has Sarah cornered, he tortures her trying to make her call out to John and tell him to “come here.” Why didn’t he just kill her, take her form, and call John to him himself?

–The T2000 can run fast enough to catch an accelerating car. Yet, when it has John and Sarah cornered on some kind of platform in the foundry, it climbs the steps/ladder as slowly as a human being. Why didn’t it just come flying up those steps/rungs like greased lightening and waste 'em?

–When the T2000 drops into the molten steel, it screams and writhes and splashes around in agony. When the T800 is lowered into the steel, he down in stoic silence without a twitch. Was the more advanced machine more sensitive to pain or something?

–The T2000 kills a policeman and puts on his uniform. The uniform is obviously not a part of the T2000. Yet, when the T2000 get huge silvery holes blown in him and reconstitutes himself, the * uniform * reconstitutes too, even though it isn’t part of the robot.

I’m sure there’s a rational explanation for all this…

Seems to me the best explanation would be that since the Terminator model lacked certain, ah, social skills that a heavy Austrian accent might explain away his faux pas in some situations as being a “foreigner”.

[Marvin] Oh, drat these computers. They’re so naughty and so complex. [/Marvin]

What makes you think it put on the cop’s uniform?

The T2000 needed to come into physical contact with a target to mimic it. It had to touch that policeman to aquire it’s shape (and killed it at the time too), but unless I’m misremembering the film nowhere is it implied that it had to put on that cop’s uniform rather than just morphing into what the cop with uniform looked like. We never clearly see it before it kills that first policeman; it’s probably in some sort of generic default humanoid form at that point.

Sheesh, right after I get finished chewing people out about numbers, someone goes and calls the T1000 a “T2000”, and still calls the T101 an “800”. My work has been in vain…

It can mimic voice and appearance, but nowhere have we seen that the voice imitating ability includes the ability to mimic “anguish” or “pain” reliably. Maybe they can’t do it. Besides, as I recall, at that point the T1000 hadn’t had a chance to “sample” her yet. So, El Terminador decides to use her as bait instead.

Can you go up a ladder as fast as you can run on level ground? Besides, at that point, the T1000 had been through the freezing process, which screwed it up on many levels.

Got me. Maybe the newer model comes with “NEW! Sensitivity to heat!”

Hurr? We see the T1000 take the officer’s gun (because, you recall, he can’t mimic complex machines and chemicals), but he doesn’t take the uniform. He just mimics it.

I watched a bit about this on E! True Hollywood Story. Lance Henricksen was originally envisioned as the “Terminator”. (They interviewed Henricksen in his apartment in front of an early promo poster that was based on him, not Arnie)

The studio wanted Schwarznegger on the project. Schwarznegger claims he read the script and decided he had to do the Terminator role, although they had him reading for Reese.

My take is that Arnold went to read for Reese and was told “no way” by Cameron, then when pressured the studio offered him the Terminator role.

Just imagine how bad it would have been if they used Mel Blanc’s “Tweaky” voice.

“Bidi-bidi-bidi. Are you Sarah Connor?”

Max, you should take a look at the credits.

A Terminator, of any model, cares only about its mission, not about its own survival. For the metalmorph guy, being destroyed (without taking John with him) meant the certain failure of his mission, so he was understandably a bit upset. For Ahnold, on the other hand, his own destruction was the culmination of his mission, so he was content to “die”.

Actually, the T1000 had already made physical contact with Sarah, back in the mental hospital when he was stabbing through the elevator roof and sliced open the skin above her shoulder blade. Strictly speaking, it had a chance to sample John, too, since John grabbed and tossed the small chunk of the T1000 that was stuck in the getaway car’s trunk, and this chunk was promptly re-absorbed. The whole “sampling” thing was pretty shaky, since the T1000 managed to form a perfect copy of that chubby sheriff’s deputy with no more contact than the soles of his shoes.

The extended footage shows the freeze-shatter-thaw process in the foundry as having introduced serious glitches into the T1000’s programming. These bits were almost entirely edited out for theatrical release, since all they really did was introduce more confusion into the story, but it does explain why the T1000 wasn’t at its best during the final confrontation.

Additional nitpick: the Mexicans have at least one dog. Why doesn’t it react to Ah-nuld? Too much cayenne-flavoured Alpo kill its sense of smell?

Sidebar: When I saw the thread title, I also remembered a Teutonic-accented robot from Heavy Metal 2000. The character is originally presented as a sadistic Dr. Mengele type and is only revealed (rather pointlessly, I thought) as an android when his fake skin is damaged during a fight with the movie’s heroine.