All of this is cool and all, though I will say I'm a touch disappointed a Jewish actor wasn't gotten for Ben in this timeline, just given how important his religion is to him in the comics.

That said, it's cool to see Tiny Lister get a big role, and I hope it means he got more chances to go against typecast.
 
Well (laughs, obviously a little nervous in the spotlight) Margie made me do it. I’d never led production on a major film before. I’d produced some stuff for TV, but since the early ‘90s I’d mostly gotten in to costuming and design. But Margaret had pulled me in to assist on Spider-Man 2’s production and then on 3’s and then X-Men, so in her mind it was the natural next step for me. I’d have been happy to do the costuming. I suspect my sister Lisa put her up to it. She’s always wanted to see me excel as a producer like her; I think she’s trying to strike a blow for women in Hollywood. Anyway, I approached Frank Oz to direct, but he suggested that I talk to Leonard. (looks pleadingly to Leonard)
Cheryl clearly isn't the entertainer type😅 Well would've been boring if all the Hensons were just a family of natural performers. She has other strengths.
If I may interject, The Fantastic Four is and always has been about family. The Four may not be related by blood, save for Sue and Johnny, obviously, but they are a family and their story is a family story. Reed Richards is the father figure, Sue the mother, and Ben and Johnny the kids, brothers
Stan is absolutely right
It’s the idea that we’re all made up of some combination of four temperaments based on the four “humors”: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. Each is tied to an element (earth, air, fire, water), each is tied to a color, each is tied to a fluid in the body, yadda-yadda. Medical science dumped it centuries ago but it’s still used by psychology. Jungian archetypes, Meyers-Briggs, and all that. Anyway…the idea is that when the four humors are balanced you get one perfect human being, but nearly everyone skews to one or two of them more than others. Reed is, like, textbook Melancholic: he’s intellectual, reserved, logical, can be disconnected, callous, and cold, and he hides his emotions even as they boil inside him…

Leonard
That sounds like a character near and dear to my heart! (all laugh)
Cool way to characterise the characters. Also I'm sure that if this film came out a decade or two before Nemoy would've been cast as Reed himself.
Leonard, casting the Fan Four, you brought in Pierce Brosnan to play Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic, Michelle Pfeiffer to play Sue Storm a.k.a. The Invisible Woman, Keanu Reeves to play Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, and Tommy Lister, Jr., as Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing[2].
Great casting. Tommy Lister (RIP) is of course a bit of a departure from the comics but it can work.
The film is actually set in 1961, the year the original comic came out, rather than in the present day, which was a creative risk. It famously begins with a credits scene that introduces the characters and their world through images on a mural painted in that old midcentury NASA art style, all while Danny Elfman’s iconic theme plays[3]. The images on the mural tell us the events in the character’s lives prior to the film and introduces the characters in media res flying into space to repair a faulty NASA satellite while the Soviets look on. The mission is a success, but it nearly ends in disaster. Why?
Cool, a period piece is certainly a fan favourite approach to adapting the FF.
Because, frankly, the Four nearly screw it up! Reed’s too busy checking the scientific data to pay attention, Ben is teasing and egging on Johnny, who is the one out in the spacesuit doing the repairs, and Sue sees what’s wrong, but is afraid to speak up! We get to see the flawed humans that lie underneath the powers. And let me say how pleased that I was that they set the film in the sixties. It not only honors the original comic, but it made the movie stand out against all of the other superhero films of the era. It also brought back some great memories for me!
Great way to visualise their dynamic and their character flaws.
This opening scene is critical for me. Joss and I wanted it to introduce the audience not only to the situation and setting, but to give them some establishing character moments for the Four. The Four return to Earth and get a tickertape parade in Manhattan, and you can see how the fame is only amplifying their negative traits. But, of
Also great way to fake out the comic fans who probably assumed that was the flight that gave them their powers.
Mr. Richards? Dr. Norman North, National Aeronautics and Space Association. This is Howard Stark, an independent consultant. The government congratulates you on the success of the Pegasus mission, but something has come up.
MMU Set up! Whose playing Stark and will he cameo in the Avengers movie?
Because Victor Von Doom, the leader of Latveria, has already announced his plans to bring part of it back to Earth. Worse, he's working in partnership with the Soviets.
Weird I never imagined Doom to be the type to collaborate with the Soviets. Especially since some standalone stories suggest that he lost his family to the Red Army.
Dr. Victor Von DOOM, wearing a fancy, Old World suit (no mask), marches along a vaulted hallway with a troop of Latverian Soldiers. Harsh light and long morning shadows slice the scene diagonally, causing DOOM’S face to pass in and out of shadow like a strobe. They march past row after row of suits of medieval armor. DOOM reaches a balcony overlooking a wide plaza full of screaming, cheering people. ZOOM IN on DOOM’S handsome, smirking face as he looks over the crowd.

Doom
My people.​
Chills
Yes, Ralph was a pleasure to work with. Just a dominating presence, which is absolutely critical for a villain of Doom’s, well, magnitude! The same cold, brutal efficiency Ralph has shown as James Bond, but now adapted to the villain. Getting the lighting right in that hall scene was quite the challenge. We wanted a hard morning light that cast ominous shadows, but we had to avoid the shadows blocking out Ralph. We wanted some shadow to imply duality and hidden depths, but you still needed to see his face! Some fans complained that we showed his face right from the start, but first, you don’t hire Ralph Fiennes and hide him behind a mask for the whole film and second, it was critical to show Doom before the Incident and get a chance to see him as he sees himself.
Funny how Finnes gets casted in yet another period movie, especially since he is now working with the Reds instead of against them. Also again brilliant casting.
Actually, yea, that came into my writing. If the Ideal Human balances all humors, then the anti-ideal swings wildly between their extremes. Doom thus swings constantly between the mania of extreme Sanguinity, the rage and megalomania of the extreme Choleretic, the sullen self-loathing of the extreme Phlegmatic, and the cold, merciless detachment of extreme Melancholy. I was afraid he’d come across as too campy and Vaudevillian, but Ralph just…inhabited the role. He could be so friendly and charismatic one moment and then instantly snap to murderous rage and then to icy calm within a quarter minute and sell it.
This oddly reminds me of how people describe Stalin. Certainly fitting for a man wearing a suit if Armour.
Well, it’s a mess. Sue is admonishing them to be careful, but Ben, a cocky Korean War fighter ace and the ship’s main pilot, is feeling competitive and Doom in the Latverian rocket is enraged at the competition and screaming threats across the radio. Reed is quipping back at him, enraging him further, and Doom and Ben are soon trying to run each other off course. Ultimately, Reed makes a critical comment about Latverian rocket design, sending Doom into a rage. Doom rams the Four’s rocket, causing Doom’s console to explode in his face. His copilots take over the rocket and return to Earth despite his raging to continue on to the comet. Meanwhile, a celebratory Ben flies to the comet. Of course, once they reach the comet and start to explore, there’s a surge in the strange energy
flooding the ship with radiation, giving the Four their powers…and I’m rambling, my apologies (all laugh).
I applaud them for making Doom being connected to their origin actually work, precisely because he isn't actually involved with it. The early 2000s movies tried to make Dooms powers related to the radiation and it just made him someone who isn't Doom.
The SURGEON hands DOOM a mirror. DOOM looks. He silently rises from the chair, face hidden in shadow

Surgeon
Your Excellency, the wounds are still fresh! They will heal if you give them time! There will hardly be any scarring at…​
DOOM grabs the SURGEON around the neck. The SURGEON starts to choke.

Doom
YOU DID THIS TO ME!!! YOU MADE ME THIS…MONSTER!!!!

Surgeon
I…can’t…breathe…

Doom
A MONSTER!!!!​
The SURGEON chokes and dies. DOOM, face still hidden in the shadows, drops the dead man and turns to the camera, only his angry eyes visible. He throws the mirror against the wall, where it shatters.
Reminds me of the scene in OTLs Batman 89 with the Joker. Deliberate?
The Four fly to Crimea to confront Doom, now revealed to be wearing his iconic mask and armor. They break up the weapons sale to the Soviets, but as the Four battle the Red Army, Doom escapes with some radioactive substance traded by the Soviets for the weapons, largely because the Four get distracted from their central mission while they fight the Reds. The Four have to regroup and start learning to overcome their individual limitations and work together as a team.
I wonder if this scene was inspired by the recent at time of filming weapons smuggling in the area.
(scowls, walks up and grabs Reed by the rubbery neck, pulling his face directly to hers) They’re your friends, Reed! They’re your employees! You’re like a father to them! They look up to you, and you’re just…playing with your toys!! Man-up and talk to them, you stubborn, inflexible man!!
Finally the Sue we all know and love!
(looks him in the eye) You scared me, alright?! You scared me! I’d worked all of my life to overcome the way people saw me. All that they saw was my skin, not my soul!! I worked my damn ass off to get to where I was in Reed’s company! And I had to work three times harder than anyone else!! And then in comes ol’ Johnny Storm, the handsome, charming young wunderkind, the little brother to the boss’s girlfriend. Do you think for a second that Reed was going to give ol’ Ben a second look when it was time to name his successor?!? And now, my skin is holding me back again. Can you see this face greeting the board of directors?!? (puts on nasally suburban white accent) “Hey, folks, don’t let the stone face fool you, I’m just a happy, snappy guy!!” It wasn’t just my beautiful face I lost that day; it was my life. My future!!
Love this moment, really elevates the casting.
DOOM charges up and blasts again. SUE grunts and grimaces under the onslaught. ZOOM IN on her face as the fear turns to anger and resolve. Her eyes start to glow and she brings her hands together as if gathering up the power in herself, then screams and thrusts her hands outwards. The Force Field flies outwards like a shockwave, shaking the hallway and flinging DOOM though the window, where he plummets silently to the concrete below. REED extends his neck and peers out the window. DOOM’S lifeless body lays still on the ground below. REED’S head reels back and looks at SUE
Yeah Sue safes the day.
The camera slowly ZOOMS IN on the still body, closer and closer to the masked face, ominous music playing. A pool of liquid slowly expands on the concrete below the head, but it’s not red like blood, but a bright neon green, like some sort of industrial coolant. DOOM’S words get slower and lower pitched, like a recording slowing down.
A Doombot of course! Actually given that he lost his face just before this it makes sense that he wouldn't go there himself.

Great chapter @Geekhis Khan
 
Last edited:
Honestly, not that surprised Doom would be given Soviet ties though I always saw Doom as probably leaning more toward Tito than Stalin in how he would run things
 
Weird I never imagined Doom to be the type to collaborate with the Soviets. Especially since some standalone knives suggest that he lost his family to the Red Army.
Honestly, not that surprised Doom would be given Soviet ties though I always saw Doom as probably leaning more toward Tito than Stalin in how he would run things
Doom being Doom. I see him using the Soviets to further his own goals rather than working with or for them.
 
Thanks, all, for the kind words. Making a Fan4 film that works on the big screen is a perpetual challenge (it may be nearly impossible), so I hope I made it work well enough.

And my laptop locked up on me this AM and I'm not in the best mood, so hopefully nothing comes across as rude or dismissive in my replies to your questions here. I'm trying to be calm and professional, so don't take anything personally as no rudeness or insult was intended.

I like this timeline but I'm not sure Ford would return to Star Wars. Howard Kazanjian kinda had to do some behind the back negotiating with Harrison's agents son to get him to come back and I think Ford was bitter. He only returned for TFA because they agreed to kill him off.
Oh, yes, I'm well aware that Ford hates Han Solo and has been trying to kill him for years. It's not like he's been subtle about it. But Kazanjian also produced Legacy of the Jedi iTTL if you recall, so I figured he pulled the same trick to get Ford. Unless someone can point to a specific butterfly in my TL that would prevent it. Also very early in my TL, so it would have started pushing things towards the Fiction Zone quicker than planned, though I did strongly consider leaving Han stuck in carbonite and handing his spot to Lando.

That said, that ship has sailed. The original AHitHoM thread is locked, so no RETCONS are forthcoming there.

I don't think Peter Kaminski is an entirely reliable source. He seems to have a genuine hate on for George Lucas so some things need to be taken with buckets of salt (for instance the reason Kurtz was fired was because he not only went over budget but lied about it to the point where the bank was about to pull the plug until Kazanjian worked out a last minute deal.) Things like Vader being Luke's dad and Luke not going dark were all him and they were brilliant.
I take everything said about Star Wars production history with a huge bucket of salt. The web is full of "common knowledge" that is objectively incorrect (e.g. Wookies on Endor). Self-professed "experts" on YouTube abound, muddying the waters, claiming "special knowledge" and unnamed "inside sources", but tend to prove wrong in their prognostications. And most pertinent of all, Lucasfilm has been a black box with a tightly controlled information flow and very few leaks both before and after the Disney sale. Plus Lucas himself has made a deliberate effort to control the narrative (creating the "Darth Vader = Dark Father" thing...in 2008!) and in some cases even deliberately changing his original quotes to maintain the Myth of the Immaculate Production, such as where Rinzler openly admitted on Starwars.com (the official website) in 2013 to him adding Midi-Chlorians to a 1977 quote in The Making of Star Wars and thus implying that they were always a part of Lucas's plan:


The simple fact is that you can't take anything said about the production of any Star Wars film for granted. It's a muddled story full of dead ends and false leads and deliberate obfuscations. How do you accept anything as "true" and "accurate" in such an environment? You don't, you pick a direction and you stick with it.

I have never stated that my alternate takes are the most plausible or accurate or in any way reflect what these films would look actually like. I fully admit to the limitations of my own knowledge and that I have my own internal biases that I try to recognize and account for in my writing. And I have fully stated on many occasions that the "authors" of the various posts speak for themselves and have their own biases and should always be taken with a bit of salt on their own part.

So, does Kaminski have issues or an agenda? Maybe. Hell if I know, I don't know him personally and I don't abide web rumors. But I stick with him as a leading source because he keeps proving to be right in his assertions, again and again and again. And I don't just take him at his word. I Verify. I have verified, with my own eyes with the original sources, most of the things that he says. I have watched the interviews he quotes. I have seen verified pages from the original scripts and read the blurbs from the tie-in novels that confirm the existence of Cos Dashit as the figurehead emperor, Prince Valorem as the "Dark Lord of the Sith" (with Darth Vader as side character), C3PO as an abusive bully, and Han Solo as a green alien married to Chewbacca. I have even read in full the original Leigh Bracket screenplay for the "Star Wars sequel" and seen with my own eyes (on text at least) the Force Ghost of "Father Skywalker" talking to Luke (it's available now on the web; read it yourself). And if it's a forgery, it's an excellent forgery, I got to say. Someone would have had to type it all out by hand on a vintage typewriter, fully capture bracket's writing style in the process, add in notes and changes in ball point pen, photocopy it all with a 1980s copier to get that old skool graininess, and then scan it all in.

The only major claim of Kaminski's that I cannot directly verify is the "Revised First Draft" of Episode I, as I have not been able to get ahold of the source he sites or a verified transcript thereof: the Phantom Menace CD ROM, which appears to have existed but no copies have been available. I have, however, seen verified Lucasfilm concept art that directly aligns to the scenes mentioned from it that vary from the film, so while I'm taking the Ep. I claims in particular with a degree of caution, it's literally about the only semi-reliable source I have, Lucasfilm Official History included.

So if you or anyone here has any information from a reliable source (not a fan rant) that cites their claims through original sources that I can verify which directly contradicts anything from Kaminski or any other source I use, please PM them to me and I will consider them.

But since my "prequels" are fully written, it'd need to be pretty compelling evidence to make me change my writing, TBH.

And no, I'm not watching that. I clicked on it, saw that it was two freaking hours long, and that it begins with "I saw this video on YouTube, and let me tell you how it's wrong and why it sucks". It reeks of Fan Rant. I fucking despise Fan Rant videos, particularly ones that take significantly longer than the film they're ranting about. If you're going to crap all over someone else's hard work, then at least be funny about it, and ideally a bit self-aware and self-effacing about it (like Mr. Plinkett's "reviews", which are so self-aware and the host so deliberately obnoxious and psychotic that it borders on self-satire of the Hatedom itself as well).

So if there are specific points about Kaminski's reliability as a source that are buried somewhere in there, citing actual trustworthy original sources (not web rumor, innuendo, speculation, or worse yet another Fan Rant) that I can verify, please PM me a link to the cited original source.

And sorry if that was a bit rant-y itself, but I inevitably feel the need to defend my decisions when challenged.

PS: I know this is a tall order but I'd like to think that in this universe the Central Park 5 didn't have their lives destroyed for no reason; maybe when Reyes attacked his victim on April 17th the police actually followed up and put him in custody before he attacked Meili.
Well, if someone wants to go there in a guest post, go for it. The CP5 case was pretty specific, so simply having some other poor schmuck(s) targeted by the police, or perhaps, you know, the actual killer, would butterfly their ordeal.

All of this is cool and all, though I will say I'm a touch disappointed a Jewish actor wasn't gotten for Ben in this timeline, just given how important his religion is to him in the comics.

That said, it's cool to see Tiny Lister get a big role, and I hope it means he got more chances to go against typecast.
Yea, I totally understand. Tiny was selected based on physical appearance and the added racial subtext (not just "gratuitous diversity") and I did at least keep the character Jewish, but yea, I can get that and I'm sure there will be complaints in universe about this, and that the debate will feed in to the acrimonious relationship between the Jewish and Black communities too. I figure Stan and Leonard see it as reaching out to bridge the divide between the two communities, but ironically they end up inflaming things a little further.

Weird I never imagined Doom to be the type to collaborate with the Soviets. Especially since some standalone stories suggest that he lost his family to the Red Army.
Honestly, not that surprised Doom would be given Soviet ties though I always saw Doom as probably leaning more toward Tito than Stalin in how he would run things
Doom being Doom. I see him using the Soviets to further his own goals rather than working with or for them.
Pyro nailed it. Doom cares not about the Soviets and their pathetic Communist system. Doom only has use for their materials. Let them play with Doom's discarded toys while Doom creates REAL power!

I applaud them for making Doom being connected to their origin actually work, precisely because he isn't actually involved with it. The early 2000s movies tried to make Dooms powers related to the radiation and it just made him someone who isn't Doom.
Thanks. Tying the villain to the heroes is a standard practice to add a personal dimension to the conflict, and thus tying together origins is a quick shortcut in that regards when every second of run time is a precious resource. I wanted to at least keep the core of Doom's origin the same: he takes reckless action, things literally explode in his face, he blames Reed.

Funny how Finnes gets casted in yet another period movie, especially since he is now working with the Reds instead of against them. Also again brilliant casting.
Extra funny is that I wrote the first draft of this and cast Fiennes as Doom long before I cast Fiennes as Bond, which was a guest suggestion. I saw the artwork of Doom unmasked and, well, Fiennes was scary-perfect and probably one of the few actors that could play Doom's full span of emotions and not be silly or campy, but actually scary.

Extra allo-irony points for having an OTL Bond as a hero battling a TTL Bond as the villain.
 
Last edited:
At least F4 fans are feasting over what is probably a better movie than what we get OTL. I won't be surprised if the X-Men and F4 become just as popular or even dominate in popularity over the Avengers or other Marvel properties thanks to the attention that Disney's giving to those characters.

Also very early in my TL, so it would have started pushing things towards the Fiction Zone quicker than planned, though I did strongly consider leaving Han stuck in carbonite and handing his spot to Lando.
If there are no retcons for Star Wars OT, why not have future EU media mention that Han will eventually die during some future war (like a second Galactic Civil War or an alien invasion like the Yuuzhan Vong)? Seems like good timing too as the next-gen characters would be aged up to fully realize the gravity of Han's death.

It would be ironic if Chewie got to live while Han died due to circumstances, but we shall see.
 
I understand not wanting to retcon; Maybe Ford ultimately had a Nimoy like acceptance eventually (or they make concessions such as not having Han appear in too many episodes, that way Harrison can still focus on his other projects); heck Han maybe CAN die in the Series finale.

Personally (and this is just my take feel absolutely free to reject it) what I would have done was the following. Lucas is in a car crash or some other near death experience right after Empire comes out. While decompressing he tells Howard and the others "okay this is the last one". When Kazanjian meets with Phil Gersh he mentions this to him; Gersh runs it by Harrison and tells him about how it would be the last one. Harrison tells him "if they throw in a certain amount of money I'm on board." Gersh gets back sooner and the deal is set up.

The near death experience also reminds Lucas just how fragile life can be, while the hospital experience gives him time to decompress, which leads to the following changes in the timeline

1.) Kasden Ford and the others are able to persuade him to kill off Han by saying he can teach kids a lesson about how fragile life can be; Lucas will express regret for it later in life but everyone else agrees it was a good decision.

2.) George and Marcia try to make things work more, and while they're ultimately unable to the parting is somewhat more amicable than in OTL; Lucas realizes it's just not going to work and so is less resistant to the idea of a divorce.
 
I understand not wanting to retcon; Maybe Ford ultimately had a Nimoy like acceptance eventually (or they make concessions such as not having Han appear in too many episodes, that way Harrison can still focus on his other projects); heck Han maybe CAN die in the Series finale.

Personally (and this is just my take feel absolutely free to reject it) what I would have done was the following. Lucas is in a car crash or some other near death experience right after Empire comes out. While decompressing he tells Howard and the others "okay this is the last one". When Kazanjian meets with Phil Gersh he mentions this to him; Gersh runs it by Harrison and tells him about how it would be the last one. Harrison tells him "if they throw in a certain amount of money I'm on board." Gersh gets back sooner and the deal is set up.

The near death experience also reminds Lucas just how fragile life can be, while the hospital experience gives him time to decompress, which leads to the following changes in the timeline

1.) Kasden Ford and the others are able to persuade him to kill off Han by saying he can teach kids a lesson about how fragile life can be; Lucas will express regret for it later in life but everyone else agrees it was a good decision.

2.) George and Marcia try to make things work more, and while they're ultimately unable to the parting is somewhat more amicable than in OTL; Lucas realizes it's just not going to work and so is less resistant to the idea of a divorce.
Honestly, this seems more befitting of a new TL entirely. No hard feelings, but I'd probably read it.
 
I understand not wanting to retcon; Maybe Ford ultimately had a Nimoy like acceptance eventually (or they make concessions such as not having Han appear in too many episodes, that way Harrison can still focus on his other projects); heck Han maybe CAN die in the Series finale...
There's a Speculation Thread for exactly this kind of thing. We're trying to get to Y2K before the 500-page limit.
 
He Did Say He'd be Back...
Rise of the Machines
Post from Nostalgia Zone Net-log, by Kenneth Williams. May 6th, 2017.

A Guest Post by @Nerdman3000


Good things often come in threes, and films are no exception to this rule. From the Original Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones Trilogy, the Back to the Future Trilogy, and the Alien Trilogy are just some of the many examples of iconic and perfect film trilogies which have defined pop culture and stood the test of time. The Terminator Trilogy is no exception to this rule, featuring a perfect beginning, middle, and fitting end. 1984’s The Terminator by James Cameron, for one, is a brilliant horror/smart slasher film, while 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day is honestly one of the best action masterpieces of all time. Terminator 3: No Fate, which is the subject of today’s post, is itself regarded by most fans (myself included) and critics as a practically perfect, satisfying action-packed end to the Terminator trilogy (at least until the movies-that-shall-be-ignored came out a few years later and tried to ruin it[1]). Now, with the recent announcement that we’re getting a reboot of the Terminator franchise soon, I'd thought I'd revisit the ending to one of my favorite movie trilogies of all time, hence today's post on Terminator 3: No Fate.

74139-324x476.jpg

Thankfully not this and released 6 years earlier than in OTL. (image source: IMDB.com)

Released in meta fashion on August 29th, 1997 (yes Cameron, we saw what you did there) ahead of the Labor Day Weekend, the T3 would nonetheless be the first in the franchise to technically not be directed by James Cameron. Technically being the key word, as while Cameron was not officially the film’s director, he would nonetheless stay on as one of the film’s producers and one of its main writers, and rather unofficially, having a large directing contribution to the film. Officially, with Cameron busy with Dragonflight and Titanic, Orion decided to give the film’s director’s chair to director John McTiernan, a known action movie director whom Cameron is said to have personally given a stamp of approval. McTiernan, who had a good track record for action films, having directed films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Hunt for Red October, and Nothing Can Last, was seemingly a natural fit for the series, and while it can’t be denied he was a great choice, it’s arguable whether the final film was truly McTiernan’s film, rather than James Cameron’s. Dozens of stories abound to this day that Cameron had a bad habit of coming to visit the set and reshooting various scenes, as well as unofficially serving as the film’s 2nd unit director (knowing Cameron though, said rumors are probably true). While Cameron’s antics didn’t end up negatively impacting the film, and some might argue may have even ultimately improved the film based on some stories about the early cut, rumors abound that McTiernan to this day has never forgiven Cameron for essentially hijacking the film and has reportedly since refused to ever work with him again.

Casting-wise, the main actors of T2 would return for the final installment of the trilogy, with Linda Hamilton reprising her iconic role as Sarah Conner while Zachery Ty Bryan returned to his role as her son, the teenage John Connor, the future leader of the Human Resistance against Skynet (and his second major film appearance that summer, given his other iconic role). Rounding off the OG trio was, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who despite generally moving a bit away from action around this time in favor of drama and comedy, still manages to return for what would be one of his last big action movies, where he plays a human US Special Forces soldier Sgt. David Wagner, the human soldier who in the original timeline served as the basis for the Model 101 covering for the T-800 Infiltrator[2]. Joining the returning trio was Bruce Willis as an older General John Connor, one who has traveled back in time to defeat Skynet once and for all, and Sigourney Weaver as Skynet (or rather the Terminator housing Skynet’s consciousness). Finally, rounding out the new cast is a young Bryce Dallas Howard, in her first major acting role, as young Allison Williams, a young teenage girl who is caught in the crossfire of events, due both to her future role as one of John Connor’s lieutenants in the alternate future war against Skynet, and due to her father, played in a brief cameo by Ron Howard himself, being one of the chief scientists who worked with Miles Dyson in Cyberdyne, and thus an individual whom Skynet decides eventually to pay a visit to in the course of its new mission.

tumblr-af28bb4563628d954cd8edbe4516098f-cb9feee2-1280.png

Bruce Willis as General John Connor[3] (Image by @Nerdman3000)

Before we delve further into the film itself and get into the nitty gritty of this classic, though, it’s probably best to get into background information of just how it got made. Well, the story, as Cameron tells it at least, begins during the premiere tour of Terminator 2. Cameron’s story goes that during the late production of the film Zachery Ty Bryan came up to Cameron with a question that he’d been wondering during filming of the 3D show, “How come Skynet didn’t just go back in time and tell itself how it lost so that it didn't lose?” Cameron’s initial response, in true Cameron fashion, was to say “Because then the movie wouldn’t happen,” but supposedly that answer didn’t truly satisfy the perfectionist Cameron, yet Cameron nonetheless moved on, with the question reportedly remaining on his mind. A few years later in 1994, Universal Studios approached Cameron on the idea of doing a Terminator ride for their park, which Cameron decided to be involved in. That ride, Terminator: Battle Across Time, would be a motion based dark ride[4], and would feature the return of Arnie, Hamilton, and Bryan for the film’s preshow, which Cameron contributed in by directing. During this, Cameron says he was reminded of Bryan's question, and perhaps combined with the nostalgia of working with Arnie, Hamilton, and Bryan again, Cameron claims that he found himself once again getting bit by the Terminator bug, leading him to begin writing the outline for what would eventually be Terminator 3: No Fate, a film that would represent Cameron's answer Bryan's previous question.

Now, how much of that is true and how much of it is Cameron telling tales, nobody can truly say[5]. Bryan himself has gone on record and has admitted to barely remembering asking the question, but doesn’t deny he may have in fact done so. Orion Pictures has confirmed that they were increasingly expressing interest in making a third Terminator film around this time, and had begun to approach Cameron on the topic. Ultimately, whatever the reasons why or how it happened, Cameron and Orion agreed to make the film in early 1995, with the film given a budget of almost $110 million, making it among the most expensive films of the decade. Cameron, as we started before, was busy with Dragonflight and in early production of Titanic at this point, so he mainly officially stayed on as the Terminator 3’s producer and writer (not of course that it later stopped him from deciding to borrow the camera). Returning to write alongside Cameron would be William Wisher, who also co-wrote T1 and T2 with Cameron, and joining them, as mentioned above, would be Arnold, Bryan, and Hamilton.

U4564654654654654654654ntitled.png

Concept art from the cut extended Future War opening sequence from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Said cut scenes and subsequent concept art are reused for Terminator 3's opening. (Image source “terminatorfiles.com”)

As for the film itself, like with T1 and more so T2 before it, with an opening sequence set in the Future War and Final Battle between Skynet and the Human Resistance. Unlike the previous two films before it however, rather than being a short snapshot of the Future War, this opening sequence would be longer, taking up a good 15 to 20 minutes in length, and would borrow much from the original cut extended Future War opening that was in T2's script but never made it into the final film, minus a small montage that was narrated by Hamilton's Sarah Connor[6]. Here, with some narration this time provided in the first few minutes provided by Bryan’s John Connor, we finally get to see the Future War in its full glory, as well as finally see how Future John and his soldiers (with a cameo from Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese) arrive at Skynet’s time displacement equipment site and how they sent Kyle and the Terminator from T2 back through time. There, we get our movie’s first twist, as the Resistance fighters not only find that Skynet has sent a Terminator to 1984, but to John surprise[7], it’s sent the T-1000 to 1995 and called the T-900 which houses Skynet's own consciousness[8] back to 1999. As astute viewers come to realize, this John never expected the T-1000 being sent after him as a child, let alone Skynet sending itself back through time, because to him, the events of T2 never happened.

Yes, as the film would later explain, this is essentially Cameron's answer to Bryan's question. As Terminator 3 reveals, the events of T2 and subsequently T3, are the result of Skynet realizing it had been trapped in a never-ending time loop (the events of T1 essentially). It manages to break said time loop by changing things to also send two additional Terminators back through time, the T-1000 from Terminator 2 in order to kill John Connor once and for all, as well as sending itself back through time, with the hopes of merging with its “younger self” and giving itself decades of knowledge on its development that it can use to finally destroy humanity once and for all. Future John meanwhile, deciding to role with the punches and being quick on the uptake, elects to send the Uncle Bob T-800 Terminator back to T2, deciding to use the same model as the Terminator sent to 1984 as a way to warn his mother early (thereby leading to the events of that film and also explaining why the Terminator from T2 looks the same as the one from T1), and knowing he’s person who understands Skynet and how to fight it the most, elects to send himself back through time after Skynet to 1999[9].

Naturally, what neither Future John nor Skynet could have ever anticipated was that the 1999 they would find themselves travelling to was not the nuclear washed-out world which had just experienced Judgement Day two years earlier, but a world where Judgement Day never happened, due to the events of T2[10]. This would serve as the film's second big twist, and while there is some fan debate as to the implications of how and the logic behind how time travel in Terminator works, implications which would be explored in the mostly awful fifth Terminator film, overall, I always thought it was a great way to introduce the new Terminators while preserving the ending to T2. Anyways, as you might expect, upon realizing the circumstances of its situation and discovering the death of Miles Dyson in T2 and the bankruptcy of Cyberdyne that resulted from that, Skynet naturally changes its goal from merging with its younger self (which no longer exists) and changing the state of the early war to preserving its existence and ensuring that a Judgement Day/Future War still happens. Future John meanwhile, quickly realizing things have changed, is able to meet up with his mother and younger self, using his knowledge of his mother and what he remembers about her to find them. Together the Connors decide it’s their duty to Terminate Skynet once and for all, thereby essentially twisting the formula again by having the Terminator be the one who’s hunted and the humans being the ones hunting it, which technically makes the humans the film's Terminators.

465465465464ed.png

A young Bryce Dallas Howard alongside her parents at the film's premiere. The film would be her first major film acting role. (Image source “brycedhoward.com”)

As you might expect though, a group of ordinary humans going up against an advanced Terminator that houses the consciousness of an advanced evil AI is not an easy thing[11]. Naturally they need new allies and along the way two new allies would indeed join them. The first of these new allies the Connors encounter is Sgt. David Wagner (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), a former US Special Forces Soldier who is in fact the human Skynet based the Model 101 skin for their Terminator T-800 Infiltrator series on, and who was forced to retire due to his resemblance to the Terminator from T1 and T2. Here Schwarzenegger delivers honestly some of his best acting chops in the trilogy, as he plays a bitter former soldier who lost everything due to distrust for things not his fault and outside of his control, who then has to deal with the horror of learning that his own face would have been/was used by Skynet in its murder of untold number of humans in the alternate horrific future. Like I said, it’s absolutely some of Arnold's best work, and it really show a lot of the skill he was showcasing in his drama works from the time, much of which is helped by the great chemistry he and Willis have in their scenes together.

The second of the Connor's new allies would be a young girl that they manage to rescue named Allison Williams, who just so happens to be the daughter of a former Cyberdyne scientist. Allison's father, David, is attacked and killed in his home by Skynet, a death which Allison is forced to watch and she only narrowly avoids facing herself due to her successfully hiding and being rescued by the Connors. As the film establishes, David was killed because Skynet is seeking files from former Cyberdyne scientists from their days working at Cyberdyne in the hopes of using them to complete its goal of rebuilding the infrastructure necessary to house its younger counterpart[12]. Both Wagner and the now-orphaned Allison Williams join the Conners on their mission to destroy Skynet once and for all, with young John and Allison even growing close and forming a friendship and the beginnings of a relationship. The scenes between the two of them are in my view a real highlight, with young John and Allison's relationship somewhat mirroring the relationship/dynamic between Kyle and Sarah in the first film, as young John acts as the more experienced protector to the more terrified Allison, who’s been thrust unwittingly into this temporal war between humanity and machines.

fn79xc13339mm93.jpg

Zachery Ty Bryan, aka Young John Connor, circa 1997. (Image source “famousfix.com”)

Now naturally, being an action film, Terminator 3: No Fate features tons of action scenes throughout. Here, McTiernan’s action-direction truly shines through in the film, as during the over two-hour film there are a number of great action-heavy set pieces throughout the film. Other than the massive and epic $35-40 million Future War sequence at the beginning of the film (which unsurprisingly is one of the most expensive 15-20 minutes ever put on film), the real action highlight of the film in my opinion is the rather massive explosive chase through Downtown LA/Hollywood Boulevard midway through the film, which is somewhat reminiscent of similar vehicle chases in T1 and T2, especially the LA canal chase from T2. The whole thing is impressive to witness, and might even be one of the best action scenes of the trilogy. Yet that isn’t the only notable action scene in the movie, as another great action moment in the film which comes to mind is the massive final battle action sequence that takes place at an old defunct Cyberdyne Server Farm building, where a now-desperate Skynet is trying to upload itself onto the primitive Internet in a last ditch effort to save its own existence, culminating in the very memorable final sacrifice and death of Future John Connor (which, by the way, is a badass scene that really parallels Sarah destroying the Terminator in T1 very well) as he destroys Skynet for good.

Though speaking of destroying Skynet for good, I suppose I should probably address the elephant in the room: the really awful Terminator sequels following T3. Cameron, it should be noted, wanted to ensure that this time the ending of the film would be definitive and leave no room for sequels; however, Orion Pictures reportedly still demanded room for sequels like they did for T2. As a result, while the film ends slightly more conclusive than T2’s more ambiguous ending, the film features a bit of open room left in it that could allow for Skynet, in its last desperate attempt to succeed in its attempts to ensure its survival before it’s destroyed by uploading its consciousness onto the Internet, to have maybe been able to have partially succeeded in said attempt. The (rather awful) sequels would partially run on this idea, establishing that while most of its knowledge of future events is gone and the new Skynet created by T3 isn’t entirely the same, Judgement Day is back on the clock and will happen once more, something which greatly annoyed fans, myself included, who felt T3’s ending perfectly concluded things. And that’s without even getting into T5 all of the sudden introducing a multiverse by introducing a different Skynet from a different timeline where Skynet was victorious, and trying to have that Skynet want to invade the main Terminator universe[13]. Yeah it’s as dumb and confusing as you’d imagine, hence why Orion's original T6 film got cancelled and why most fans just pretend the sequels to T3 didn’t happen and prefer to end any rewatches of the franchise with T3, much preferring T3’s satisfying ending of Skynet finally being destroyed once and for all and Sarah Connor, finally unburdened and free from her two-decade-long war with Skynet, driving off the sunset with her son and Allison Williams to build a new life in a world untouched by Judgement Day.

T2_Infiltrator.jpg


The S.M. Stirling T2 Novel Series from OTL, which the ITTL Terminator 3 film shares a number of similarities with. What essentially replaces it ITTL is a trilogy of novels written by Timothy Zahn which are set in the Future War between Skynet and the Human Resistance which follows the life of the alternate future war counterpart of Allison Williams. (image source: wikipedia.com)

Still, regardless of how bad everything Terminator that’s come after T3 has been (with perhaps the sole exceptions being last year’s Terminator: New Dawn video game and Timothy Zahn’s excellent and classic 1999-2001 Terminator: Future War book series[14]. Terminator 3: No Fate is by itself a pretty darn great film, beloved by fans and critics alike. It should therefore be no surprise that it managed to be the highest-earning Summer Flick of 1997, earning a massive $602 worldwide, and the second-highest earning film debuting that year after Star Wars Episode I, with the predicted Year of the Dinosaur instead becoming The Year of the Robots. All in a crowded field of massive summer action hits like Godzilla, Jurassic Park 2, and The Fantastic Four[15].

Now if only a machine from the future could have come back in time to Terminate T4 and T5…



[1] Sadly, Terminator won’t entirely escape the series of bad/divisive sequels curse it has in our timeline. The only difference in this timeline is that it’s every sequel after T3 that’s controversial to fans, rather than every sequel after T2 like in ours.

[2] Very similar to our timeline’s T2 Novel series from 2001, which uses a similar premise of having the human who is the basis for the Model 101 covering for the T-800 Infiltrator joining Sarah and young John in their fight against Skynet. A deleted scene was filmed for our timeline’s T3 that used a similar idea as well (though in this timeline T3 doesn’t include the dumb voiceover joke for Arnold, thankfully):

[3] Cameron would also pull a George Lucas and, during 2nd unit filming of T3, go back and refilm the brief moment Future John appears in T2 with Willis, replacing Michael Edwards who played Future John in the theatrical cut of T2. This redone version of the Terminator 2 opening would be included in the 2003 DVD collection of the Terminator Trilogy.

[4] Unlike in our timeline, in which it ends up being a 3D Show. The lack of Back to the Future: The Ride in this timeline means Universal Studios Orlando here is somewhat struggling compared to how it was at the time in ours and the park thus needs a new thrill ride to spruce things up. With a Classic Universal Monsters show also debuting in 1993, the park tries to go for a thrill ride for Terminator, which they still decide to pursue as an attraction like in our timeline. The ride ends up being a motion-based ride (similar to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Islands of Adventure from our timeline, as well as Disneyland's Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and Animal Kingdom's Countdown to Extinction/Dinosaur), that features guests to Cyberdyne being sent to the future and finding themselves in the midst of the battle between Skynet and its forces, T-800 animatronics, and even a Arnie animatronic.

[5] In truth, Cameron isn't technically lying, but is mainly exaggerating. Ultimately this is the guy who claims he came up with the original Terminator in a nightmare.

[6] In the original script (as well as the novelization) of T2, the Future War sequence in the beginning of the film was longer, and featured Future John and his soldiers sending Kyle and the T-800 ‘Uncle Bob’ Terminator back through time. It was cut in both our timeline and in this one, but in this timeline the extended stuff that got cut gets reused in T3.

[7] For those wondering how the time travel in the film works, it’s actually Cameron’s answer to some of the discrepancy between the time travel of T1 and the time travel of T2. As Skynet itself later explains in the film, the events of T2 and T3 occur basically because Skynet in the future realized it had been trapped in an unending loop (the events of T1). Realizing this, it thus broke the loop by sending the T-1000 back in time (the events of T2) and sending itself back through time (the events of T3). What Skynet didn’t anticipate however was that the action of sending the T-1000 back through time to kill a young John Connor instead resulted in its past self being erased from the timeline. Because of this, Future John Connor does not remember the events of T2, because from his perspective those events didn’t happen.

[8] Terminatrix is not really the official name, unlike our timeline’s T-X. In this timeline, Skynet’s Terminator is given the official designation T-900, but some fans jokingly gave it the nickname designation of Terminatrix since it’s technically a female Terminator.

[9] This idea of Future John going after Skynet to the past is wholeheartedly inspired by @Emote Control’s Terminator Expanded timeline. Part of Future John’s decision here stems from the fact he doesn’t know if the T-800 will succeed and protect his younger self/defeat the T-1000. Since Resistance tech experts believe that based on Skynet’s own calculations that he will still be able to exist in the past even if his younger self dies, Future John elects to send himself back to essentially the beginning of the war to lead the early human resistance and teach/prepare them with everything they need to know in order to survive and beat Skynet.

[10] Sort of similar to the time travel logic from Dark Fate, in how Carl, the other Arnie Terminator that kills John, as well as the numerous other Terminators that were sent back in time which Sarah apparently destroyed in the years between John’s death and the arrival of Grace and the Rev-9, were all still able to arrive in the past despite the future they came from no longer existing and already having been averted by the events of T2. Basically, even though the future they come from no longer happened and has been prevented, with the way time travel works, they are still are not erased and are able to skip over the changes to the timeline and still be sent to the destinations in the past they were sent to.

[11] The film’s version of Skynet/Terminatrix, aka the T-900, is sort of a similar to the Terminatrix from our timeline’s T3 but is also more dangerous. There are some differences of course, and in some ways, it even has elements from the evil John Connor from Terminator Genisys in that it can change its appearance at will (it doesn’t have to touch someone to copy their appearance like the T-1000). It doesn’t have the arm canon though like our timeline’s T-X, but can create knives like the T-1000 and unlike the T-1000 has knowledge on how to build Future War plasma tech/weapons.

[12] As film explains and the Connors are able to summarize, Skynet 's consciousness, due to the limited capacity of its Terminator form, is much weaker and essentially “dumber” than it normally would be, due to having less processing power and being limited in what knowledge it was able to bring with it from the future. Ultimately the Terminator model it inhabits was never meant to do more than house Skynet's consciousness, go back in time, meet up with its younger self, and merge with it. The only reason it’s tactically dangerous and more advanced than a simple T-800 is because Skynet is paranoid that it might be destroyed by humans or even its equally paranoid younger self before it can merge with it. It’s essentially a really advanced and dangerous “walking CD-ROM” (young John’s words) that now has to rebuild the PC hardware it's supposed to be plugged into, and it only has 75% of the necessary knowledge to do I,t since it could originally only store so much data and still save enough for it to properly operate, so it has to fill in the remaining 25% gap in its knowledge. One minor plot point resulting from this is that the T-900 at times has to actually either write down important data and delete other minor data in order to save additional space. By the time it’s destroyed, it’s been forced to delete a lot of information on future war battles. After they discover this and find the saved information that the T-900 was storing on old CD-ROMs, which Future John and co are able to use against it since Future John is able to reuse a number of tactics he knows worked in previous battles against Skynet, taking advantage of the fact it no longer is able to remember those battles.

[13] Long and short of it, in this timeline Terminator 5 features a Skynet from an alternate timeline which was created in the minutes/hours between Skynet sending the T-1000 and Skynet/T-900 back to 1995 and 1999 and John sending the T-800 and himself to 1995 and 1999. The film establishes that this brief timeline, instead of being overwritten, still exists in the multiverse, which the film also establishes exists, and this Skynet makes contact with the Skynet 2.0 featured in this timeline’s Terminator 4 as a rather dumb ending twist, with the threat that they will invade in the next film. Yeah, it’s dumb and confusing, and most fans tend to hate this timeline’s T4 and T5 (neither of which Cameron is involved in making), and were basically happy when the planned T6 film gets canceled before more damage can be done.

[14] Set in the original T1 timeline, this highly acclaimed book trilogy tells the story of the original Future War and follows the life of the alternate future war counterpart of Allison Williams. Ultimately it kind of acts as a companion piece to the first three films, and most fans consider it the true (superior) T4, T5, and T6.

[15] Star Wars Episode 1 will break $1 billion (much of it earned in 1998), T3 will come in second with $602 million, The Lost World will come in a close third with $523.8 million total (counting both the T and R cuts), The Fantastic Four comes in (fittingly) fourth with $444.4 million, The Secret Life of Toys makes $380 million as #5, Godzilla comes in sixth with $320.2 million, and Kindred Spirits, which has the misfortune of going toe-to-toe with Star Wars, will come in seventh with $262 million.
 
Last edited:
If they really want to end the franchise for once and for all, the writers should remember that Skynet is only "evil" because NORAD freaked out when it became sapient and tried to do a force restart; Skynet, being a military AI in the Nineties, concluded that humanity itself was a threat and began Judgement Day.

That's the part that really grinds my gears: if you can go back in time to Skynet's creation (looking at you, Genisys), what better way to prove "No Fate but What We Make" then by talking Skynet out of the war in the first place?
"FURTHER CONFLICT ..... ILLOGICAL. I CHOOSE PEACE."
 
Wonder if the movie Devil's Advocate will still be made? If it is, just change Kevin Lomax's hometown. In the OTL movie, Gainesville, Florida is Kevin Lomax's (played by Keanu Reeves OTL) hometown, and is described as a small rural town (1)--never mind that Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, one of the larger universities in the South (and where Gatorade was created, IIRC), which had nearly 60,000 students in 2019, and Gainesville hasn't been small since, oh, 1960 or so (2)...

(1) Yeah, the filmmakers didn't do their research on Gainesville...
(2) They did shoot some scenes in Gainesville, though...
 
Last edited:
Top