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The Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Terminator was sent by Skynet in 2029 to Los Angeles in 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the future mother of John Connor, the leader of the future human Resistance. It was the first of the Infiltrators sent back on assassination missions by Skynet, and is arguably the single most significant Terminator unit as it inadvertently "fathered" Skynet in its journey through time, similar to how Kyle Reese fathered John Connor in his.
After emerging from the time displacement sphere, at 1:52 AM on May 12, 1984 at the Griffith Observatory, the naked Terminator encountered three punks roaming the streets and forcibly demanded their clothing, killing two of them when they responded with aggression. At some unspecified time later, in the earlier hours of the morning, it went to a gun shop to acquire weapons for its mission, killing the shop's proprietor so it could pocket the ammunition. The Terminator then checked a phone book for a list of Sarah Connors, finding a total of three. It proceeded to kill Sarah Ann Connor and Sarah Louise Connor, before tracking down its intended target - Sarah Jeanette Connor - in Tech Noir. The Terminator nearly succeeded in killing her, but Kyle Reese - a soldier sent by the future John Connor to protect Sarah against the Terminator in the past - helped Sarah to escape.
A chase ensued and the Terminator was injured in a car crash, damaging its arm and left eye. After removing the useless flesh eye (exposing the cybernetic optic underneath), the Terminator wore sunglasses so as to conceal its cybernetic eye and continue passing off as human. Armed with an assault rifle and shotgun, it then went to an LAPD police station to terminate Sarah, and while it went on a shooting spree which killed dozens of police officers, it failed to eliminate Connor before she escaped with Kyle.
The Terminator later went after and murdered Sarah's mother, and by impersonating her over the phone, was able to trick Sarah into revealing her and Kyle's whereabouts at the Tiki Motel; but the two escaped again. The Terminator proceeded to pursue them on a high speed motorcycle through a tunnel, then tried to run Sarah down with a commandeered truck, while Kyle used a pipe bomb to destroy it. However, while the truck was destroyed, the Terminator survived; its living tissue was burned away by the fire, but its endoskeleton had survived and continued functioning, with only a disabled left leg joint.
The Terminator chased Kyle and Sarah into a factory, where Kyle attempted to blow it up and was mortally wounded in the process; though the explosion succeeded in crippling the Terminator further by blowing its legs, pelvis and left hand off, its endoskeleton from the waist up still survived and continued crawling through the factory after Sarah. Sarah managed to trap the Terminator and activate a hydraulic press on it just as it was about to choke her to death; the press crushing and flattening the machine beyond repair. It was finally destroyed, leaving little more than the arm it had attempted to choke Sarah with.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Though the T-800 had been terminated, its arm and its crushed CPU had survived the hydraulic press, and were recovered by Cyberdyne Systems. Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson, a cybernetics scientist and a high-ranking employee of Cyberdyne, was tasked with creating a new neural-net processor from these two pieces of unknown-sourced advanced technology.
Miles studied the processors and was able to build a revolutionary new brand of automated systems, a more-advanced form of artificial intelligence and making other existing computer systems obsolete in comparison. The project eventually reached the point where he nearly completed a prototype of the processor. In the same manner as Kyle Reese's entrance into the timeline had altered the fathering of John Connor, the introduction of the Terminator's remains altered and accelerated the rise of Skynet, introducing another alternate future revolving around a predestination paradox.
The Terminator arm and CPU were stolen from Cyberdyne by a 10-year-old John Connor, his mother Sarah, and another T-800 which had been reprogrammed by the Resistance. They ultimately destroyed the two Terminator pieces by throwing them into a vat of molten steel, in an attempt to change the future and eliminate Skynet once and for all.
It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear and it absolutely will not stop EVER until you are dead!
- Kyle Reese telling Sarah how deadly the Terminator is
In comparison to most other Terminators, who could exhibit emotional attachment, frustration, shock, fear and a sense of humour, the first T-800 was extremely emotionless, cold, violent and ruthless. It almost never showed any facial expression beyond a cold and flat face, and it usually only spoke when it meant to engage others for information or when it intended to throw unwanted attention off of itself. The T-800 was noted to have an "attitude problem," tending to physically throw others out of its way to get past them or to use a phone booth. The T-800 was also very brutal and completely merciless, and was quick to killing when others in any way didn't cooperate with its plans and demands. Like most Terminators, the first T-800 was single-mindedly and inhumanly relentless in completing its mission at all costs, to the point that it continued its pursuit of Sarah Connor without giving up, even when it lost its skin sheath and its legs in the process.
Despite its almost-blank personality though, the Terminator did still possess just enough social information to calculate what the best verbal response with which to throw off unwanted attention was. It was also intelligent and resourceful enough to calculate multiple different methods of tracking down and/or killing Sarah Connor; from pursuing and murdering all Sarah Connors named in a phonebook, to impersonating Sarah's mother over the phone in order to obtain her location, to attempting to run Sarah down with a commandeered truck.
- This T-800's endoskeleton is used as the image for the T-831 "Heavy Combat Chassis" from The Terminator Collectible Card Game.
- Throughout most of the series the Terminator has nicknames. He's nicknamed "The Phone Book Killer" by Ed Traxler.
Behind the Scenes
- Lance Henriksen and Jürgen Prochnow were originally cast in this role, but were passed over in favor of Schwarzenegger. O.J. Simpson was also considered, but was passed over by James Cameron because, ironically, he couldn't imagine "such a nice guy playing the part of a ruthless killer."
- This T-800's human face was used as the digital make-up for the prototype T-800's face in the film Terminator Salvation.
- The security camera images featuring the T-800 shown to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day were not taken from the original film. Those were new photographs of Schwarzenegger wearing the same clothes and Gargoyles sunglasses.
- Battle Damaged T800 (1/6th scale collectible figure, 2005)
- Product code: LT1050503
- Accessories: sunglasses, kit bag with padded shoulder strap, figure stand
- T800 (1/6th scale collectible figure, 2010)
- Product code: MMS136
- (product names)[specification needed]
- (product names)[specification needed]
- The Terminator (First appearance)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Endoskeleton arm and CPU only)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mentioned only)
- Terminator Salvation (Mentioned only)
- Terminator Genisys
- The Terminator (NOW Comics) (flashback)
- The Terminator: Tempest (Crushed endoskeleton)
- The Terminator: One Shot
- Terminator: All My Future's Past issue #2
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Cybernetic Dawn (flashback)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Nuclear Twilight (cameo)
- Terminator: Infinity (Hologram simulation; in a flashback)
- The Terminator: 2029 (Mentioned only)
- The Terminator: 1984 issue #1 & 2
- Painkiller Jane vs. Terminator (cameo)
- Terminator/Robocop Kill Human (flashback)
- Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle
- The Terminator (Huston novel)
- The Terminator (Frakes novel)
- T2: Infiltrator (Mentioned only)
- T2: The Future War
- Dark Futures (Mentioned only)
- An Evil Hour (Mentioned only)
- The Terminator (1990 Game)
- The Terminator (Genesis)
- The Terminator (SEGA CD)
- Terminator Revenge (Mentioned only)[Confirmation needed]
- The Terminator: Dawn of Fate