Terminator 3’s Novelization Changed From The Movie

Terminator 3’s Novelization Changed From The Movie

Terminator 3’s Novelization Changed From The Movie

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Although the novelization of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is largely true to the 2003 movie, the book version of the sequel makes a few inexplicable changes to the narrative. It is not hyperbole to state that the Terminator franchise is not easy to follow at the best of times. Since 1984's original movie and its 1990 follow-up, the Terminator timeline has been repeatedly rebooted - first by 2009’s Christian Bale-staring Terminator: Salvation, and later by the 2015 critical failure Terminator: Genisys, and the 2019 flop Terminator: Dark Fate.

However, even before all of these cinematic retcons, the Terminator movies had another canon snag to contend with. The novelization of 2003’s sequel Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines featured a slightly different story from the movie itself, meaning there was yet another instance of the Terminator franchise confusing its chronology with contradictory versions of events. However, to be fair to the creators of Terminator: Salvation, Terminator: Genisys, and Terminator: Dark Fate, these reboots at least retconned the franchise’s story on purpose. In contrast, author David Hagberg’s novelization of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines changed such a small set of minor details that the switches almost seemed more like continuity errors than active storytelling choices. However, like the seemingly minor choice to cut Sarah Connor’s death from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, these small alterations to the story did have a big knock-on effect on the Terminator franchise as a whole. Despite this, the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines novelization barely addresses the inconsistencies between the book’s text and the movie’s version of events, whether it is the T-850’s construction, the T-X’s choice of weapon, or the question of when and where the T-850 came from.




The T-850’S and Terminator’s Difference Construction And Weapons

The movie’s version of the story, the T-850 that saves a young John Connor's life was captured and successfully reprogrammed by John’s team after assassinating an older John in the future. Although Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (ill-advisedly) cut John Connors’ assassination scene, the movie version of the sequel still uses this setup and leans into the plot’s inherent irony. The T-850 tasked with saving John’s life is the exact same machine that would have already killed him in the future, an irony that makes the T-850 harder to trust despite its heroism. This adds a frisson of extra unease to interactions between John and the T-850, which makes it all the odder that the novelization changed this backstory completely. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' novelization, the T-850 was found and reprogrammed by the very much alive John Connor, his wife, and his team. This much less dramatic version of events makes the T-850 seem a little less dangerous in the novel since it was never tasked with killing John. While killing off John Connor didn’t work in later sequels as it no longer surprised jaded franchise fans, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was the first Terminator movie to refer to his death - and did so by having his trusty T-850 be the one to kill him. Even off-screen, it was a mean-spirited death and an effective twist, making it a strange surprise for the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines novelization to drop this intriguing backstory. Oddly, later in the novel, the T-850 claims it was caught and reprogrammed by John’s team after killing John, even though this contradicts events depicted earlier in the book. The T-850 of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’s novelization is made of durable plastic, whereas the movie’s version of him is made of living tissue. The franchise’s many different Terminator models make this change understandable as the T-1000, the T-850, the T-X, and the Rev-9 all operate based on different rules. This change also makes the T-850 feel a lot more antiquated than the T-X, making his odds against her in a fight seem even direr. The T-X is still one of the franchise’s most ferocious and powerful Terminator models, so clarifying that she is more technologically advanced than the classic T-850 and being faster, stronger, and more lethal serves to make her an even more effective antagonist. movie’s T-X couldn’t outdo Robert Patrick’s iconic T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the novelization reinforces the new villain’s impressively dangerous capabilities. However, this does make a later storytelling choice harder to justify. While the T-X replaces her plasma cannon with a flamethrower in the movie, in the novelization of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines she simply switches to a weaker version of the damaged plasma cannon. It’s a far less cinematic substitution that, while believably efficient, doesn’t exactly make the villain seem more threatening.

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