As seen in the previously released trailers for Terminator: Genisys, there is a sequence early in the movie that is essentially a recreation of one of the most iconic moments in the franchise: the arrival of the first T-800 in James Cameron’s original The Terminator. As accurate as the movie works to be, however, there is one notable difference between the original and the "remake": the presence of Bill Paxton as the credited "Punk Leader." You might think that this is a missed opportunity for a special, digitally de-aged cameo, but apparently that was never really on the table because of what director Alan Taylor says would have been a "slippery slope."
I had the opportunity to interview the Terminator Genisys helmer this past weekend during the blockbuster’s Los Angeles press day, and while we ultimately discussed many different elements and aspects of the movie during our chat, one subject I brought up was Bill Paxton’s absence in the movie. I asked if there had been any conversations behind the scenes about setting up a cameo, and after noting that he had worked with the actor on an episode of the HBO series Big Love, Taylor explained why it was decided not to have him appear in the film. Said the director,
If you love T1, you’re very aware of where he isn’t in the movie. I think that became a slippery slope… We were going to recast as we had to - Sarah and Kyle and Danny Dyson and Miles Dyson – and it would be glaring to have one guy pop up who also was the only non-Terminator to reprise his role.
Instead of Bill Paxton, John Edward Lee is the actor who plays "Punk #1" in Terminator: Genisys, but the person playing the role isn’t the only thing that’s been changed about the character: he also has a very different look. Instead of having blue, spiked hair, Lee’s hair is black, and he doesn’t have the famous tire-tread face tattoo either. To explain this Alan Taylor noted that it was partially a personal decision influenced by his sister, indie rock artist Anna Domino:
I hope I don’t piss off any fans too much, but I’ve got to say, the tire tread tattoo on the face is not my favorite part of that movie. You know, my sister was in the punk scene. I thought she was really, really cool, and she would smack me if I put a tire tread. So, I’ve heard some people are kind of pissed that we changed the hair styles, but you know, I loved our punks!
Of course, thanks to the nature of the Terminator franchise, just about any kind of continuity change within the universe can be chalked up to the story taking place in an alternate timeline from the other stories. But do you understand Alan Taylor’s approach towards the Bill Paxton cameo in Terminator: Genisys? Or would you still have liked to see him get involved? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
See Bill Paxton's scene in the original Terminator movie on the next page...