‘Terminator Salvation’ Director Answers Fans’ Burning Questions

McG tells us where that Arnold footage came from, what crime Marcus committed and more.

This past weekend, “Terminator Salvation” thrilled millions of moviegoers with its intense depiction of a post-Judgment Day reality. It also confused the heck out of even the most loyal followers of the franchise, who have followed the complicated “Terminator” timeline for decades and now have all-new questions about how well the series’ logic holds up.

With that in mind, we had fans submit questions to the MTV Movies Blog and took them straight to “Salvation” director McG.

Q: Is the footage of Arnold as the Terminator actually taken from the first film? – Donna Haynes

McG: That was done by scanning pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger from that period, taking the scans from that original picture and studying the original film on a very minute level. But that was created synthetically, in the spirit of “Benjamin Button” or “Forrest Gump,” and that was our offering to the visual-effects world. That’s a synthetic character that we worked very, very diligently on and that ILM created.

Q: How come lava melted a T-800 in “T2,” but it doesn’t in “Salvation”? – Germain Lussier

McG: That’s not lava. There are different characteristics of molten steels, and that was an earlier steel process after it had been separated from the coke. We went over this with a metallurgist, discussing which metals burn at which degrees. And also, if it had stayed on [the T-800], perhaps it would’ve melted him, but it was frozen quickly enough by the [liquid nitrogen]. Plus, we make the transition from the molten metal to the cooling property so quickly — as a function of the T-800 being on [John] Connor — that it wouldn’t have had time to melt the existing titanium exoskeleton in time.

Q: If there are sequels, will you follow what was said in “T3″ in regards to John Connor being killed by a T-850? – Franco Portaro

McG: Likely, yes. There’s a lot of value in the mythology put forward in “T3.” Listen, I respect [director Jonathan] Mostow and everything — it’s hard to make three good movies. Look at “Godfather 3.” It’s trash.

Q: When Marcus is inside Skynet and learning about how he was created, the visage of Dr. Serena Kogan mentions that he’s managed to do something that none of the other Terminators have been able to. Is Skynet aware of the alternate futures and other events that have taken place? – Pierce Arner

McG: Skynet is aware of the alternate futures, and the way that we play it is in the spirit of parallel worlds, as theorized by Einstein. We try to pay attention to that approach to a fundamentally theoretical construct. So yes, they are aware of the other attempts on the life of John Connor, and they’ve always subscribed to a bigger-gun philosophy, from the T-800 to the T-1000 to the TX. Now they’ve decided to bring in a machine with enough humanity in it to properly infiltrate the Resistance and lure John Connor to their lair. That’s why Serena speaks of thinking differently, thinking radically.

Q: What did Marcus do to earn his death sentence in 2003? – Jack Richlin

McG: He was a car thief that took his brother along for the first time. His brother panicked when the police showed up. Marcus ended up killing the police officers, and his brother was shot in the melee. So his brother and the police officers are dead, he’s very down on himself, and he’s the type of character who would never appeal the death sentence. Which is why he made the choice he did to accept death. … We didn’t shoot [the scene], although we always talked about it. I even storyboarded it; in fact, I’m going to put the storyboards into the DVD.

Will the vampires grab more trophies than the slumdog? What was the year’s ultimate onscreen WTF moment? It’s up to you to decide the winners of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Vote now, and tune in on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, when the big show airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Terminator Salvation.”

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