The T-1000 mimics anybody, so why didn’t the director use Robert Patrick for the cop who initially encounters the electrical disturbance?

I understand that perhaps they didn’t want the reveal that it’s a poly-alloy metal or whatever, but the T-1000 suddenly showing up in the likeness of Robert Patrick always seemed odd to me.

Did they not want to reveal it could mimic anybody at the start of the movie?

  • 1
    I always had the impression that Robert Patrick's face is the face that Skynet designed for the T-1000 in the first place, and he only copied the cop's uniform.
    – GendoIkari
    Sep 18, 2018 at 3:01
  • 3
    As far as I know there is no in-universe explanation. But out of universe, the most likely explanation is to delay the reveal of T1000's full powers. I remember when the movie came out, this twist was a pretty major selling point of the movie.
    – sanpaco
    Sep 18, 2018 at 6:55

1 Answer 1


A few reasons come to mind:

  • The liquid metal properties are slowly revealed, so it keeps surprising the audience: when he gets shot, mimicking the checkered floor, trying to pass through the gates, etc. It wouldn't be so interesting to reveal this property right away.

  • It makes it easier to identify the character; it could be confusing to have someone else land as the T-1000 just to get transformed into Robert Patrick right at the beginning of the movie. This way, Robert is the default face of the T-1000 the whole time.

  • Director James Cameron wanted to make a big reveal of the character, as dissected in this blog:

Just as in the first Terminator, Connor’s human-resistance faction sent back a protector to keep him safe. And right up to the moment the two clash, the audience is meant to see Schwarzenegger as the same heavy he played in the last film, and his opposite number,… as the hero sent to rescue John.

and later here

The T-1000 certainly kills the first man he encounters, and takes his police car—but Cameron elides over the details offscreen, never showing the T-1000 changing shape, or making it clear that the cop is dead instead of unconscious.

  • Makes sense I guess. If I remember correctly the big reveal was the T1000 morphing up from the floor and imitating the security guard (although I'm not sure how the T1000 could possibly do that until he at least touched the skin of the security guard to sample the DNA)
    – enorl76
    Sep 22, 2018 at 7:40
  • Just one thing I thought of after, had they still used Robert Patrick for the cop, while not showing his face initially, then all the sudden, the T1000 shows up as Patrick, would've made more sense and explained better that the T1000 can mimic anything after watching T2 the second time.
    – enorl76
    Sep 25, 2018 at 1:55
  • @enorl76 I guess that's just not how James Cameron wanted it to be.
    – Luciano
    Sep 25, 2018 at 8:32
  • @enorl76 - I don't think skin touch or DNA is ever said to be required - The security guard walking on his face seems to have been enough
    – komodosp
    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:33

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