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The Terminator is a fictional autonomous robot from the Terminator franchise portrayed by both Arnold Schwarzenegger and numerous actor stand-ins digitally overlayed with Schwarzenegger's likeness. The Terminator itself is part of a series of machines created by Skynet for infiltration-based assassination missions, and while an android for its appearance resembling a human, it is described as a cybernetic organism for consisting of living tissue over a robotic endoskeleton.
Terminators. Later films call the newer terminators by their series numbers (T-1000, T-X, etc.). The only consistent name for Schwarzenegger's Terminator character has been "The Terminator". Kyle Reese in The Terminator and Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator 2 refer to it as a "Cyberdyne Systems Model 101". In Terminator 3, the Terminator refers to itself as a "T-101", which could be an abbreviation of its model number.
The first appearance of the Terminator was as the titular antagonist in The Terminator, a 1984 film directed and co-written by James Cameron. While the original Terminator was destroyed, other cyborgs using the same "mold" that made them look like Schwarzenegger — said physical template was described in-universe as the "Model 101" — are featured in the sequels. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Genisys, Schwarzenegger is the protagonist instead of the antagonist, pitted against other Terminators sent by Skynet. In Terminator Salvation, the T-800 appears briefly as a T-RIP (Resistance Infiltrator Prototype) CGI model. In the context of the stories, the plot device of having various robots looking the same provides a certain continuity for the human characters by exploiting their emotional familiarity with a particular "human" visage associated with each "model".
The "Terminator" title has also been used as a generic name for other human-simulating characters in the "Terminator" universe, such as the liquid metal shapeshifting T-1000 antagonist in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day and a T-850 in the sequel Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.