As franchises go, Terminator was based on a relatively unique concept. Mixing elements of both the sci-fi and action genres, it was saved from becoming just another movie about robots by its survival-based storyline and stellar cast.

Even today, there are few characters as iconic or spine-chilling as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. Not only that, but the slew of sequels has rarely been out of cinemas in the nearly four decades since Terminator’s initial release.    

The statistics speak for themselves: by 2010, the franchise had generated an incredible three billion dollars in revenue. So, what is it that’s made the films so enduringly popular?

Contemporary themes
If there’s one theme that’s defined the last four decades, it’s the growth in technology. Since 1984, when the first Terminator film was released, the world has changed dramatically. We’ve gone from the earliest incarnations of mobile phones – huge, ungainly, brick-like things – to svelte smartphones that sit in our pockets and are fundamental to our daily functioning.

Not only has technology begun to play an increasing role in our lives, but with every innovation comes an unspoken sense of suspicion. We constantly question whether we’ve gone too far and this is a concept heavily explored within the Terminator franchise.

For all their flaws, the films revolve around the concept of not knowing when to stop – of pushing and pushing until the very survival of humanity is at stake. It’s this idea that’s embodied by the terminators themselves: autonomous, humanoid cyborgs intent on destroying mankind. As a theme, it fictionalises fears that are no less relevant to audiences in 2022 than they were in 1984.

Continual worldbuilding

To stay interesting, it’s not enough for franchises to maintain a mass appeal – they must have the ability to continually expand on the story they’re telling. To avoid becoming stale over time, this means successfully worldbuilding.

The Terminator franchise has done this in several ways. Not only have its terminators evolved throughout the films, and its storylines adapted to a modern world, but it’s also expanded its reach far beyond the silver screen.

There have been numerous video games helping to win the franchise appeal among gaming audiences in recent years, as well as forays into the world of online casino slots. For example, if you were to click here now, you’d find a page displaying various providers and the bonuses they offer. Among them would be the five-star rated Wildz Casino, which has a Terminator 2 slot included in its portfolio.

A Call of Duty crossover is also on the cards, which is sure to further flesh out the world of the franchise and bring it to fresh new audiences in a modern-day format.

When it comes to understanding the appeal of Terminator, it primarily comes down to two factors: its continual worldbuilding – both through its many movies and other related media – and its all-too-relevant storylines. These have helped it maintain a mass appeal among modern audiences, making it that rare contradiction: a retro classic with an oddly contemporary vibe.      

All of this means one thing: that Terminator will never die.