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The Wild PREDATOR/TERMINATOR Shared Universe Fan Theory

Do Predator and The Terminator take place in the same shared universe? According to one fan theory, the answer is yes. Come with me if you want to learn all about it on today’s episode of The Dan Cave.

Everyone’s favorite stealthy, mandible-mouthed murder-monsters from Yautja Prime are back in theaters this week in The Predator. In honor of this new chapter in the franchise, today we’re taking a peek at one of the wildest fan theories I’ve seen that claims that not only are Predator and The Terminator connected, but that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, ex-Special Forces operative Alan “Dutch” Schaefer was used as the beefy blueprint for the T-800.

Image: 20th Century Fox

The theory, which relies on comic book adaptations, movie novelizations, and a wild easter egg from a 1994 arcade game, first made the rounds in mid-2017, courtesy of Cracked’s David Israel Nunez Alvear. In 1987’s Predator, Dutch and a group of towering beefcastles were sent by the CIA into the jungles of Val Verde, a fictional South American country, in order to retrieve intelligence from a slaughtered military unit. What follows is a waking nightmare as the team is systematically picked off by the Predator, using its cloaking technology and thermal imaging to murder the team one by one. The film ends with the Predator blowing himself to smithereens and Dutch getting to da choppa to presumably live on and fight another day. But what happened to Dutch after that?

The theory turns to Predator film novelizations, which claim that he suffered radiation poisoning from the gigantic explosion at the end of Predator, which did have a mushroom cloud. The Dark Horse Comics series have featured Dutch’s brother trying to suss out what happened to his surly sibling, but to no avail as he had seemingly disappeared. Perhaps this was because the government and, more specifically, the OWLF, the Other World Lifeforms Taskforce, wanted to figure out how Dutch managed to beat a Predator in the first place and why they would want to transform him into a cyborg supersoldier to fight on the frontlines in the intergalactic conflicts to come.

Image: Capcom

So how does all of this connect to Terminator? The answer lies in a serial number. In Capcom’s 1994 Alien vs. Predator arcade game, in which humans and Predators team up to take down an infestation of deadly Xenomorphs. Players can assume the roles of two Predators–a Hunter and a Warrior–as well as two cyborg soldiers, Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa and Major Dutch Schaefer. According to the game’s official description, Major Dutch Schaefer is “a cyborg created to fight extra-terrestrials. He lost his right arm in the 2nd Alien War, and has since had it replaced with a smartgun rig. He lives only to avenge himself against the aliens!”

In the game, Dutch’s serial number is listed as CDS-170A3, a seemingly innocuous detail until you remember what CDS could stand for: CyberDyne Systems, the name of the company responsible for creating Skynet and, in turn, unwittingly unleashed a robot apocalypse in the form of the Terminators. You might be thinking that this sounds like a bigger leap in logic than a trained biologist taking off his helmet to smell some space spores, but you’d be wrong. According to YouTube’s AcidGlow, the arcade game was based off an early draft for the eventual 2004 Alien vs. Predator movie that was intended to tie into the Alien vs. Predator comic series. The film we got was very different, but there was a chance we could have seen something like this on the big screen too.

In an interview, Alien vs. Predator director Paul W.S. Anderson revealed that then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was open to reprising his role in a cameo appearance, but he won the recall election and was thusly unavailable. Perhaps that would have established Cyber-Dutch as official canon, but in the meantime the arcade game is the main detail we have to go from.

Image: Paramount

Now according to existing Terminator canon, the soldier selected as the living tissue template for the original Terminator Series-800 model varies depending on what source you use. In the Terminator 2 tie-in novel T2: Infiltrator, it is revealed that ex-CIA agent Dieter von Rossbach was the physical basis for the T-800, while in a deleted scene from Terminator 3, Air Force Chief Master Sergeant William Candy is chosen as the model for the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101’s artificial skin. Since both of these options are as credible as the arcade game, it stands to reason that the government and Cyberdyne could have elected to use someone who has already gone to to toe with one of the deadliest threats that mankind ever faced: Major. Dutch Schaefer.

The plot thickens even further if you look at the Aliens universe, specifically at highly advanced synthetic androids like Ash. In Alien, Ash mentions being an android made by Hyperdyne Systems, which sounds suspiciously like Cyberdyne Systems. Ash is a Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2 model android, but what if you put it in the same format as Cyborg Dutch? You would have CDS 170A3 and HDS 120A2. Or, as the theory explains it, three letters, followed by the number 1, followed by another number, followed by the number 0, followed by the letter A, and lastly another single digit number. Given that many fans believe that Hyperdyne Systems is what Cyberdyne Systems eventually evolves into, it’s tempting to make the connection. After all an early draft of James Cameron’s Aliens featured Paul Reiser’s character Burke referencing “Cyberdyne Systems” rather than “Hyperdyne,” so it’s entirely possible.

Image: 20th Century Fox

Mostly this just gives me hope that one day we’ll see a cyborg Dutch teaming up with a Terminator to fight off Aliens and Predators in one of the wildest crossovers ever committed to film. But after Terminator: Genisys…probably not. This is more than likely just a fun coincidence but I really love the idea that there’s potential for a Schwarzenegger multiverse, especially if you also buy into the Val Verde cinematic universe, which includes Die Hard 2 and Commando. But that’s a story for another episode. What do you think of this theory? Do you buy into it or is it just overly speculative silliness? Let me know in the comments below.

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