cyborgs and droids take a closer look at the biggest names in
cyborgs and droids
take a closer look at the biggest names in
14 Inside weâ€™ve assembled what we consider is possibly the greatest collection of robots, cyborgs and droids this galaxy has ever seen. Spanning over seventy years, and across multiple genres, there should be a sci-fi thrill for any die hard fan who has ever dreamed of controlling their own automaton to do the heavy lifting, or occasional blasting. While itâ€™s impossible to highlight every make and model ever imagined we hope to have at least featured some of the more influential comic book, movie and television creations and, in the process, highlighted the real stars from these productions. We like to thank all those creators with the imagination to design and build such wondrous, and sometimes frightening, robots, cyborgs, and droids. We are all in your debt.
Designed, compiled, edited, and published in 2014 by NCS. The publisher claims no copyright over any image or text which appears inside this publication. All images remain the property of their rightful owners. We would like to acknowledge our source material including Wikipedia, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, RKO Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Bad Robot, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Republic Studios, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, American Broadcasting Company, DreamWorks, Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, The Weinstein Company, Pinewood Studios, Lions Gate Entertainment, Focus Features, and Walt Disney Pictures.
R2D2 Star Wars R2-D2 (‘R2’ for short) is an astromech droid referred to in the novels as a ‘thermocapsulary dehousing assister’. R2-D2 is a major character in all the Star Wars films. Along with his protocol droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, set thirty-two years before A New Hope, R2-D2 is portrayed as belonging to the Naboo defence forces and is one of four astromech droids deployed for repair duty on Queen Padmé Amidala’s starship as it attempts to get past the Trade Federation blockade. The sole survivor of the four, R2-D2 becomes part of Qui-Gon Jinn’s party on Tatooine and meets C-3PO and Anakin Skywalker. Later still, he serves as the astromech droid for Anakin’s starfighter during the Battle of Naboo. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set ten years later, R2-D2 still serves Anakin and Obi-Wan. He accompanies Anakin and Padmé to Naboo, and then to Tatooine when Anakin tries to rescue his mother Shmi. Here, he is reunited with C-3PO, and the two get into various misadventures on Geonosis. He and C-3PO are later witnesses to Anakin and Padmé’s secret wedding. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 helps Anakin and Obi-Wan in their mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku’s capital ship, the Invisible Hand. He is attacked by battle droids, but defeats them through ingenious tactics. After the Galactic Empire is established at the end of the film, C-3PO’s memory is erased to keep the knowledge of the locations of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia a secret from their father, who has fallen to the dark side and become Darth Vader. However, R2-D2’s memory is not wiped. (As a result, R2-D2 is the only surviving character at the end of Return of the Jedi who knows the entire story of the Skywalker family). Both R2-D2 and C-3PO end up in the possession of Captain Raymus Antilles on board the Corellian corvette Tantive IV. In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, both R2-D2 and C-3PO are on board the Tantive IV, along with Princess Leia of Alderaan, when they are
fired upon by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Leia inserts in R2-D2 an information disc containing the plans for the Death Star battle station, along with encoding a distress message on the droid’s holographic projector. The droids then escape in a pod that crashes on Tatooine near Kenobi’s desert abode. R2-D2 and C-3PO are then abducted by Jawas and bought by Owen Lars, step-uncle of Luke Skywalker. While Luke cleans the sand out of R2-D2’s gears, he discovers a fragment of Leia’s message, and removes the droid’s restraining bolt to see more; once free of the bolt, R2 claims to have no knowledge of the message. That night, R2 leaves the farm to seek out Obi-Wan Kenobi. Soon, by way of fate, Luke is forced to leave Tatooine with Obi-Wan, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and they attempt to deliver R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance. Along the way, they are pulled in by the Death Star’s tractor beam, but eventually rescue Princess Leia and escape. R2-D2 delivers the plans to the Rebel Alliance, and serves as Luke’s astromech droid during the attack on the station. R2 is severely damaged during the battle, but is restored before the ceremony at the end of the film. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, R2-D2 accompanies Luke to Dagobah, and later to Cloud City, where he helps to rescue and repair a heavily damaged C-3PO and to override city security computers. He also manages to fix the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive, resulting in a lastminute escape from Imperial forces. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, R2-D2 plays a critical role in the rescue of Han, Luke and Leia from Jabba the Hutt, and later joins the Rebel strike team on Endor. He is badly damaged during the fight between the Imperial troops and the Rebels, but is repaired in time for the celebration marking the second Death Star’s destruction. rc&d
CENTURION Battlestar Galactica Cylons are a race of robots in the original Battlestar Galactica (1978) television series. They are the primary antagonists of the series and are at war with the Twelve Colonies of humanity. The Cylons also appeared in the short-lived 1980 spin-off series Galactica 1980. An updated version of the original Cylon also appeared briefly in a flashback battle sequence in Battlestar Galactica: Razor (2007), where a young William Adama engaged in hand-to-hand combat after having ejected from a crippled Viper. The Cylon had also ejected from his fighter, which had been destroyed by Adama.In the 1978 Galactica movie and series and the 1980 spin-off, the Cylons were created by an extinct reptilian race that were also called Cylons, as related by Apollo in the première episode. In the episode ‘War of the Gods’, Count Baltar mentions that the reptilian Cylons were eventually ‘overcome by their own technology’, and recognizes Iblis’s voice as that of the Cylon leader, and Iblis counters that if that was true it must have been ‘transcribed’ over a thousand yahren (years) ago. At the beginning of the series the Cylons are singularly devoted to the destruction of humanity. The war started when the Cylon Empire sought to expand into the territory of the Hasaris, and the Human Colonies intervened on behalf of the conquered Hasaris. Due to those events, the Cylon Empire now viewed the entire human race as a target. Led by the Imperious Leader, an IL-Series Cylon elevated to a supreme leadership position over all Cylons. All Cylons from the IL-series down, typically repeat the phrase ‘By Your Command’ when responding to any order. The Cylon Empire is also responsible for tributary powers under the aegis of the Cylon Alliance. The Ovions (an insectoid race enslaved by the Cylons and transported to the planet
Carillon for mining purposes) are the only known member of the Cylon Alliance shown onscreen. Aside from the Ovions and (the defeated) Hasaris, the only other known race conquered by the Cylons are the Delphians, which are mentioned to have been exterminated in ‘The Living Legend’. Cylon society appears to be almost exclusively military. Until the discovery of Gamoray, which the Colonial fleet had targeted for its rich fuel reserves, no civilian Cylon outpost had ever been seen by anyone. Basic Centurions make up the ground forces and pilots of the Alliance military. Although Earth’s Roman Centurions commanded a unit of eighty men, Cylon Centurions form the rank and file of the Cylon forces. Centurions are armed with a powerful energy weapon, often referred to as a blaster rifle. They also have bayonets and swords for close combat and the execution of prisoners. Some Centurions in the series have been given names: Flight Leader Serpentine from ‘Saga of a Star World’, Centuri from ‘The Night the Cylons Landed’ (Galactica 1980), and Cyrus from ‘The Return of Starbuck’ (also Galactica 1980). In the episode ‘The Lost Warrior’, there is a Cylon Centurion that remained active after its ship crashed on the planet Equellus and was named ‘Red Eye’ by the humans who found it. The Cylon Centurions - the type most often depicted in the original Battlestar Galactica - were strikingly similar to the Imperial stormtroopers of Star Wars (in fact, both were designed by the same concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie). The similarities were so strong that it was one of the factors that prompted 20th Century Fox’s lawsuit for copyright infringement against Universal Studios, owners of the Battlestar Galactica copyright. However, the lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful. Glen A. Larson, the creator and executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, said he had conceived of the Battlestar Galactica premise, which he originally called Adam’s Ark, during the late 1960s. Originally, the series incorporated many themes from Mormon theology, such as marriage for ‘time and eternity’, a ‘council of twelve’, and a planet called Kolob. However, he was unable to find financial backing for his TV series until Battlestar Galactica was finally produced in the wake of the success of the 1977 film Star Wars. rc&d
OPTIMUS PRIME Transformers Optimus Prime is a character from the Transformers franchise. Prime is the leader of the Autobots, a faction of transforming robots from the planet Cybertron. The Autobots are constantly waging war against a rival faction of transforming robots called Decepticons. He is depicted as a brave, powerful, wise and compassionate leader who puts his talent to use improving the universe around him. Optimus is portrayed as having a strong sense of justice and righteousness and has dedicated himself to the protection of all life, particularly the inhabitants of Earth. According to Bob Budiansky, co-writer of the Transformers series, Dennis O’Neil was responsible for his name. The character Optimus Prime appears in the live action Transformers films as the leader of the Autobots and one of the main protagonists. In these movies, Optimus Prime is able to transform into a conventional Peterbilt 379 cab, rather than the cab over design of his original Generation 1 body. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, he regains his first generation trailer. Also straying from the G1 design, Prime’s vehicle mode is now decorated with red flames painted onto a blue body à la Rodimus Prime, his Generation 1 successor. The reason for the change was due to Director Michael Bay’s decree that mass displacement does not occur when they transform, requiring Optimus’s vehicle form to have more mass to achieve the desired size in his robot form. Although the character was redesigned to some extent, like the other characters in the film, many classic design elements remain in his robot mode including a predominantly red torso, primarily blue legs, the presence of windows in his chest, smoke stacks on his shoulders, and a head design influenced by the original, featuring the iconic faceplate and ear finials. The faceplate is able to retract to reveal a mouth. His weapons include his iconic ion blaster stored in the form of the fuel tanks on his back, and a shell cannon stored on his back, two retractable energon blades that extend from both forearms, which is a homage to Prime’s energy axe in the Generation 1 animated series, two retractable energon hooks on both of his forearms, and bladed knuckles. The trailer contains an energy axe, a shield, and flight gear. In the later IDW comics, he displays the ability to produce a holographic driver.
The character of Optimus Prime first appears in Transformers as the leader of the Autobots in the search for the Allspark. After arriving and scanning a Peterbilt truck, Optimus greeted Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes, introducing his men and explaining why they had come to Earth. The film ends with Optimus sending out a deep-space signal, inviting other Autobots to join them on Earth. Optimus Prime’s character returns in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He leads the Autobots as part of NEST in seeking and destroying remaining Decepticons on Earth. After severely damaging Megatron, he kills The Fallen, forcing Megatron and Starscream to retreat. At the end of the film, he thanks Sam for reviving him and again transmits a message to space, hoping to find more Autobots. Optimus appears again in the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Optimus receives his own armoury consisting of weapons and flight tech that transforms into a trailer for him to carry in vehicular form. After assisting NEST operatives in fighting Shockwave at Chernobyl, Optimus learns that the humans have concealed the discovery of a Cybertronian ship on the moon. With the Decepticons defeated and the war finally over, Optimus and the Autobots accept Earth as their true home. Optimus Prime is set to return in the fourth instalment according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and with a Western Star semi-truck as a new alternate mode. Some recent reports revealed that Optimus Prime will be captured by Lockdown and will reactivate the Dinobots, and will later ride Grimlock into battle through Hong Kong. rc&d
T-800 The Terminator The Terminator (also known as the T-800, T-850 or Model 101) refers to a number of characters portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger – a cyborg, initially portrayed as a programmable assassin and military infiltration unit. The ‘Terminator’ character first appeared as the titular antagonist in The Terminator, a 1984 film directed and co-written by James Cameron, and its sequels. The first film in the series features only one cyborg: the one portrayed by Schwarzenegger, although a second Terminator played by Franco Columbu is shown in a future flashback scene. In the first two sequels, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is pitted against other Terminators; it appears briefly in the third sequel as a CGI model. In the sequels, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Schwarzenegger reprises the role, but with a twist: Schwarzenegger is the hero instead of the villain playing a different but visually identical Terminator in each of the three films. Within the Terminator universe created by Cameron, Terminators of the same ‘model’ share identical characteristics. In the production of the films, this has allowed multiple Terminators to be portrayed by Schwarzenegger (with varying model iterations accounting for Schwarzenegger’s physical aging as the series has progressed). In the context of the stories, this plot device provides a certain continuity for the human characters by exploiting their emotional familiarity with a particular ‘human’ visage. ‘The Terminator’ is the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the credits of the three Terminator movies. At different times, the character is given more specific designations such as model and series numbers, in efforts to distinguish Schwarzenegger’s character from other Terminators. The Terminator appears in Terminator Salvation. Schwarzenegger reprises the role via facial CGI (he was unable to appear in person as he was Governor of California at the time), while the character itself is physically portrayed by Roland Kickinger. The title has also been used as a generic name for other human-simulating characters in the ‘Terminator’ universe, notably the liquid metal shape-shifting T-1000 antagonist in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The original Terminator was sent to terminate a single target, Sarah Connor, in 1984, to prevent the birth of her son, John, the future leader of the
human resistance. It survives being caught in a truck exploding, though its flesh cover burns away and it is fully revealed as a machine. The Terminator was finally crushed in a hydraulic press by Sarah after a lengthy chase. However, its damaged main CPU and right arm were recovered by Cyberdyne. The remains of the first Terminator were used in Cyberdyne’s research to radically advance the company’s technology, paradoxically creating the technology entity Skynet. The CPU and arm are destroyed in a foundry at the end of Terminator 2, along with the reprogrammed 800 model, to prevent any further advancement of Skynet. The Terminator is a formidable robotic assassin and soldier, designed by the military supercomputer Skynet for infiltration and combat duty, towards the ultimate goal of exterminating the human resistance. It can speak naturally, copy the voices of others, read human handwriting, and even genuinely sweat, smell, and bleed. To detect the Terminators, who are otherwise indistinguishable from humans, the human resistance uses dogs to alert humans to their presence. The most notable science fiction characteristics are that of an expert system featuring strong AI functionality combined with machine learning, and the system can interpret arbitrary non-formalized tasks. The other notable science fiction component is that of a power source which can last 120 years. A trait persistent throughout the series is the faint red (or blue in the case of the T-X Terminatrix) glow of the ‘eyes’ when online, which dim to nothing when a Terminator shuts down. In all four movies, the lack of the glow has been used to show when one is out of action. rc&d
B-9 ROBOT Lost In Space The B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot was a character in the television series Lost in Space. Known and addressed simply as ‘Robot’, his full designation was only occasionally mentioned on the show. The Robot possessed powerful computers that allowed him to make complex calculations and to deduce many facts. He had a variety of sensors that detected numerous phenomena and dangers. He was programmed with extensive knowledge on many subjects, including how to operate the Jupiter 2 spaceship. His construction allowed him to function in extreme environments and in the vacuum of space. He was extremely strong, giving him utility both in performing difficult labour and in fighting when necessary. Moreover, his claws could fire laser beams and, most frequently, a powerful ‘electro-force’ that was similar to arcing electricity. In one first season episode, Dr. Smith was seen to remove the robot’s programming tapes, which resemble a small reel of magnetic tape, from a hatch below the robot’s chest panel. Although a machine endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics, such as laughter, sadness, and mockery, as well as singing and playing the guitar. The Robot was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was primarily dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series’ narrator and Jorge Arvizu for the Spanish dubbing. The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet. Robby appears in Lost in Space episode #20 ‘War of the Robots’ and in episode #60 ‘Condemned of Space’. The B-9 Robot did not appear in the unaired pilot episode, but was added to the series once it had been greenlit.
chest light that illuminated in synchrony with the Robot’s speech (May had a key inside the suit that he would tap in time with his speech to illuminate the light, resulting in some scenes where one of the claws can be seen moving in time with the light); bellows legs that were understood to move with some agility but which, due to real-world practical limitations, were rarely seen on camera to move separately; and trapezoidal tread-tractor units at the bottom of each leg. These normally paired as a single locomotive device, but they also could function as individual feet. The leg and tractor sections apparently could be readily detached, allowing the Robot to be positioned in the rear of the Chariot ATV, although the actual disconnect operation was depicted only once. rc&d
B-9 consisted, from top down, of a glass bubble sensor unit with moving antennae; a fluted, translucent ring collar (actually an arrangement of shaped ribs, through which performer Bob May could see); a cylindrical, rotating trunk section with extending bellows arms that terminated in red mechanical claws. The trunk section had controls, indicators, a removable power pack and a signature
ED-209 RoboCop The Enforcement Droid Series 209, or ED-209 (pronounced Ed-Two-O-Nine), is a robot in the RoboCop franchise. The ED-209 serves as a heavily armed obstacle and foil for the seriesâ€™ titular character, as well as a source of comic relief due to its lack of intelligence and tendency towards clumsy malfunctions.
For instance, during a boardroom demonstration by Dick Jones of ED-209’s ‘disarm and arrest’ procedure with a board executive named Kinney as the test subject, in which Kinney is given a pistol and told to point it at ED-209, ED-209 fails to recognize that Kinney has dropped his weapon and blasts him to death in over-the-top fashion with its automatic cannons. Later, it is shown that ED-209 cannot climb or descend stairs as it tumbles trying to chase RoboCop. The ED-209 was designed by Craig Davies, who also built the full-size models, and animated by Phil Tippett, a veteran stop-motion animator. Davies and Tippett would go on to collaborate on many more projects. As one of the set pieces of the
movie, the ED-209’s look and animated sequences were under the close supervision of director Paul Verhoeven, who sometimes acted out the robot’s movements himself. The ED-209 is featured in every RoboCop major motion picture, while it is missing from the series’ direct-to-video releases and the television series, although an OmniCorp ED with a different model number is present. In July 2012, a redesigned ED209 was revealed in the OmniCorp viral website for the 2014 remake RoboCop. The new ED-209 is slimmer in design and more heavily armed than the original version. rc&d
HAL 9000 2001: A Space Odyssey HAL 9000 is a character in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series. The primary antagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a sentient computer (or artificial intelligence) that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship’s astronaut crew. HAL’s physical form is not depicted, though it is visually represented as a red television camera eye located on equipment panels throughout the ship. HAL 9000 is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two film adaptations of the Space Odyssey series. HAL speaks in a soft, calm voice and a conversational manner, in contrast to the crewmen, David Bowman and Frank Poole, who speak tersely and with little emotional inflection. HAL became operational in Urbana, Illinois, at the HAL Plant (the University of Illinois’ Coordinated Science Laboratory, where the ILLIAC computers were built). The film says this occurred in 1992, while the book gives 1997 as HAL’s birth year. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL begins to malfunction in subtle ways and, as a result, the decision is made to shut down HAL in order to prevent more serious malfunctions. In the film, astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole consider disconnecting HAL’s cognitive circuits when he appears to be mistaken in reporting the presence of a fault in the spacecraft’s communications antenna. They attempt to conceal what they are saying, but are unaware that HAL can read their lips. Faced with the prospect of disconnection, HAL decides to kill the astronauts in order to protect and continue its programmed directives. HAL proceeds to kill Poole while he is repairing the ship. When Bowman goes to rescue Poole, HAL locks him out of the ship, then disconnects the life support systems of the other hibernating crew members, killing them in their sleep. Dave circumvents HAL’s control, entering the ship by manually opening an emergency airlock with his pod’s clamps, and ejecting himself out of the pod using the explosive bolts in its door. The novel explains that HAL is unable to resolve a conflict between his general mission to relay information accurately and orders specific to the mission requiring that he withhold from Bowman and Poole the true purpose of the mission. With the crew dead, he reasons, he would not need to lie to them. He fabricates the failure of the AE-35 unit so that their deaths would appear accidental. After Frank is killed while attempting to repair the communications antenna as his oxygen gets
disconnected and gets pushed out to deep space, Dave begins to revive his hibernating crewmates, but is foiled when HAL vents the ship’s atmosphere into the vacuum of space, killing the awakening crew members and almost killing Dave. Dave is only narrowly saved when he finds his way to an emergency chamber which has its own oxygen supply and a spare space suit inside. In both versions, Bowman then proceeds to shut down the machine. In the film, HAL’s central core is depicted as a crawlspace full of brightly lit computer modules mounted in arrays from which they can be inserted or removed. Bowman shuts down HAL by removing modules from service one by one; as he does so, HAL’s consciousness degrades. HAL regurgitates material that was programmed into him early in his memory, including announcing the date he became operational as 12 January 1992 (in the novel, it’s 1997). When HAL’s logic is completely gone, he begins singing the song ‘Daisy Bell’ (in actuality, the first song sung by a computer). HAL’s final act of any significance is to prematurely play a prerecorded message from Mission Control which reveals the true reasons for the mission to Jupiter. HAL also features in 2010: Odyssey Two, where he is restarted by his creator, Dr. Chandra, who arrives on the Soviet spaceship ‘Leonov’; 2061: Odyssey Three, when Heywood Floyd encounters HAL, now stored alongside Dave Bowman in the Europa monolith; and 3001: The Final Odyssey when Frank Poole is introduced to the merged form of Dave Bowman and HAL, who merged into an entity called ‘Halman’ after Bowman rescued HAL from the dying ‘Discovery One’ spaceship towards the end of 2010: Odyssey Two. rc&d
CYBERMEN Doctor Who The Cybermen are a race of cyborgs who are among the most persistent enemies of the Doctor in the British science fiction television programme, Doctor Who. Cybermen were originally a wholly organic species of humanoids originating on Earth’s twin planet Mondas that began to implant more and more artificial parts into their bodies as a means of selfpreservation. This led to the race becoming coldly logical and calculating, with every emotion deleted from their minds. They were created by Dr. Kit Pedler (the unofficial scientific advisor to the show) and Gerry Davis in 1966, first appearing in the serial ‘The Tenth Planet’, the last to feature William Hartnell as the First Doctor. They have since been featured numerous times in their extreme attempts to survive through conquest up until the show was cancelled. Following the revival of the show, the Cybermen returned as a parallel universe version and appeared in the 2006 series’ two-part story, ‘Rise of the Cybermen’ and ‘The Age of Steel’, and have been recurring villains in the revived series since. A further redesign took place in the 2013 episode ‘Nightmare in Silver’, showing technologically advanced Cybermen able to instantly upgrade themselves to fix flaws and weaknesses. They also appeared in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood in its fourth episode, ‘Cyberwoman’ (2006). Cybermen technology is almost completely oriented towards weaponry, apart from their own bodies. When originally seen in ‘The Tenth Planet’, they had large energy weapons that attached to their chests. In ‘The Moonbase’, the Cybermen had two types of weaponry: an electrical discharge from their hands, which stunned the target, and a type of gun. They also made use of a large laser cannon with which they attempted to attack the base itself. The hand discharge was also present in ‘The Tomb’ of the Cybermen, which featured a smaller, handheld Cyber-weapon shaped like a pistol that was described as an X-ray laser. In ‘The Wheel in Space’, the Cybermen could use the discharge to also operate machinery, and had death rays built into their chest units. They displayed the same units in ‘The Invasion’ as well as carrying large rifles for medium distance combat. In ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’
and ‘Real Time’, their weapons were built into their helmets. ‘Killing Ground’ indicates that this type of Cybermen also have more powerful hand weapons. Subsequent appearances have shown them armed almost exclusively with hand-held cyberguns. The Cybermen have access to weapons of mass destruction known as cobalt bombs, also sometimes as Cyber-bombs, which were banned by the galactic Armageddon Convention (‘Revenge of the Cybermen’). A ‘Cyber-megatron bomb’ was mentioned in ‘The Invasion’, supposedly powerful enough to destroy all life on Earth. In ‘Earthshock’, the Cybermen also used android drones as part of their plans to invade Earth. The revived programme Cybermen electrocute their victims by touching them and at first carried no other weaponry. In ‘Army of Ghosts’ and ‘Doomsday’, the Cybermen are equipped with retractable energy weapons housed within their forearms (these were actually first shown in ‘The Age of Steel’, but only very briefly and were not used during that episode), but also use advanced human weapons to battle the Daleks. The arm mounted guns prove effective against humans but are unable to penetrate Dalek shields. Two Cybermen sent to parley with Dalek Thay at the Battle of Canary Wharf shot the Dalek but were promptly exterminated. In the Torchwood episode ‘Cyberwoman’, the partially converted Lisa Hallett used her electrical touch against the Torchwood team, as well as an energy beam fired from her arm which could only stun the part of the body at which it was aimed. In ‘The Pandorica Opens’, the Cybermen again have the wrist-blaster, but also regain the modified human weapons. In ‘Nightmare in Silver’, the Cybermen have the ability to move at a warp-like speed. At this speed they appear as blurry after images. rc&d
ROBBY THE ROBOT Forbidden Planet Robby the Robot is a robot and science fiction icon who first appeared in the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. He made a number of subsequent appearances in science fiction movies and television programs, usually without specific reference to the original film character. Robby the Robot is a 7-foot (2.1m) tall robot whose ‘mouth’ is a monochromatic blue light organ, synchronized to his synthetic voice, its band of curved tubes located directly below his transparent conical ‘face’ dome. He walks on mechanical legs. The illusion of a robot was created by a suit operated by Frankie Darro from inside; his voice was provided by actor Marvin Miller. The suit was created by MGM’s prop department; the initial design was sketched by Arnold ‘Buddy’ Gillespie, refined by production illustrator Mentor Huebner, and then turned into reality under the direction of mechanical designer Robert Kinoshita. Forbidden Planet is about a starship crew from Earth who land their spacecraft on the planet Altair IV, ruled by the mysterious Dr. Morbius. Robby is a mechanical servant that Morbius has designed and programmed using knowledge gleaned from his study of the Krell, a long extinct race of highly intelligent beings that once populated Altair IV. The plot has been compared to William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest (1610), with Altair IV standing in for Shakespeare’s remote island and Dr. Morbius for Prospero. In this context, Robby is equatable with Ariel, a spirit enslaved by Prospero in the play. Robby exhibits artificial intelligence, but with a distinct personality that shows a (possibly unintentional) dry wit. He is instructed by Morbius to be helpful to the Earth starship crew and does so by synthesizing and transporting to their landing site almost 10 tons of ‘isotope 217’ a lighter-weight though effective replacement for the requested lead shielding needed by its crew. Morbius programmed Robby to obey Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics as expressed in I, Robot (1950). One of the laws is a rule against killing humans; this becomes important near the end of the film when Robby refuses to kill the ‘Id monster’ when
he recognizes that the invisible creature is an alter ego/extension of Dr. Morbius. The film’s poster misleadingly depicts a fierce character abducting a maiden, but no such scene is in the film; Robby only carries one person, crewman Dr. Ostro, when he is mortally wounded. The robot quickly became a science fiction icon in the decades that followed and the suit from Forbidden Planet was reused or recreated in multiple TV shows, in particular, two now-classic episodes from Lost In Space, episode #20 ‘War of the Robots’ and episode #60 ‘Condemned of Space’. Robby featured in The Invisible Boy (1957) and made several further appearances in other movies and TV shows over the next few decades, including episodes of The Thin Man, Columbo and The Addams Family. While Robby’s appearance was generally consistent, there were exceptions, such as the Twilight Zone episode ‘Uncle Simon’ (1962), in which he was given a slightly more human ‘face’. At other times, Robby usually retained the working gears inside his transparent dome, although the details of his ‘brain’ and chest panel were sometimes altered; in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Robby’s head dome was used as part of a regeneration machine. The Robby suit also appeared in the Mork & Mindy second season episode ‘Dr. Morkenstein’; this time representing a character called Chuck, whom Mork befriends while working as a security guard in the science museum where he is on display; Chuck was voiced by Roddy McDowall. Robby made few appearances after the 1970s, but there is a cameo appearance in Gremlins (1984), where he can be seen standing in the background and speaking some of his trademark lines; he was also featured in a 2006 commercial for AT&T. In 2004 Robby the Robot was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. rc&d
ASTRO BOY Astro Boy is a Japanese manga series first published in 1952. The story follows the adventures of a robot named Astro Boy and a selection of other characters along the way. Astro Boy was adapted into the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime. It was created by Osamu Tezuka, referred to as the ‘God of Manga’ in Japan. After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as Shin Tetsuwan Atomu, known as Astroboy in other countries, and again in 2003. In November 2007, he was named Japan’s envoy for overseas safety. An American computer-animated 3-D film based on the original manga series by Tezuka was released on October 23, 2009. Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world where Robots co-exist with humans. Its focus is on the adventures of the titular Astro Boy (sometimes called simply ‘Astro’): a powerful robot created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident. Dr. Tenma built Astro in Tobio’s memory and treated him as lovingly as if he was the real Tobio, but soon realized that the little robot could not fill the void of his lost son, especially given that Astro could not grow older or express human aesthetics (in one set of panels in the manga, Astro is shown preferring the mechanical shapes of cubes over the organic shapes of flowers). In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejected Astro and sold him to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg. After some time, Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science, noticed Astro Boy performing in the circus and convinced Hamegg to turn Astro over to him. He then took Astro as his own and treated him gently and warmly, becoming his legal guardian. He soon realized that Astro was gifted with superior powers and skills, as well as the ability to experience human emotions. Astro then is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice. Most of his enemies were robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders. Almost every story included a battle involving Astro and other robots. Once, Astro actually took on the US Air Force, stopping it from bombing some peaceful innocent Vietnamese villagers (this was a time-travel episode, in which Astro went back from the 21st century to 1969). The Astro Boy series consists of several story lines. Frederik L. Schodt, wrote the English adaptation
of the series, and said that as Tezuka’s art style advanced, Astro Boy ‘became more modern and cute’ to appeal to the audience of boys in elementary school. Schodt added that the page layouts used in Astro Boy episodes ‘became more creative’. When designing supporting characters, Tezuka sometimes created homages of Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, and other American animators. In several of the Astro Boy stories, the first few pages were in color. Tezuka had a ‘Star System’ of characters where different characters appeared. Several characters in Astro Boy appear in his other works. Tezuka developed ‘a type of dialog with his readers’ since he developed so many stories during his lifetime. Tezuka also had a habit of introducing nonsensical characters at random moments in order to lighten a scene which is becoming too serious; he sometimes felt trapped by the need to satisfy the young male audience’s desire to see battling robots. Astro Boy was described by Schodt as an ‘analog’, a world where man and advanced technology coexist and the plots involve the issues stemming from this fact. At that time, 1950s Japan did not have the reputation for science and technology that it had gained by the end of the century. A computer-animated feature film version was released in October 2009 from Imagi Animation Studios. The English dub features the voices of Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy and Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma. IDW Publishing released a comic book adaptation of the movie to coincide with the film’s release; both as a four-part mini-series and as a graphic novel. A live-action film has been rumored with Universal, but has not been confirmed. rc&d
GUNSLINGER Westworld Westworld is a 1973 science fiction-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III. It stars Yul Brynner as the android ‘Gunslinger’ in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park. Westworld was the last movie MGM produced before dissolving its releasing company, and was the first theatrical feature directed by Crichton. The film was nominated for Hugo, Nebula and Golden Scroll (a.k.a. Saturn) awards, and was followed by a sequel film, Futureworld, and a short-lived television series, Beyond Westworld. Westworld was the first feature film to use digital image processing. John Whitney, Jr. digitally processed motion picture photography at Information International, Inc. to appear pixelized in order to portray the Gunslinger android’s point of view. The approximately two minutes and thirtyone seconds worth of cinegraphic block portraiture was accomplished by color-separating, three basic color separations plus black mask), each frame of source 70mm film images, scanning each of these elements to convert into rectangular blocks, then adding basic color according to the tone values developed. The resulting coarse pixel matrix was output back to film. The process was covered in the American Cinematographer article ‘Behind the scenes of Westworld’ and in a 2013 New Yorker online article. The Gunslinger’s appearance was based on Chris Adams, Yule Brynner’s character from The Magnificent Seven. The two characters’ costumes are nearly identical. Sometime in the near future a high-tech, highlyrealistic adult amusement park called Delos features three themed ‘worlds’ - West World (the American Old West), Medieval World (medieval Europe), and Roman World (pre-Christian Rome). The resort’s three ‘worlds’ are populated with lifelike androids that are practically indistinguishable from human beings, each programmed in character for their assigned historical environment. For $1,000 per day, guests may indulge in any adventure with the android population of the park, including sexual encounters and even a fight to the death, depending on the android model. Delos’ tagline in its advertising promises ‘Have we got a vacation for you!’ Peter Martin, a first-timer, and his friend John Blane, who has visited previously, visit West World. One of the attractions is the Gunslinger, a robot programmed to instigate gunfights. The firearms
issued to the park guests have temperature sensors that prevent them from shooting humans or anything else living, but allow them to ‘kill’ the ‘cold blooded’ androids. The Gunslinger’s programming allows guests to outdraw it and ‘kill’ it, always returning the next day for a new duel. The technicians running Delos notice problems beginning to spread like an infection among the androids: the robots in Roman World and Medieval World begin experiencing an increasing number of breakdowns and systemic failures, which are said to have spread to West World. When one technician scoffs at the ‘analogy of an infectious disease’, he is told by a resort scientist, ‘We aren’t dealing with ordinary machines here. These are highly complicated pieces of equipment, almost as complicated as living organisms. In some cases, they’ve been designed by other computers. We don’t know exactly how they work’. The malfunctions become less peripheral and more central while the resort’s supervisors, in increasing desperation, try to regain control by shutting down power to the entire park. This traps them in the control rooms, unable to turn the power back on while the robots run amok on reserve power. When the Gunslinger challenges the two men to a showdown, Blane treats the confrontation as a typical amusement until the robot shoots and kills him. Martin runs for his life as the robot implacably follows. Martin flees to the other areas of the park, but finds only dead guests, damaged robots and a panicked technician, who is shortly shot. The Gunslinger stalks Martin through the underground corridors. Ambushing it, Martin throws acid into its face and sets fire to it with a torch. The burned hulk of the Gunslinger attacks him one last time before succumbing to its damage. rc&d
DATA Star Trek: The Next Generation Lieutenant Commander Data is a character from the Star Trek universe portrayed by actor Brent Spiner. He appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis. Designed and built by Doctor Noonien Soong, Data is a self-aware, sentient, and fully functional android who serves as the second officer and chief operations officer aboard the starships USS Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E. His positronic brain allows him impressive computational capabilities. Data experienced ongoing difficulties during the early years of his life with understanding various aspects of human behavior and was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human idiosyncrasies, inspiring him to strive for his own humanity. This goal eventually led to the addition of an ‘emotion chip’, also created by Soong, to Data’s positronic net. Though Data’s striving for humanity and desire for human emotion is a significant plot point (and source for humour) throughout the series, he continually shows a nuanced sense of wisdom, sensitivity, and curiosity. Data is in many ways a successor to the original Star Trek’s Spock, in that the character offers an ‘outsider’s’ perspective on humanity. Data is immune to nearly all biological diseases and other weaknesses that can affect humans and other carbon-based lifeforms. This benefits the Enterprise many times, such as when Data is the only crew member unaffected by the inability to dream and the only member to be unaffected by the stun ray that knocked the crew out for a day. One exception however was in the episode ‘The Naked Now’ where Data was also a victim of the Tsiolkovsky polywater virus. Data does not require life support to function and does not register a bio-signature. The crew of the Enterprise-D must modify their scanners to detect positronic signals in order to locate and keep track of him on away-missions.
Another unique feature of Data’s construction is the ability to be dismantled and then re-assembled for later use. This is used as a plot element in the episode ‘Time’s Arrow’ where Data’s head, an artifact excavated on Earth from the late 19th century, is reattached to his body after nearly 500 years. Another example is in the episode ‘Disaster’ where Data intentionally damages his body to break a highcurrent electrical arc, and then Riker taking his head to engineering to solve an engine problem. Data is vulnerable to technological hazards such as computer viruses, certain levels of energy discharges, ship malfunctions (when connected to the Enterprise main computer for experiments), remote control shutdown devices, or through use of his ‘off switch’ located in-between his shoulder blades. Data has also been ‘possessed’ through technological means such as: Ira Graves’ transfer of consciousness into his neural net, Dr. Soong’s ‘calling’ him, and an alien library that placed several different personalities into him. Data cannot swim unless aided by his built in flotation device, yet he is waterproof and can perform tasks underwater without the need to surface. Data is also impervious to sensory tactile emotion such as pain or pleasure. In Star Trek: First Contact the Borg Queen grafted artificial skin to his forearm. Data was then able to feel pain when a Borg drone slashed at his arm, and pleasure when the Borg Queen blew on the skin’s hair follicles. Despite being mechanical in nature, Data is treated as an equal member of the Enterprise crew. Being a mechanical construct, technicians such as Chief Engineer LaForge prove to be more appropriate
to treat his mechanical or cognitive function failures than the ship’s doctor. His positronic brain becomes deactivated, and then repaired and reactivated by Geordi on several occasions. Data is physically the strongest member of the Enterprise crew and also is, in ability to process and calculate information rapidly, the most intelligent member. He is able to survive in atmospheres that most carbon-based life forms would consider inhospitable, including the lack of an atmosphere or the vacuum of space; however, as an android, he is the most emotionally challenged and, with the addition of Dr. Soong’s emotions chip, the most emotionally unstable member of the crew. Before the emotions chip, Data was unable to grasp basic emotion and imagination, leading him to download personality subroutines into his programming when participating in holographic recreational activities (most notably during Dixon Hill and Sherlock Holmes holoprograms) and during romantic encounters (most notably with Tasha Yar and Jenna D’Sora). Yet none of those personalities are his own and are immediately put away at the conclusion of their usefulness. The abilities of Data’s hearing are explained in the episodes ‘The Schizoid Man’ and ‘A Matter of Time’ where his hearing is more sensitive than a dog’s and that he can identify several hundred different distinct sound patterns simultaneously, but for aesthetics purposes limits it to about ten. Throughout the series, Data develops a frequently humorous affinity for theatrical acting and singing. This is most definitively demonstrated in Star Trek: Insurrection where Picard and Worf distract an erratically behaving Data by singing two parts of A British Tar, compelling Data to sing the third part. Because of Julianna Soong’s inability to conceive children, Data has at least five robotic siblings (two of which are Lore and B-4). Later on, his ‘mother’ is revealed also to be his positronic sister as the real Julianna Soong died and was replaced with an identical Soong Type android, the most advanced one that Dr. Soong was known to have built. Data constructed a daughter, which he named ‘Lal’ in the episode ‘The Offspring’. This particular android exceeded her father in basic human emotion when she felt fear toward Starfleet’s scientific interests in her. Eventually, this was the cause of a cascade failure in her neural net and she died as a result. Data himself was terminated when he gave his life to save Picard and the Enterprise E by destroying Praetor Shinzon’s Scimitar in Star Trek: Nemesis. rc&d
HUEY, LOUIE & DEWEY Silent Running Silent Running is a 1972 environmentally themed American science fiction film starring Bruce Dern, featuring Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin and Jesse Vint. It was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had previously worked as a special effects supervisor on science fiction films, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Andromeda Strain. The film depicts a future in which all plant life on Earth has been made extinct. Only a few specimens have been preserved in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of American Airlines space freighters, currently just outside the orbit of Saturn. Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern), one of four crewmen aboard the Valley Forge, is the resident botanist and ecologist who carefully preserves a variety of plants for their eventual return to Earth and the reforestation of the planet. Lowell spends most of his time in the domes, both cultivating the crops and attending to the animal life. Orders come from Earth to jettison and destroy the domes (with nuclear charges) and return the freighters to commercial service. After four of the six domes are jettisoned and blown up Lowell rebels and opts instead to save the plants and animals on his ship. Lowell kills one of his crew-mates who arrives to plant explosives in his favorite dome, with his right knee seriously injured in the process. He traps the remaining two crewmen in the other dome, just as it is jettisoned and destroyed. Enlisting the aid of the shipâ€™s three service robots, called drones, Lowell stages a fake premature explosion as a ruse and sends the Valley Forge careening towards Saturn in an attempt to hijack
the ship and flee with the last forest dome. He then reprograms the drones to perform surgery on his leg and sets the Valley Forge on a risky course through Saturnâ€™s rings. Later, as the ship endures the rough passage, drone three (later nicknamed Louie) is lost, but the ship and its remaining dome emerge relatively undamaged on the other side of the rings. Lowell and the surviving drones which he nicknames Huey, drone two, and Dewey, drone one (after the Walt Disney characters), set out into deep space to maintain the forest. Lowell also reprograms Huey and Dewey to plant trees and play poker. Huey is damaged when Lowell accidentally collides with him while driving a buggy recklessly,
and Dewey sentimentally refuses to leave Huey’s side during the repairs. As time passes Lowell is horrified when he discovers that his bio-dome is dying, but is unable to come up with a solution to the problem. When the Berkshire eventually reestablishes contact, he knows that his crimes will soon be discovered. It is then that he realizes a lack of light has restricted plant growth, and he races to install lamps to correct this situation. In an effort to save the last forest before the Berkshire arrives, Lowell jettisons the dome to safety. He then detonates nuclear charges, destroying the Valley Forge. The final scene is of the now welllit forest greenhouse drifting into deep space, with Dewey tenderly caring for it, holding a battered old watering can.
The three drones were played by four bilateral amputees, an idea inspired by Johnny Eck, a sideshow performer of the early 20th century who had been born without lower limbs. The 20-pound (9kg) drone suits were custom-tailored for the different actors. The suits are in Douglas Trumbull’s personal collection. The movie’s sound effects, including the drones, were created by uncredited composer Joseph Byrd. They were generated on a modified ARP 2600 synthesizer with added Oberheim Expander Modules. Silent Running had a significant impact on a number of young film-makers including WALL•E director Andrew Stanton who said he was influenced by this film, as was Duncan Jones in making his feature debut, Moon. rc&d
GORT The Day The Earth Stood Still Gort is a humanoid robot in the 1951 American science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still and its 2008 remake. In the original short story ‘Farewell to the Master’, on which the two films are based, the character was called Gnut. The eight-foot metal robot accompanies Klaatu, a visitor to Earth from a distant planet, aboard a flying saucer. He does not speak, but uses a beam weapon projected from beneath a visor to vaporize weapons and obstacles. Klaatu describes him as being part of an interstellar police force. He announces that the people of the universe constructed numerous robots like Gort and gave them irrevocable powers to respond to violent actions in order to ‘preserve the peace’. He goes on to say that ‘There’s no limit to what Gort could do. He could destroy the Earth’. The character was based loosely on Gnut, a large green robot from outer space in ‘Farewell to the Master’, a 1940 short story by Harry Bates which was used as the basis for Edmund H. North’s screenplay. In the story, Gnut is believed to be the servant of his humanoid companion, but reveals himself, at the end, to have been the master. On screen Gort is a large ‘seamless’ robot that appears to be constructed from a single piece of ‘flexible metal’. He was portrayed by 7’ 7” (231cm) tall actor Lock Martin wearing a thick foam-rubber suit designed and built by Addison Hehr. Two suits were created, fastened alternately from the front or back so that the robot could appear seamless depending on the camera angle. Another fibreglass statue of Gort was used for close-ups of him firing his beam weapon or when the scene did not call for him to move. In order to maximize the height of the robot, the costume was made with lifts in the boots and was designed so that the figure’s helmet stands nearly a foot above the top of Martin’s head. Prisms were employed so that Martin could see through the costume’s visor and air holes were provided under the robot’s chin. During most of the film, Gort remains motionless in front of the saucer, which rests on the National Mall
in central Washington D. C. while scientists and military researchers examine him. At one point Klaatu communicates with him using signals from a flashlight. He also responds to spoken commands, including the famous line ‘Gort ... Klaatu barada nikto’, spoken by Patricia Neal’s character toward the end of the film. In the 2008 remake Gort is an all-CGI effect. Like the earlier version, he does not speak and shoots deadly beams from his single eye. He is significantly taller in this version, about twenty-eight feet. The name is only used once and is not his original alien name but an acronym for ‘Genetically Organized Robotic Technology’ assigned to the robot while it is being studied by the military and scientists. In this rendition, GORT is composed of a vast swarm of ‘nanomachines’ or ‘nano bugs’, microscopic insect-like devices that self-replicate through the consumption of matter and energy (the swarm of nano bugs grow in size when fired upon by rockets), and are capable of disintegrating any object or substance they touch. When the need arises, GORT can transform from a solid humanoid form to a huge cloud, which then swarms around targets and devours them. In addition to this mode of attack, GORT still possesses his trademark eye-beam to destroy obstacles, and to also manipulate attacking fighter drones by hacking into their electronic systems via projected beams. He is neutralized by Klaatu at the end of the film to save humanity with a massive EMP that also shuts down all of humanity’s electrical technology. Unlike the 1951 version, the newer GORT robot has five digits on each hand, instead of the mitten-style hands. His feet, however, have no digits. Features such as the cuffs, belt, visor, and boots are gone and this version of GORT has a more simplistic surface design, though this appears to ‘move’ in close-up due to his composition. rc&d
WALL•E WALL•E is a 2008 American CGI science-fiction romantic comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Andrew Stanton. The story follows a robot named WALL-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future. He falls in love with another robot named EVE, who also has a programmed task, and follows her into outer space on an adventure that changes the destiny of both his kind and humanity. Both robots exhibit an appearance of free will and emotions similar to humans, which develop further as the film progresses. WALL•E was met with critical acclaim, scoring an approval rating of 96% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed $521.3 million worldwide, won the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, the final Nebula Award for Best Script, the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film, and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as being nominated for five other Academy Awards at the 81st Academy Awards. WALL•E ranks first in TIME magazine’s ‘Best Movies of the Decade’. The film is seen as a critique on larger societal issues. It addresses consumerism, nostalgia, environmental problems, waste management, the immense impact humans have on the Earth, and the direction in which the human race is headed. In 2815, Earth is covered in garbage due to decades of mass consumerism facilitated by the megacorporation Buy ‘n’ Large (BnL). In 2105, BnL evacuates Earth’s population in fully automated starliners, leaving behind WALL•E trash compactor robots to clean the planet. Eventually BnL abandons its plan and shuts down the WALL•E robots, except for one which develops sentience after 700 years of life-experience. He manages to remain active by repairing himself using parts from other units. Apart from his regular duties, he inquisitively collects artefacts of human civilization and keeps them in his home, a storage truck. One day WALL•E discovers a growing seedling. Later, a spaceship lands and deploys EVE, an advanced robot probe sent from the BnL starliner Axiom to search for vegetation on Earth. WALL•E falls in love with the initially cold and hostile EVE, who gradually softens and befriends him. When WALL•E brings EVE to his truck and shows her his collection, she sees the plant, automatically stores it inside herself, and goes into standby mode waiting for her ship to retrieve her.
WALL•E, not understanding why EVE seems to have shut down, tries numerous methods to reactivate her, to no avail. When EVE’s automated ship returns and collects EVE, WALL•E clings to its hull and thus travels through space back to the Axiom where the descendants of the ship’s original passengers have become morbidly obese after centuries of relying on the ship’s automated systems for their every need. The ship’s 6th captain, McCrea, leaves most of the ship’s operations under the control of its robotic autopilot, Auto. WALL•E follows EVE to the bridge of the Axiom, where the Captain learns that by putting the plant in the ship’s holo-detector to verify Earth’s habitability, the Axiom will make a hyperjump back to Earth so the passengers can recolonize it. However, Auto orders McCrea’s robotic assistant GO-4 to steal the plant as part of his own no return directive, which was issued to all BnL autopilots after the corporation incorrectly concluded in 2110 that the planet could not be saved. With the plant missing, EVE is considered defective and taken to the repair ward along with WALL•E (for cleaning). WALL•E mistakes the process on EVE for torture and tries to save her, accidentally releasing a horde of malfunctioning robots. The on-board security systems then designate both WALL•E and EVE as ‘rogue robots’. Angry with WALL•E’s disruptions, EVE brings him to the escape pod bay to send him home. There they witness GO-4 dispose of the missing plant by placing it inside a pod which is set to ‘self-destruct mode’. After directing Finding Nemo, Stanton felt Pixar had created believable simulations of underwater physics and was willing to direct a film set largely in space. Most of the characters do not have actual human voices, but instead communicate with body language and robotic sounds, designed by Ben Burtt, that resemble voices. It is also Pixar’s first animated feature with segments featuring live-action characters. rc&d
GIPSY DANGER Pacific Rim Pacific Rim is a 2013 American science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by del Toro and Travis Beacham, and starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, and Ron Perlman. The film is set in the 2020s, when Earth is at war with the Kaijus, colossal monsters which have emerged from an interdimensional portal on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers: gigantic humanoid mecha, each controlled by two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge. Focusing on the war’s later days, the story follows Raleigh Becket, a washed-up Jaeger pilot called out of retirement and teamed with rookie pilot Mako Mori as part of a last-ditch effort to defeat the Kaijus. In 2013, human cities come under attack by the Kaijus: colossal beasts who come through an interdimensional portal on the Pacific Ocean floor. To combat them, the Pacific Rim nations build the Jaegers: equally colossal humanoid war machines. Each Jaeger is piloted by two people whose brains are linked to share the overwhelming mental load of operating the machine. The Jaegers are initially effective, but many are destroyed as the Kaijus grow more powerful and their attacks more frequent. Pentecost approaches retired pilot Raleigh Becket and convinces him to return and pilot Gipsy Danger, the Jaeger he and his brother Yancy once piloted. During a mission off the coast of Alaska in 2020, Yancy was killed by a Kaiju while connected to his brother. Raleigh demands to be partnered with Mako Mori, the director of the Jaeger refurbishment project. During the duo’s initial test run, Mako becomes engrossed in a childhood memory of the Kaiju attack which orphaned her, and nearly discharges Gipsy Danger’s weapons in the hangar; Pentecost deems her unready for combat. Later, the other Jaegers are tasked with fending off a double Kaiju attack in Hong Kong. When the Kaijus destroy two Jaegers and disable Striker Eureka, Pentecost sends out Raleigh and Mako to take a last stand with Gipsy Danger. Newton Geiszler, a scientist, assembles a device that allows him to establish a mental link with a Kaiju brain fragment. He discovers that the Kaijus are not wild beasts but living weapons sharing a hive mind and fighting at the behest of a race of alien colonists. Under Pentecost’s instruction, Geiszler seeks out Hannibal Chau, a major figure in the trafficking of Kaiju parts, and attempts to procure an intact Kaiju brain to repeat the experiment. After Gipsy Danger
kills both Kaijus, Chau’s crew move in to harvest parts, but discover one Kaiju to be pregnant. Geiszler links with the newborn Kaiju’s brain, and learns that the reason all previous attempts to infiltrate and destroy the portal have failed is that the portal only opens for Kaiju DNA. The two remaining Jaegers commence the plan to destroy the portal with Striker Eureka carrying the bomb, escorted by Raleigh and Mako in Gipsy Danger. They find the portal guarded by three Kaijus. The ensuing battle renders Striker Eureka unable to deliver the bomb. Pentecost instructs Raleigh to use Gipsy Danger’s nuclear reactor core as an improvised bomb; he and Chuck sacrifice themselves, detonating the original bomb in an effort to clear a path. Considering Geiszler’s discovery, Raleigh and Mako seize the final Kaiju with Gipsy Danger and use it to enter the portal. As Gipsy Danger descends into the alien dimension, Raleigh initiates the core’s overload sequence and ejects himself. Gipsy Danger’s core detonates, destroying the portal. Mako and Raleigh’s escape pods surface safely in the Pacific. Del Toro envisioned Pacific Rim as an earnest, colorful adventure story, with an ‘incredibly airy and light feel’. The director focused on ‘big, beautiful, sophisticated visuals’ and action that would satisfy an adult audience, but has stated his ‘real hope’ is to introduce the kaiju and mecha genres to a generation of children. Del Toro intended to create something original but ‘madly in love’ with its influences, instilled with ‘epic beauty’ and ‘operatic grandeur’. The end credits dedicate the film to Ray Harryhausen and Ishir Honda, who established the giant monster genre with films such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Godzilla. rc&d
KRYTEN Red Dwarf Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise primarily comprises ten series, including a ninth mini-series named ‘Back To Earth’, of a television science fiction sitcom that began in 1988 and has gained an enormous cult following. The series was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, who also wrote the first six series. In addition to the television episodes, there are four bestselling novels, two pilot episodes for an American version of the show, a radio version produced for BBC Radio, tie-in books, magazines and other merchandise. Despite the pastiche of science fiction used as a backdrop, Red Dwarf is primarily a character-driven comedy, with off-the-wall, often scatological science fiction elements used as complementary plot devices. In the early episodes, a recurring source of comedy was the ‘Odd Couple’ style relationship between the two central characters of the show, who have an intense dislike for each other and are trapped together deep in space. The main characters are Dave Lister, the last known human alive, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of Lister’s dead bunkmate. The other regular characters are Cat, a lifeform which evolved from the descendants of Lister’s pregnant pet cat Frankenstein; Holly, Red Dwarf’s computer; and Kryten, a service mechanoid. Kryten, full name Kryten 2X4B-523P (played by Robert Llewellyn from series III onwards, and as a one-off appearance in series II by David Ross), was rescued by the crew from the crashed spaceship Nova 5 in series II, upon which he had continued to serve the ship’s crew despite their having been dead for thousands or even millions of years. Kryten is a service mechanoid and when first encountered by the crew, he was bound by his “behavioural protocols”, but Lister gradually encouraged him to break his programming and think for himself. His change in appearance between the two actors is explained-away by an accident involving Lister’s spacebike and Lister having to repair him. Red Dwarf was founded on the standard sitcom focus of a disparate and frequently dysfunctional group of individuals living together in a restricted setting. With the main characters routinely displaying their cowardice, incompetence and laziness, while exchanging insulting and sarcastic dialogue, the series provided a humorous antidote to the fearless and morally upright space explorers typically found in science fiction shows, with the main characters acting bravely only when there was no other possible alternative. The increasing science fiction elements of the series were treated seriously by Grant and Naylor. Satire, parody and drama were alternately woven into the episodes, referencing other television shows, films and books. These have included references to the likes
of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), RoboCop (1987), Star Wars (1977), and The Terminator (1984). The writers based the whole theme of some episodes on the plots of feature films. The series III episode ‘Polymorph’ references and parodies key moments from Alien (1979); series IV’s ‘Camille’ echoes key scenes from Casablanca (1942); ‘Meltdown’ borrows the main plot from Westworld, (1973); and ‘Back to Earth’ was partially inspired by Blade Runner (1982). The series’ themes are not limited to films or television, having also incorporated historical events and figures. Religion also plays a part in the series, as a significant factor in the ultimate fate of the Cat race, and the perception of Lister as their ‘God’, and of the crew meeting a man they believe to be Jesus Christ in ‘Lemons’. The series explores many science fiction staples such as time-travel paradoxes, the question of determinism and free will, the pursuit of happiness in virtual reality and, crucially to the show’s premise of Lister being the last human, the near certainty of the human species’ extinction some time in the far future. Aliens do not feature in the series as Rob Grant and Doug Naylor decided very early in the process that they did not want aliens in the show. However, there are non-human life forms such as evolutions of Earth species (e.g. the Cat race), robotic or holo-life forms created by humans, and a ‘Genetically Engineered Life Form’ (GELF), an artificially created creature. rc&d
THE IRON GIANT The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction film using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The film was directed by Brad Bird, scripted by Tim McCanlies, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald, and John Mahoney. The film is about a lonely boy named Hogarth raised by his mother, the widow of an Air Force pilot, who discovers an iron giant who fell from space. With the help of a beatnik named Dean, they have to stop the U.S. military and a federal agent from finding and destroying the Giant. The Iron Giant takes place in October 1957 in the American state of Maine during the height of the Cold War. The film’s development phase began around 1994, though the project finally started taking root once Bird signed on as director, and his hiring of Tim McCanlies to write the screenplay in 1996. The script was given approval by Ted Hughes, author of the original novel, and production struggled through difficulties. The Iron Giant when released received high critical praise, scoring a 97% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Bird opted to produce The Iron Giant entirely in the widescreen CinemaScope format, but was warned against doing so by his advisors. Bird felt it was appropriate to use the format, as many films from the late 1950s were produced in such widescreen formats, and was eventually allowed to produce the feature in the wide 2.39:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio. It was decided to animate the Giant using computergenerated imagery as the various animators working on the film found it hard ‘drawing a metal object in a fluid-like manner.’ A new computer program was created for this task, while the art of Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper and N.C. Wyeth inspired the design. Bird brought in students from CalArts to assist in minor animation work due to the film’s busy schedule. The Giant’s voice was originally to be electronically modulated but the filmmakers decided they ‘needed a deep, resonant and expressive voice to start with’, and were about to hire Peter Cullen, due to his recent history with voice acting robot characters, but, due to Cullen’s unavailability at the time, Vin Diesel was hired instead. Cullen, however, did some voice-over work for the film’s theatrical trailer. Teddy Newton, a storyboard artist, played an important role in shaping the film’s story. Newton’s first assignment on staff involved being asked by Bird to create a film within a film to reflect the ‘hygienetype movies that everyone saw when the bomb scare
was happening’. Newton came to the conclusion that a musical number would be the catchiest alternative, and the ‘Duck and Cover sequence’ came to become one of the crew members’ favorites of the film. Nicknamed ‘The X-Factor’ by story department head Jeffery Lynch, the producers gave him artistic freedom on various pieces of the film’s script. The film is set in 1957 during a period of the Cold War characterized by escalation in tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1957, Sputnik was launched, raising the possibility of nuclear attack from space. Anti-communism and the potential threat of nuclear destruction cultivated an atmosphere of fear and paranoia which also led to a proliferation of films about alien invasion. In one scene, Hogarth’s class is seen watching an animated film named Atomic Holocaust, based on Duck and Cover, an actual film that offered advice on how to survive if the USSR bombed the USA. The film also has an anti-gun message in it. When the Iron Giant sees a deer get killed by hunters, the Iron Giant notices two rifles discarded by the deer’s body. The Iron Giant’s eyes turn red showing hostility to any gun. It is repeated throughout the film, ‘Guns kill’ and ‘You’re not a gun’. Despite the antiwar and anti-gun themes, the film avoids demonizing the military, and presents General Rogard as an essentially rational and sympathetic figure, in contrast to the power-hungry civilian Mansley. Hogarth’s message to the giant, ‘You are who you choose to be’, played a pivotal role in the film. Writer Tim McCanlies commented that ‘At a certain point, there are deciding moments when we pick who we want to be. And that plays out for the rest of your life’. McCanlies said that movies can provide viewers with a sense of right and wrong, and expressed a wish that the movie would ‘make us feel like we’re all part of humanity which is something we need to feel’. rc&d
GENERAL GRIEVOUS Star Wars General Grievous is a character in the Star Wars universe, a recurring antagonist, he is the Supreme Commander of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars on the Galactic Republic and is trained in all lightsaber combat forms to ensure the Jedi’s destruction. In Star Wars: Clone Wars, General Grievous’s first public appearance is when he attacked several Jedi on Hypori. After killing Daakman Barrek, Grievous surrounded Tarr Seirr, Sha’a Gi, Aayla Secura, K’Kruhk, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Shaak Ti. After stating he would grant the Jedi a ‘warrior’s death’, Grievous killed Gi, and Seirr then injured Secura, Ti, and K’kruhk. He managed to possess three lightsabers, one in each hand and the third using his left foot, to fight Mundi. As they fought lightsabers blazing, clone troopers arrived to save the surviving Jedi from Grievous, though they left K’kruhk thinking he was dead. Sometime later, Grievous searched for
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant and fought several Jedi that took Palpatine to a secret bunker aboard a maglev train. However, Grievous and his MagnaGuards reached the hardened bunker and made his way to Palpatine. As Grievous was about to escape, Mace Windu severely damaged his lungs which gave Grievous those terrible coughing and wheezing problems. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous holds Supreme Chancellor Palpatine hostage aboard his flagship Invisible Hand. After a rescue operation results in Count Dooku’s death at Anakin Skywalker’s hands, Grievous retreats from the battle after the Jedi infiltrate his command bridge and later takes command over the Separatist Council. Now the Republic’s top priority, Grievous takes refuge on the sinkhole planet Utapau, the Separatist Council’s base. Under orders from Darth Sidious, Grievous relocates the Council to the volcanic planet Mustafar. After Palpatine authorizies an invasion of Utapau, Grievous engages Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel. When Kenobi gains an early advantage, Grievous flees the scene towards his starfighter with Kenobi hot on his heels. The chase ends at Grievous’s secret hangar where the pair fight hand to hand. Making use of his robotic body, the general has the clear advantage in the brawl and prepares to kill Kenobi but the Jedi Master manages to rip open his chestplate in the process. Using the Force to pull Grievous’s blaster to him, Kenobi fires five shots into the cyborg’s heart, incinerating him from the inside. General Grievous’ asthmatic cough in Revenge of the Sith was intended to emphasize his organic nature as well as the flaws of cyborg prosthetics. Grievous had previously appeared in Clone Wars before many of his personality traits had been finalized. To reconcile the differences between the two presentations, Mace Windu uses the Force to crush Grievous’ chest panel towards the end of the show’s third season as the general makes a desperate escape with Palpatine. Some of the audio effects for the coughing were taken from Lucas himself, who had had bronchitis during principal photography. rc&d
REPUBLIC ROBOT Mysterious Doctor Satan Mysterious Doctor Satan is a 1940 film serial named after its chief villain. Doctor Satan’s main opponent is masked mystery man The Copperhead. The serial charts the conflict between the two as Bob Wayne searches for justice and revenge while Doctor Satan completes his plans for world domination. It was directed by the legendary directorial team of William Witney and John English. Doctor Satan is played by Edward Ciannelli and The Copperhead by Robert Wilcox. Henry Brandon was originally intended to play the part of Doctor Satan while wearing a regular devil costume, complete with horns. At the end of the 1930s, however, this would have stretched the audience’s imagination too far so a more believable villain was written in the form of a sleek, gangster-style mad scientist played by Ciannelli. Governor Bronson, who raised Wayne from childhood after the death of his parents, is killed at the hands of a world-domination-seeking mad scientist called Doctor Satan. Fearing his death might be at hand, as it has been for everyone else who had opposed the Doctor, the Governor first confides in Wayne with a secret about his past. Bob’s father was really an outlaw in the Old West, who fought injustice while wearing a chainmail cowl and leaving small coiled copper snakes as his calling card. Following his guardian’s death, Wayne decides to adopt his father’s Copperhead persona and cowl. Doctor Satan, meanwhile, requires only a remote control device invented by Professor Scott to complete his army of killer robots and gain all the power and riches he desires. The Copperhead fights Doctor Satan, rescuing the Professor and others and preventing the Doctor from completing his plot. The serial introduces the updated ‘Republic robot’. A more primitive design had appeared in Undersea Kingdom. The new robot would appear again in Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952). It was parodied in the metafictional The Adventures of Captain Proton ‘holo-novels’ of Star Trek: Voyager as ‘Satan’s Robot’. Director William Witney considered this one of his lesser serials. He was especially unhappy with the robot and proposed a more extravagant one to special effects head Howard Lydecker. However, the studio had neither time nor money to create the new robot
before filming was to begin so Witney was stuck with the ‘hot water boiler’. The ‘bank robbery by robot’ scene was reused as stock footage in the later serial Zombies of the Stratosphere. Mysterious Doctor Satan was originally planned as a Superman serial for Republic, but the license National Comics provided to the Fleischer to make their Superman cartoon series was exclusive and therefore prevented other film companies from using the character at the time, even in a nonanimated production. The script was subsequently reworked with a new character standing in for Superman. The Copperhead’s love interest, Lois, had only her surname changed between these drafts, while his secret identity mimicked Batman’s. Mysterious Doctor Satan was filmed between September and October 1940 under the working title Doctor Satan. According to Stedman, Republic was unconsciously ‘observing the transfer of the costumed crusader from prairie to pavement’ in the writing of this serial. The western cowboy hero would soon be replaced in popular culture by superheroes and masked crimefighters. rc&d
VGC-60L Robot & Frank Robot & Frank is a 2012 American film directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher Ford. Set in the near future, it focuses on Frank Weld, an aging jewel thief played by Frank Langella, whose son buys him a domestic robot. Resistant at first, Frank warms up to the robot when he realizes he can use it to restart his career as a cat burglar. It was the first feature film for both Ford and Schreier and received critical acclaim for its writing, production, and acting. Set in the near future, an aging ex-convict and thief named Frank Weld lives alone and is experiencing increasingly serious mental deterioration and dementia. Frank’s son Hunter, an attorney with a family of his own, grows tired of making weekly visits to his father’s home, but is reluctant to put his father into full-time care, so he purchases a robot companion (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard), which is programmed to provide Frank with therapeutic care, including a fixed daily routine and cognitive enhancing activities like gardening. Initially wary of the robot’s presence in his life, Frank warms up to his new companion when he realizes the robot is not programmed to distinguish between legal recreational activities and criminal ones, and can assist him in lock-picking. Together, the two commit a heist in order to win the affection of the local librarian, Jennifer: they steal an antique copy of Don Quixote from the library, which is being renovated and turned into a community center in the wake of declining interest in print media. In the meantime, Frank’s daughter Madison, who is away on a philanthropic trip in Turkmenistan, learns of the robot and returns to convince her father to get rid of the machine, which she finds ethically objectionable. Frank insists on keeping the robot, and they commit one last heist, stealing jewels from Jake, the rich young developer at the head of the library renovation project. The police become involved and begin to question and monitor Frank, who maintains his innocence, feigning deathly illness so that Hunter will return to see him. In order to cover his tracks, Frank is faced with the decision of whether to wipe the memory of his robot, even as his own memory rapidly deteriorates. Frank goes to the library where he discovers that Jennifer is his ex-wife, which he had forgotten. He
then returns home where the robot convinces him to wipe its holographic memory, as it is not a person and its sole reason for existence is to help Frank. Frank is then sent to a “Brain Center”, where he receives help in coping with his dementia. The police do not recover the jewels that, as Frank explains in a note to Hunter, are hidden under the tomato plants in the garden that the robot made. This was the first feature film for both Ford and Schreier, who were friends and classmates at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. After graduation, Schreier directed music videos and commercials for companies like Absolut Vodka and Verizon. Around 2008, the two began discussing a feature-length project to collaborate on and chose the screenplay that had been Ford’s senior thesis at Tisch, which Schreier had helped produce. This evolved into the screenplay for Robot & Frank. Ford had originally begun conceptualizing the story for the film in 2002. He and Schreier were interested in the rapid development of technology and its impact on the daily life of ordinary people. Unlike more dystopian portrayals of the rise of technology in modern cinema, the filmmakers wanted Robot & Frank to explore the subject without any particular moral undercurrent. According to Schreier, technology is ‘not bad or good but it will change the way we relate to each other. There’s no stopping it’. The futuristic smartphones and tablets featured in the film were designed by Justin Ouellette of Tumblr, and the robot was created by Alterian, a Los Angelesbased effects company notable for their costume design for Daft Punk. The filmmakers wanted to emulate the style of caretaker robots made in Japan, and the design also needed to allow a human actor inside the robot suit, played by Rachael Ma.rc&d
TOBOR THE GREAT Tobor the Great is a 1954 science fiction film produced by Republic Pictures, written by Carl Dudley and Philip MacDonald, and directed by Lee Sholem. It stars Charles Drake, Karin Booth, and Billy Chapin. It was released on DVD on May, 2008 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Tobor’s design was the brainchild of Robert Kinoshita, television and film effects man and prop designer who would later go on to design Robby the Robot from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, as well as the B9 environmental control robot from the 1960s hit sci-fi series Lost In Space. Dr. Ralph Harrison, a member of the new government-appointed Civil Interplanetary Flight Commission, resigns in protest against the inhumane treatment being inflicted upon spaceship pilots. His colleague Professor Nordstrom develops an alternative robot spaceman, ‘Tobor’, the reverse anagram of ‘robot’, which is stolen by enemy agents. Only the scientists’ psychic link with the robot can save it from being reprogrammed for evil purposes. A sequel to the film was announced by Diamond World Pictures, a new film company and division. It was said to feature Patrick Dempsey and Christopher Plummer, use the classic combination of live-action and stop-motion animation, and be released as the first film from Diamond World Pictures in the summer of 2011. To date, no film has been released. The film inspired a Tobor the Great comic strip, written by Denis Gifford and with art by James Bleach, which appeared in Star Comics #1-2 (1954), by D Publications. rc&d
SENTINELS X-Men Sentinels are a variety of mutant-hunting robots, appearing in the Marvel Comics Universe. They are usually portrayed as antagonists to the X-Men. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, they first appeared in The X-Men (volume 1) #14 (November 1965). According to Marvel canon, Sentinels are programmed to locate mutants and capture or kill them. Though several types of Sentinels have been introduced, the typical Sentinel is three stories tall, capable of flight, projects energy blasts, and can detect mutants. The Sentinels have been featured in several X-Men video games, and played a large role in the 1990s X-Men animated series. Additionally, a simulated version made a brief appearance in the beginning of the 2006 film, X-Men: The Last Stand seen in the Danger Room. They also featured prominently in the 2014 film, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Sentinels are designed to hunt mutants who often represent the protagonists of Marvel stories; therefore, the Sentinels are usually employed as supervillains or as the tools of other villains. While many are capable of tactical thought, only a handful are self-aware. Sentinels are technologically advanced, and have exhibited a wide variety of abilities. Armed primarily with energy weapons and restraining devices, they are capable of flight, and can detect mutants at long range. They possess vast physical strength, and their bodies are highly resistant to damage. Some are able to alter their physical forms or re-assemble and reactivate themselves after they have been destroyed. Some Sentinel variants have the ability to learn from their experiences, developing their defenses during an engagement. Several groups of the robots have been created or led by a single, massive Sentinel, called Master Mold. The Sentinels were first created by Dr. Bolivar Trask, who intended to use them to save humanity from what he saw as a threat to the species’ existence in the form of mutants. In a television debate between Trask and Professor Charles Xavier, Trask revealed and then activated the Sentinels, who promptly decided that the best way to protect humanity was to rule over it themselves. The Sentinels kidnapped Xavier and brought him and Trask to the primary Sentinel, Master Mold, only for Xavier’s students, the X-Men, to find them. When Trask realized the error in his ways and that not all mutants were a threat to the
world at large, he aided the X-Men by sabotaging the machinery in the Sentinel base, destroying Master Mold and the Sentinels in the explosion, but he died in the process. However, numerous Sentinels and several Master Molds were built after the destruction of the original models. Trask had a son, Larry, who was also a mutant. Trask gave his son a control medallion which blocked the Sentinels’ mutant-sensing equipment. Not aware that he was a mutant, Larry built the next batch of Sentinels, only to be slain by them when he removed the control medallion. Larry’s ‘Mark II’ Sentinels were later persuaded by Cyclops to fly into the sun, as he was able to convince them that they needed to destroy the sun in order to completely prevent mutation. The most long-lived Sentinel project was that of Project Wideawake, a government agency led by Henry Gyrich and Valerie Cooper that purchased Sentinels from Sebastian Shaw, the mutant Black King of the Hellfire Club. Project: Wideawake also had its own research and development division, based at Camp Hayden, which included an attempt to recreate Nimrod and use this technology to adapt the purchased Sentinels. Sentinels created by this project fought the X-Men, the New Mutants, the Falcon, and X-Factor, among others. rc&d
ROBOCOP RoboCop is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starred Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, and Ronny Cox. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan in the near future, RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy who is brutally murdered by a gang of criminals and subsequently revived by the malevolent mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as ‘RoboCop’. RoboCop includes themes regarding the media, gentrification, corruption, privatization, capitalism, identity, dystopia and human nature. It received positive reviews and was cited as one of the best films of 1987, spawning a franchise that included merchandise, two sequels, a television series, two animated TV series, and a television mini-series, video games and a number of comic book adaptations/crossovers. The film was produced for a relatively modest $13 million. The task of creating the RoboCop suit was given to Rob Bottin. Having come off doing the special effects for John Carpenter’s The Thing, the studio decided that Bottin would be the ideal person to create the RoboCop suit. A budget of up to a million dollars was given towards the completion of the suit, making it the most expensive item on the set. Six suits were made in total: three regular and three showing damage. As for the suit’s design, Bottin himself had produced early sketches that the studio was very happy with in regards to the suit’s prototype (although some minor adjustments had to be made). Taking influence from Japanese comics ‘The 8 Man’ and the first Tokusatsu Metal Hero Uchuu Keiji Gavan (Space Sheriff Gavan) from Toei, Rob, Paul Verhoeven, and Edward Neumeier came up with the concept of the suit being more of an outer shell, with only very little of the actor’s actual face being visible. Bottin explained the basis of the design, ‘It’s meant to look very speedy and aerodynamic. All the lines are measured to go on a slant - forward, forward, forward! All the lines were geometric, and complement every shape on the body from all angles.’ The suit itself attached to the actor in sections. As for wearing the helmet, Peter Weller wore a bald cap that allowed the helmet to be removed easily. After almost ten months of preparation, the RoboCop suit was completed based on live casts from Peter Weller and Rob’s six-foot clay models. The suit’s color was supposed to be bright blue; however, it
was given a more grayish tint to make it look more metallic and produce less glaring on the camera when it was being filmed. Peter Weller had in the meantime hired Moni Yakim, the head of the Movement Department at Juilliard, to help create an appropriate way for him to move his body while wearing the Robo suit. He and Moni had envisioned RoboCop moving like a snake, dancing around and moving very elusively. The suit, however, proved to be too heavy and cumbersome. Instead, at the suggestion of Moni, it was decided that they would slow down RoboCop’s movements in order to make them more appealing and plausible. Filming stopped for three days, allowing Peter and Paul Verhoeven to discuss new movements for the suit. The original gun for RoboCop was a Desert Eagle but this was deemed too small. A Beretta 93R was heavily modified by a gunsmith, who extended the gun barrel to make it look bigger so as to be proportional to Robocop’s hand. The gun holster itself was a standalone piece that was not integrated into the suit. Off screen technicians would operate the device on cue by pulling cables that would force the holster to open up and allow the gun to be placed inside. RoboCop was written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Neumeier stated that he first got the idea of RoboCop when he walked past a poster for Blade Runner. He asked his friend what the film was about and he replied saying,‘It’s about a cop hunting robots’. This then sparked the idea for him about a robot cop. Allegedly, while the two were attempting to pitch the screenplay to Hollywood executives, they were stranded at an airplane terminal with a high-ranking movie executive for several hours. Here they were able to speak to him about the project and thus begin the series of events which eventually became RoboCop. rc&d
KITT Knight Rider The Knight Industries Two Thousand, better known as KITT, is one of the main characters from the classic sci-fi TV adventure series Knight Rider. KITT is an artificially intelligent electronic computer module installed in a highly advanced, very mobile, robotic automobile - a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. In the television show’s history, the first KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was said to have been designed by the late Wilton Knight, a brilliant but eccentric billionaire and founder of the Foundation for Law And Government (FLAG) and its parent Knight Industries. The 2008 pilot movie later implied that Charles Graiman, creator of the Knight Industries Three Thousand, also had a hand in designing the first KITT.
Foundation’s humanitarian interests. KARR was later deactivated and placed in storage while KITT was given to his new operator, Michael Knight (the new identity of Michael Arthur Long). KARR was later unwittingly reactivated by thieves in the original episode ‘Trust Doesn’t Rust’, was thought destroyed, then reappeared in the episode ‘K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R’ and was seen to be finally destroyed by Michael and KITT.
According to the series, the original KITT’s main cybernetic processor was first installed in a mainframe computer used by the United States government in Washington, D.C. However, Wilton saw better use for ‘him’ in the Foundation’s crime-fighting crusade and eventually the system was installed in the vehicle. KITT was in fact the second vehicle built by Knight Industries with artificial intelligence. His predecessor was KARR, the Knight Automated Roving Robot. KARR was programmed for self-preservation, but this proved to be dangerous to the
The character of KITT in the original Knight Rider series was physically embodied as a modified 1982 Pontiac Trans Am with numerous special features such as Turbo Boost (which allowed quick bursts of speed or jumping over obstacles), the ability to drive
‘himself’, a front mounted scanner bar that (among other things) allowed KITT to ‘see’ (and a nod to series creator, Glen A. Larson and his Battlestar Galactica’s Cylons), and ‘molecular bonded shell’ body armour that was portrayed to be invulnerable to diamond headed drills, small arms fire, the impact of thrown objects, and even high speed impact with cinder block wall. The armour could also resist most artillery and explosive blasts although a strong direct hit could cause severe damage. A refit in the 1985 season included the addition of ‘Super Pursuit Mode’ and a convertible top. The car’s voice was supplied by actor William Daniels.
which is eventually transferred into the body of the first vehicle intended to be the original KITT’s direct successor: the ‘Knight 4000’. The new vehicle was a modified 1991 Dodge Stealth, appearing similar to that of the Pontiac Banshee prototype. However, no reference to this storyline nor any appearance of the ‘Knight 4000’ body is made in the new series or its 2008 pilot movie. In Knight Rider 2000, it is stated that most of KITT’s (Knight Industries Two Thousand) parts had been sold off. However, Graiman’s garage in the 2008 pilot movie shows a more complete collection of parts than in the boxes recovered by Michael Knight in the 1991 film Knight Rider 2000.
There have been other spin-offs prior to the 2008 new series, such as the 1991 movie Knight Rider 2000 which is placed chronologically in between the original series Knight Rider and the 2008 series. It saw what was left of the first KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) in pieces, and Michael Knight himself reviving the microprocessor unit
This adds to the mystique of the current whereabouts of the original KITT in the time-frame of the new 2008 series which offers a form of genuine (albeit at times indeterminate) continuity from the original TV series Knight Rider. The original Michael Knight makes an appearance in the 2008 pilot movie Knight Rider which features KITT, voiced by Val Kilmer, as a 2008-2009 Ford Shelby GT500KR. Hasselhoff’s arrival on the show verified that he is the father of Mike Traceur, soon to be Michael Knight, who is described as having driven ‘the first KITT’. rc&d
DALEK Doctor Who The Daleks are an extraterrestrial race of mutants principally portrayed in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. The Daleks were conceived by science-fiction writer Terry Nation and first appeared in the 1963 Doctor Who serial ‘The Daleks’, in the shells designed by Raymond Cusick. Daleks are cyborgs created by the scientist Davros during the final years of a thousand-year war against the Thals. He genetically modified a race of extraterrestrials, known as the Kaleds from the planet Skaro, and integrated them within a tank-like, robotic, mechanical shell. His final modification was to remove their ability to feel pity, compassion or remorse. The Daleks soon came to view themselves as the supreme race in the universe and began a conquest of universal domination and extermination. Various storylines portray them as having had every emotion removed except hate, leaving them with a desire to purge the Universe of all non-Dalek life. Collectively they are the greatest enemies of the series’ protagonist, the Time Lord known as the Doctor. During a conflict with the Time Lords, the Daleks were almost completely killed off. This took place off-screen between the 1996 television movie and the 2005 revived series, and was depicted in the 50th anniversary special ‘The Day of the Doctor’. Their defeat was a plot point in several episodes. They are popularly known for their catchphrase ‘Exterminate!’ and are a well-recognised reference in British popular culture. Externally, Daleks normally resemble human-sized pepper shakers with a single mechanical eyestalk mounted on a rotating dome, a gun mount containing a ‘gunstick’ or ‘death ray’ energy weapon and a telescopic manipulator arm which is usually tipped by an appendage resembling a sink plunger. Daleks have been seen to be able to use their plungers to interface with technology, crush a man’s skull by suction, measure the intelligence of a subject, and extract information from a man’s mind. Dalek casings are made of a bonded polycarbide material dubbed ‘dalekanium’ by a member of the human resistance in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ and by the Cult of Skaro in ‘Daleks in Manhattan’. The lower half of a Dalek’s shell is covered with hemispherical protrusions, or ‘Dalek bumps’, which are shown in the episode ‘Dalek’ to be spheres embedded in the casing. Both the BBC-licensed Dalek Book (1964) and The Doctor Who Technical Manual
(1983) describe these items as being part of a sensory array, whilst in the 2005 series episode ‘Dalek’, they are shown to serve a function in a Dalek’s selfdestruct mechanism. Their armour has a forcefield that evaporates most bullets and resists most types of energy weapon; this seems to be concentrated around the Dalek’s midsection (where the mutant is located), as normally ineffective firepower can be concentrated on the eyestalk to blind a Dalek. Daleks have a very limited field of vision, with no peripheral sight at all, and are relatively easy to hide from in fairly exposed places. Their own energy weapons have also been shown to be capable of destroying them. Their weapons fire a beam that has electrical tendencies, is capable of propagating through water and may be a form of plasma. The eyepiece is a Dalek’s most vulnerable spot, and impairing its vision often leads to a blind, panicked firing of its weapon whilst shouting, ‘My vision is impaired; I cannot see!’ The creature inside the mechanical casing is depicted as soft and repulsive in appearance and vicious even without its mechanical armour. The first-ever glimpse of a Dalek mutant, in ‘The Daleks’, was a claw peeking out from under a Thal cloak after it had been removed from its casing. The actual appearance of the mutants has varied, but often adheres to the Doctor’s description of the species in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ as ‘little green blobs in bonded polycarbide armour’. In ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ a Dalek creature, separated from its casing, attacks and severely injures a human soldier; in ‘Revelation of the Daleks’, there are two Dalek factions (Imperial and Renegade) and the creatures inside have a different appearance in each case, one resembling
the amorphous creature from ‘Resurrection’, the other the crab-like creature from the original ‘Dalek’ serial. As the creature inside is rarely seen on screen, a common misconception exists that Daleks are wholly mechanical robots. In the new series Daleks are retconned to be mollusc-like in appearance, with small tentacles, one or two eyes and an exposed brain. The voice of a Dalek is electronic; the Dalek creature is apparently unable to make much more than squeaking sounds when out of its casing. Once the mutant is removed, the casing itself can be entered and operated by humanoids; for example, in ‘The Daleks’, Ian Chesterton enters a Dalek shell to masquerade as a guard as part of an escape plan. For many years it was assumed that, due to their design and gliding motion, Daleks were unable to climb stairs, and that this was a way of escaping them. In a scene from ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, the Fourth Doctor and companions escape from Dalek pursuers by climbing into a ceiling duct. He then calls down, ‘If you’re supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don’t you try climbing after us?’ The Daleks make up for their general lack of mobility with overwhelming firepower; a joke among Doctor Who fans goes, ‘Real Daleks don’t climb stairs; they level the building.’ Dalek mobility has improved over the history of the series: in their first appearance they were capable of movement only on the conductive metal floors of their city; in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ a Dalek emerges from the waters of the River Thames, indicating they are amphibious; and in the 2005 episode ‘Dalek’ the audience was shocked when Daleks began to hover up the stairs after uttering the phrase ‘ELEVATE’. The new series depicts Daleks as fully capable of space flight. rc&d
CYBORG Cyborg is a character, a superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, and first appears in a special insert in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980). Cyborg is best known as a member of the Teen Titans. However, in September 2011, Cyborg was established as a founding member of the Justice League as part of DC’s 2011 reboot of its continuity. Victor Stone is the son of Silas and Elinore Stone, a pair of scientists who decide to use him as a test subject for various intelligence enhancement projects. However, while these treatments work and Victor’s IQ grows to genius-levels, he begins to resent this treatment and strikes up a friendship with Ron Evers, a young miscreant who leads him into trouble with the law. This is the beginning of a struggle where Victor strives for his own life engaging in pursuits of which his parents disapprove, such as athletics and slacking off in class. In addition, Victor still keeps bad company that leads him into incidents such as when he is talked into participating in a street gang fight in which he is wounded. For the most part, however, Victor still has a largely normal life under the circumstances where he also refuses to follow Evers’ grandiose plans of racially motivated terrorism. When he visits his parents at work at S.T.A.R. Labs, an experiment in dimensional travel goes horribly wrong when a massive gelatinous monster crosses over an experimental portal and kills Elinore. The creature then turns on Victor and severely mutilates him before Silas manages to force the creature back through the portal. To save his son, Silas outfits him with experimental prosthetics of his own design. However, the equipment can not be worn inconspicuously, thus horrifying Victor upon seeing much of his body and part of his face replaced with sheer metallic limbs and implants. Although Victor wants to die at this shock, he eventually adjusts enough through his resulting physical therapy to control his implants with suitable skill.
prior to his accident, rather than a lack of sufficient knowledge, and further exacerbated by his long convalescence. However, when his old friend Ron Evers attempts to use Victor’s troubles to manipulate him into participating in a terrorist attack on the United Nations, Victor finds a new purpose as he equips his weapons attachments and stops his friend in a pitched battle on top of United Nations Headquarters. Victor joins the Teen Titans, initially for the benefit of a support group of kindred spirits and outsiders, and has remained with that group ever since. In addition, Victor finds new friends, who see past his disfigurements, and his own nobility, such as a group of children who are adjusting to their own prosthetics and idolize him with his fancy parts and exciting adventures, as well as their beautiful teacher, Sarah Simms, who has often assisted him. Cyborg and Sarah have a deep relationship that is considered by some fans to be Cyborg’s one true love, although writer Marv Wolfman insists it is a deep, caring friendship. Another person who sees past the cybernetic shell is Dr. Sarah Charles, a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist who helps him to recuperate after having his cybernetic parts replaced. Cyborg and Dr. Charles date for some time and, along with Changeling, keeps trying to reach him when he is seemingly mindless following the severe injuries he incurs during the Titans Hunt storyline. rc&d
However, upon release from medical care, he finds his life is seriously inconvenienced with the fearful reactions of the public at his implants. Even his girlfriend, Marcy Reynolds, rejects him. In addition, he is also disallowed participation in athletics, not only for his implants, but also for his poor grades, which was a result of inattention
BOX Logan’s Run Logan’s Run is a 1976 American science fiction film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, and Peter Ustinov. The screenplay by David Zelag Goodman was based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. It depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expedient of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation. The story follows the actions of Logan 5, a ‘Sandman’, as he runs from society’s lethal demand. The film was shot primarily in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex between June and September 1975. The film only uses the basic premise from the novel, that everyone must die at a specific age and Logan runs with Jessica as his companion while being chased by Francis. The motivations of the characters are quite different in the film. It was the first film to use Dolby Stereo on 70mm prints.
In 1977, a short-lived TV series was made, though only fourteen episodes were produced. Since 1994, there have been several unsuccessful efforts remake the film.
In the year 2274, the remnants of human civilization live in a sealed domed city, a utopia run by a computer that takes care of all aspects of their life, including reproduction. The citizens live a hedonistic lifestyle but understand that in order to maintain the city, every resident when they reach the age of 30 must undergo the ritual of ‘Carrousel’. There, they are vaporized and ostensibly ‘Renewed’. To track this, they are implanted at birth with a ‘life-clock’ crystal in the palm of their hand that changes colors as they approach their ‘Last Day’. Most residents accept this promise of rebirth, but some realize it
is a brutal population control, and go into hiding to avoid Carrousel. These fugitives are known as Runners, and there are Sandmen who are assigned to pursue and terminate them. Michael York as Logan 5, with blinking red lifeclock in his palm. Logan 5 and Francis 7 are partner Sandmen. After terminating a Runner, Logan finds an ankh
among his possessions. Later, he meets Jessica 6, a girl also wearing an ankh pendant. Logan takes the ankh to the computer, where he is told it is a symbol for a secret group who helps the Runners find ‘Sanctuary’. The computer instructs Logan to find Sanctuary and destroy it. It then changes the color of his Lifeclock to flashing red, four years early. In order to escape Carrousel himself, Logan is now forced to become a Runner.
the ruins of the United States Senate chamber, they discover an elderly man. His appearance is a shock to them since neither has ever seen anyone over the age of thirty. The old man explains what happened to humanity outside of the city and the fugitives realize Sanctuary is a myth. However, Francis has followed them and he and Logan fight. Logan fatally wounds Francis and as he dies, he sees that Logan’s Lifeclock is now clear, believing Logan has Renewed.
Logan regroups with Jessica and explains his situation. Together, they meet with the underground group that leads them to the periphery of the city. Logan finds the ankh symbol unlocks an exit from the city. They come out into a frozen cave, with Francis following closely behind. In the cave, they meet Box, a robot designed to capture food for the city from the outside. Box also captures escaped Runners and freezes them like artwork. Before he can freeze them, Logan and Jessica escape the robot, causing the cave to collapse down on Box.
Logan and Jessica convince the old man to return to the city with them. Leaving the man outside, the two enter and try to convince everyone that Carrousel is a lie and not necessary. The two are captured by other Sandmen and taken to the computer. The computer interrogates Logan and asks if he completed his mission, but Logan insists ‘there is no Sanctuary’. This answer is not accepted by the computer, even after scanning Logan’s mind, and the computer overloads, causing the city’s systems to fail and release the exterior seals. Logan and Jessica regroup with the old man as the citizens flee the ruined city.
Once outside, Logan and Jessica notice that their Lifeclocks are dead. They discover that the wilderness has overrun the remains of human civilization. They explore the area, which was once Washington D.C. In
The film was previewed for test audiences prior to its release. A few sequences were edited out or shortened as a result. These included a longer sequence in the ice cave where Box asked Logan and Jessica to pose for his ice sculpture. This was cut partially due to extensive nudity so that the film could receive a PG rating and partially due to the length of the scene. There were several other scenes removed including a sequence where Francis hunts down a runner by himself at the beginning of the film. Other sequences were trimmed. These scenes survive in the shooting script but the footage itself appears lost. Michael York, Jenny Agutter and William Devane were originally cast in the lead roles. Devane bowed out when Alfred Hitchcock requested him to replace actor Roy Thinnes in Family Plot. Richard Jordan stepped in for DeVane and was best known for his performance in Rooster Cogburn and the TV mini-series Captains and the Kings. York had previously appeared in Cabaret, Murder on the Orient Express and The Three Musketeers. rc&d
GIGANTOR Tetsujin 28-go Gigantor is an American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go, a manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama released in 1956. It debuted on U.S. television in 1964. As with Speed Racer, the characters’ original names were altered and the original series’ violence was toned down for American viewers. The series was ‘resurrected’, in colour, as The New Adventures of Gigantor, by the Sci Fi Channel in 1993. The series is set in the year 2000. The show follows the exploits of Little Jimmy Sparks, a twelve-year-old boy who controls Gigantor, a huge flying robot, with a remote control. The robot is made of steel and has a rocket-powered backpack for flight, a pointy nose, eyes that never move, and incredible strength, but no intelligence (although he started to tap his head as if trying to think in one episode). Whoever has the remote control controls Gigantor. Originally developed as a weapon by Jimmy’s father, Gigantor was later reprogrammed to act as a guardian of peace. Jimmy Sparks lives with his uncle Dr. Bob Brilliant on a remote island. Jimmy usually wears shorts and a jacket, carries a firearm and occasionally drives a car. Together, Jimmy and Gigantor battle crime around the world, and clash with the many villains who are always trying to steal or undermine the giant robot. In 1963, Fred Ladd, while working on the animated feature Pinocchio in Outer Space and on the animated TV series The Big World of Little Adam had seen artwork of Mitsuteru Yokoyama presenting a giant robot remote-controlled by a young boy. The Tokyobased artist had designed the robot for a Japanese shønen manga series Tetsujin 28 and later a blackand-white animated TV series called Tetsujin 28-go. Ladd, who had produced the successful international, English-language adaptation of Astroboy, and Al Singer formed a corporation called Delphi Associates, Inc. in order to produce and distribute an English-language version of Tetsujin 28-go. They took only 52 episodes of the Japanese series for the American market, and renamed the series Gigantor. Peter Fernandez wrote much of the English script, and participated in the dubbing. The series became an immediate hit with juvenile audiences, though adult reactions were sometimes hostile.
It was playing in New York in January 1966 when Variety gave it a particularly scathing review, calling it a ‘loud, violent, tasteless and cheerless cartoon’ which was ‘strictly in the retarded babysitter class’. The reviewer added that Gigantor was popular; he said ‘Ratings so far are reportedly good, but strictly pity the tikes and their misguided folks’. Gigantor became a popular Japanese export during this time. The series was shown in Australia on Melbourne television in January 1968 and was described by the magazine TV Week as an ‘animated science fiction series about the world’s mightiest robot, and twelve-year-old Jimmy Sparks who controls the jet-propelled giant’. The series aired in other markets around Australia, including Sydney and Adelaide. Gigantor was one of a number of Japanese TV series that enjoyed strong popularity with young viewers in Australia during the 1960s. It also screened in New Zealand around the same time. In July 1994, Fox Family Films, a division of 20th Century Fox, acquired the rights to Gigantor for a live-action motion picture. Anticipating that Gigantor would become a franchise for the studio, Fox tapped screenwriters Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes to prepare the script and budgeted between $35 million and $50 million for the film. Executive producers Fred Ladd and Aeiji Katayama indicated that Mitsuteru Yokoyama would get an executive producer credit and that the fifty-foot robot would be updated and modernized for the 1990s with a twelve-foot height and morphed and computer-generated features. However, the project has yet to come to fruition and Mitsuteru Yokoyama has since died. rc&d
C-3PO Star Wars C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve human beings, and boasts that he is fluent in ‘over six million forms of communication’. Generally seen with his long-time counterpart, R2D2, Threepio’s main function is to assist etiquette, customs, and translation, so that meetings of different cultures run smoothly. While many protocol/interpreter droids range in colour, C-3PO’s own identifying colours are primarily gold finish, with silver from the right knee down. In the Star Wars series’ narrative chronology, C-3PO first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the creation of Anakin Skywalker, who builds him out of spare parts. In The Phantom Menace, C-3PO meets his future partner, R2-D2, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, and Jar Jar Binks; C-3PO and R2-D2 co-operate to perfect Anakin’s podracer for the race ‘Boonta Eve Classic’. Shortly afterwards, C-3PO becomes part of Anakin’s pit crew during the race, where he sees Anakin defeat Sebulba. Before parting from C-3PO, Anakin assures the droid that (Anakin’s mother) Shmi does not sell him. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Shmi is kidnapped by a group of Tuskens. Sensing that his mother is in danger, Anakin travels with Padmé to Tatooine, where they reunite with Threepio. When Anakin returns with his mother’s lifeless body, C-3PO attends her funeral. After Anakin and Padmé’s visit to Tatooine, C-3PO accompanies them to the planet Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi. Shortly afterward, he follows R2-D2 into a droid-construction site, where his head is temporarily attached to the torso of a battle droid, while the head of the droid is placed onto Threepio’s torso. Influenced by the battle droid’s programming, Threepio reluctantly participates in the film’s climactic battle scene, where he is stopped by Kit Fisto. At the end of the film, he is a witness to Padmé and Anakin’s marriage on Naboo. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, C-3PO is aware of Padmé’s pregnancy and the meetings held with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. After Anakin and R2-D2 return from Anakin’s massacre of the Jedi, C-3PO becomes a witness to his maker’s turn to the dark side of the Force when he accompanies Padmé to Mustafar, and Anakin, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader, uses the Force to render her unconscious; whereupon C-3PO and R2-D2 take her to safety. When Obi-Wan returns to their spaceship, C-3PO pilots it to Polis Massa and
witnesses Padmé give birth to the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia, and die shortly afterward. C-3PO and R2-D2 fall into the custody of Bail Organa, who orders that C-3PO’s memories be erased. In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, C-3PO is introduced to the audience when he and R2-D2 are aboard the consular ship Tantive IV during an attack by Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator. When R2-D2 leaves the ship to deliver a secret message to Obi-Wan Kenobi to the planet Tatooine, C-3PO follows. There, C-3PO and R2-D2 are captured by Jawas and taken to be sold. In the process of being sold to Owen Lars, C-3PO convinces his new owner to buy R2-D2 as well. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, C-3PO alerts the Rebels to the Empire’s awareness of their location in the Hoth System. C-3PO escapes with Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia in the Millennium Falcon, while R2-D2 joins Luke in his search for Yoda. During this time C-3PO and Solo are often shown as foils; C-3PO quoting odds and Han defying them. After a chase through the Hoth asteroid field, the Falcon escapes to Cloud City on Bespin. While exploring a room in Cloud City, C-3PO is blasted by an off-camera stormtrooper. After successfully escaping Vader’s flagship Executor, C-3PO is fully repaired by R2-D2. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Luke commands C-3PO and R2-D2 to deliver a message to Jabba the Hutt, whereby C-3PO is used as Jabba’s translator. Later, C-3PO accompanies the strike force to the Forest Moon of Endor to disable the shield generator protecting the second Death Star. When he, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and R2D2 are captured by the Ewoks, C-3PO is perceived to be a god by the latter. When the human prisoners are threatened by the Ewoks, Luke levitates the droid above the crowd as demonstration of the supposed god’s ability, so as to prompt release. rc&d
ASH Alien Ash is a character in the movie Alien, who was portrayed by actor Ian Holm, who, although known in the U.K. as a stage actor, was at the time unknown to American audiences. Ash serves as the secondary antagonist of the first film. The character is the science officer of the Nostromo, who breaks quarantine by allowing Kane, a member of the crew, back on board after he has been infected by an alien life form. It is later discovered that Ash is not human at all, as he appears, but is in fact a Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2 android, who is acting upon secret orders to ‘Bring back alien life form. Crew expendable’. At the beginning of the film, Ash is depicted as quiet and logical, greatly adherent to company regulations. However, he breaks quarantine protocol (disobeying Ripley, the ship’s ranking officer, in the process) and allows the infected Kane aboard the mining ship, seemingly out of compassion, and is later seen marvelling at the creature attached to him. At one point, Ash assaults Ripley, attempting to kill her by forcing a rolled-up pornographic magazine down her throat. But it is Ash himself who is killed, as two other crewmembers arrive and rescue Ripley. He is struck over the head twice with a canister, the first time causing him to malfunction and the second decapitating him; and he is then, when even that fails to kill him, electrocuted with a cattle prod. His severed head is reactivated to provide the crew the truth about the creature. Ash complies, revealing that the company installed him to ensure that the creature was brought to them, with the crew’s lives being expendable. After informing them of all he knows about the creature, Ash tells the crew, ‘You have my sympathies’, regarding their chances of survival. Ripley then unplugs him and Parker incinerates his head with a flamethrower.
noise, just as do the aliens in Body Snatchers. Like the alien organism itself, Ash (and indeed the sentient ship’s computer, named ‘Mother’) is presented as, in the words of M. Keith Booker, a ‘distinctive mode of intelligent existence that seems alien to our own’, and is in fact (if one counts the dead pilot of the crashed spaceship) one of a number of sentient non-humans that humanity encounters in the film.
The revelation that Ash is, in the words of crewman Parker at the crux of the fight scene, ‘a goddamned robot!’, is a pivotal point of the plot of the film, that forces, for the audience, a retrospective wholesale reinterpretation of all his prior actions. Moreover, as Nicholas Mirzoeff observes, with Ash, Alien recapitulates the idea central to Invasion of the Body Snatchers that ‘the most frightening monster is the one that looks exactly like other humans’ and that ‘the replica human is almost as threatening as the extraterrestrial itself’. Indeed, in a direct echo of Body Snatchers, when Ash is first hit by the canister, causing him to go berserk, he emits a high-pitched squealing
Ash is, in the words of Per Schelde, the ‘perfect Corporation man’. He reflects the Corporation’s views, and is its functionary. He is an inhumane science officer who lacks human values, an example of the ‘mad scientist’ stereotype of fiction. However, from the character’s own viewpoint, according to Mary Pharr, he is neither. He is aware that he is Corporation property and comfortable with his programming, confident and purposeful. He cares neither for the human crew of the Nostromo nor for the humans of the Corporation who, Pharr notes, would have received a very unpleasant surprise had Ash been successful in transporting the alien back to Earth. rc&d
The character of Ash was not in the original script that Dan O’Bannon unsuccessfully pitched to 20th Century Fox. He was added by Walter Hill and David Giler of Brandywine Productions, who at the same time changed the sex of Ripley to female. Kaveney characterizes Hill’s and Giler’s ‘menacing robot’ as a counter-revisionist robot, from an era where the image of the robot in science fiction was reverting to its pre-Isaac Asimov characterization of ‘a competitor to humanity who would sooner or later turn on us or pass for human and mis-lead us’. Ash does not adhere to the Three Laws of Robotics and is menacing not by accident or mistake but because he has been programmed explicitly to be menacing.
HYMIE Get Smart Hymie is a humanoid robot who weighs 982lbs. He was created by the evil Dr. Ratton and named after Ratton’s father. While Hymie looks completely normal on the outside, he has a massive amount of circuitry underneath his shirt. He is shown to be bulletproof, which Ratton proves by shooting him three times. He is also incredibly strong, as he was able to defeat a live male gorilla in hand to hand combat. He has a supercomputer for a brain with the ability to analyze chemistry and physics equations. For example, in episode #19 ‘Back to the Old Drawing Board’ when Ratton shot him he was able to tell what kind of bullets hit him and at what speed without examining them. Hymie has numerous superhuman abilities, such as being physically stronger and faster than any human with the ability to swallow poisons and register their name, type, and quantity, though his design does not include superhuman mental processing, most significantly characterized by an overly literal interpretation of commands. For example, when Smart tells Hymie to ‘get a hold of yourself’, he grasps each arm with the other. Hymie also has emotions and is ‘programmed for neatness’. Hymie’s services were initially acquired for KAOS by their agent Natz for the purpose of kidnapping scientist Dr. Shotwire and capturing Maxwell Smart but a malfunction in his control system gives him independence and when, after returning with Max, 99 and Shotwire as prisoners, Ratton orders him to kill Max he chooses to shoot Ratton instead, because Max was the first one to treat him like a real person. After first refusing the invitation, he decides to
join CONTROL. Over the next three years, Hymie increasingly discovers his humanity as he becomes the object of a crush by Phoebe, the Chief’s niece in episode #31 ‘Anatomy of a Lover’; experiences love and heartbreak with Octavia in episode #46 ‘It Takes One to Know One’; tries to befriend Groppo, the killer robot sent to destroy him, only to be forced to destroy Groppo himself to save Max’s life in episode #68 ‘When Good Fellows Get Together’; defends the honor of his country at a track meet in episode #83 ‘Run, Robot, Run’; and, finally, is named Max’s best man in episode #92 ‘The Worst Best Man’, although the position would ultimately go to Admiral Hargrade instead. Following CONTROL’s deactivation Hymie gets a job as a crash test dummy - until Max reclaims him and he is reprogrammed for spying . . . and shopping, and sex, everything beginning with the letter ‘s’ in the TV movie Get Smart, Again!
Get Smart is an American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre. Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show stars Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86; Barbara Feldon as Agent 99; and Edward Platt as Chief. Henry said they created the show by request of Daniel Melnick, who was a partner, along with Leonard Stern and David Susskind, of the show’s production company, Talent Associates, to capitalize on ‘the two biggest things in the entertainment world today’ - James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. Brooks said, ‘It’s an insane combination of James Bond and Mel Brooks comedy’. This is the only Mel Brooks production to feature a laugh track. rc&d
BORG Star Trek Borg is a collective proper noun for an alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to ‘the hive mind’; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg’s ultimate goal is ‘achieving perfection’. Aside from being the main threat in Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg play major roles in The Next Generation and Voyager television series, primarily as an invasion threat to the United Federation of Planets, and serve as the way home to the Alpha Quadrant for isolated Federation starship Voyager. The Borg have become a symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against which ‘resistance is futile’, manifesting as cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind, linked by subspace radio In their introduction in ‘Q Who’, little information is given about the Borg, their origins or intentions. In nearly all their encounters, they exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only assimilation. Exhibiting a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, the Borg become one of the greatest threats to Starfleet and the Federation. Major characters that have escaped the Collective after having been assimilated include Jean-Luc Picard and Seven of Nine. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing thousands of vessels. They operate toward the fulfilment of one purpose: to ‘add the biological and technological distinctiveness’ of other species to their own in pursuit of perfection. The concept of perfection is the unifying idea at the core of the Borg. The pursuit of an unemotional, mechanical perfection is the Borg’s only motivation. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which takes individuals and technology, enhancing and controlling them. Originally presented as an autonomous collective, the ideas of a Borg Queen and central control were introduced in First Contact. Though Borg rarely look alike, they share several common characteristics. Borg commonly have one eye
(most often the left eye) replaced with a sophisticated ocular implant which allows them to see beyond the human visual spectrum. This implant usually projects a red laser beam, particularly in later appearances. They also usually have one arm replaced with a prosthetic one, bearing one of a variety of multi-purpose tools in place of a humanoid hand, and flat white skin, giving them an almost zombie-like appearance. This skin was originally dry and human-looking, but it later had a more “slick” look to it, with veins showing. Due to their cybernetic enhancements, all Borg are far stronger than humans to varying degrees (depending on the species the drone came from). However, they never run to their destination, and hence most species can outpace them. Borg drones are resistant to phaser fire, being completely immune to the stun setting. In addition, all Borg drones possess personal shielding which collectively adapts to phaser fire. Phaser frequencies can be altered to penetrate the shield, but the Borg adapt more quickly with each change in modulation. Due to this, crews have been known to employ a variety of other countermeasures and melee weapons, as demonstrated in Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg hive mind can lead to certain downsides: Borg drones have a weakness in that they will usually ignore anything which does not present itself as a direct threat (unless specifically directed to attack), allowing armed but passive Starfleet crew to walk among them relatively unscathed until threatening behavior was observed. The most important cybernetic component of any Borg is their ‘cortical node’, which controls every other implanted ‘fixed location’ cybernetic device within a Borg’s body, and is most often implanted in the forehead above the usually-retained organic right eye. If the cortical node fails, the afflicted individual Borg eventually dies, as it cannot be replicated or repaired. rc&d
MARIA Metropolis The Maschinenmensch, German for ‘machine-human’, from Metropolis is a gynoid (female robot and female android) played by German actress Brigitte Helm in both its robot form and human incarnation. Named Maria in the film, and ‘Futura’ in the novel, she was the first robot ever depicted in cinema. Robot Maria’s haunting blank face, slightly open lips, and pronounced female curves in the film have been the subject of disgust and fascination alike. The Maschinenmensch has been given several names through the decades: Parody, Ultima, Machina, Futura, Robotrix, False Maria, Robot Maria, and Hel. The intertitles of the 2010 restoration of Metropolis quotes Rotwang, the robot’s creator, referring to his gynoid Maschinenmensch as the ‘Machine-Man’, despite the android’s obvious female-based form. Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, and starred Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. A silent film, it was produced in the Babelsberg Studios by UFA.Metropolis is regarded as a pioneer work of science fiction movies, being the first feature length movie of the genre. Made in Germany during the Weimar Period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia, and follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city’s ruler, and Maria, whose background is not fully explained in the film, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. Metropolis was filmed in 1925, at a cost of approximately five million Reichsmarks. Thus, it was the most expensive film ever released up to that point. The film was met with a mixed response upon its initial release, with many critics praising its technical achievements and social metaphors while others derided its ‘simplistic and naïve’ presentation. Because of its long running-time and the inclusion of footage which censors found questionable, Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere: large portions of the film were lost over the subsequent decades. Numerous attempts have been made to restore the film since the 1970s and 80s. Giorgio Moroder, a music producer, released a version with a soundtrack by rock artists such as Freddie Mercury, Loverboy and Adam Ant in 1984. A new reconstruction of Metropolis was shown at the Berlin
Film Festival in 2001, and the film was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in the same year, the first film thus distinguished. In 2008, a damaged print of Lang’s original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt simultaneously in early 2010. Metropolis features a range of elaborate special effects and set designs, ranging from a huge gothic cathedral to a futuristic cityscape. In an interview, Fritz Lang reported that ‘the film was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers in New York in 1924’. Describing his first impressions of the city, Lang said that ‘the buildings seemed to be a vertical sail, scintillating and very light, a luxurious backdrop, suspended in the dark sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotize’. The appearance of the city in Metropolis is strongly informed by the Art Deco movement; however it also incorporates elements from other traditions. The film’s use of art deco architecture was highly influential, and has been reported to have contributed to the style’s subsequent popularity in Europe and America. The film drew heavily on Biblical sources for several of its key set-pieces. During her first talk to the workers, Maria uses the story of the Tower of Babel to highlight the discord between the intellectuals and the workers. Additionally, a delusional Freder imagines the false-Maria as the Whore of Babylon, riding on the back of a many-headed dragon. The name of the Yoshiwara club alludes to the famous red-light district of Tokyo. rc&d
ROY BATTY Blade Runner A replicant is a bioengineered or biorobotic android in the film Blade Runner (1982). The Nexus series - genetically designed by the Tyrell Corporation - are virtually identical to an adult human, but have superior strength, agility, and variable intelligence depending on the model. Because of their physical similarity to humans, a replicant must be detected by its lack of emotional responses and empathy to questions posed in the Voight-Kampff test. A derogatory term for a replicant is ‘skin-job’. Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which inspired Blade Runner used the term android (andy), but director Ridley Scott wanted a new term that did not have preconceptions. As David Peoples was rewriting the screenplay he consulted his daughter who was involved in microbiology and biochemistry. She suggested the term ‘replicating’ which is the process of duplicating cells for cloning. From that, one of them (each would later recall it was the other) came up with replicant and it was inserted into Hampton Fancher’s screenplay. Replicants became illegal on Earth after a bloody mutiny by Nexus-6s off-world. The Tyrell Corp./ Rosen Assoc. discovered that the longer a Nexus-6 lived the more life-experience it gained. With these memories they often developed their own emotional reflexes, and the longer they lived the more independent and unstable their personalities became. So, Tyrell added a ‘fail-safe device’ to Nexus-6 models: a built-in four-year lifespan to prevent them from developing their own ‘emotional responses’. This was especially necessary for Mental-A models whose intellectual capacity at least matched those of their designers. Tyrell later tells Roy that the preset life-span is inherently dependent on Nexus-6 biology. Noting that ‘the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long’, Tyrell explains that the reason Nexus-6 replicants do not live longer is not due to some sort of kill switch, but because they physically cannot - the result of the superhuman capabilities engineered into them. Roy suggests several means of extending his lifespan, demonstrating that he possesses at least equal knowledge to that of his creator about his physical construction, but Tyrell reveals that he already tried each of these suggestions, failing in every attempt.
Special police units, Blade Runners, are sent to investigate, test and ultimately ‘retire’ replicants found on Earth. Deckard had no experience with the escaped replicants, because they are the latest Nexus-6 generation. He wasn’t even sure if the Voight-Kampff test would work. Escaped replicants were all Nexus-6 Physical-A models and included Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer) who was a self-sufficient combat model for the colonization defence program (Mental-A, serial No: N6MAA10816); Pris Stratton (played by Daryl Hannah) who was a prostitute referred to as a basic ‘pleasure model’ for military personnel (Mental-B, N6FAB21416); Zhora Salome/Luba Luft (played by Joanna Cassidy) was retrained for political homicide, operating in a ‘kick murder squad’ (Mental-B, N6FAB61216); Leon Kowalski/ Max Polokov (played by Brion James) is a combat model or loader for nuclear fission (Mental-C, N6MAC41717); Hodge was killed in an electrical field at the Tyrell Corporation; and Mary/Irmgard Batty, the 6th replicant. Actress Stacey Nelkin was cast in the part of Mary but the character was cut from the film early on in principal photography due to budget constraints. This created a plot hole and speculation among fans as to whether Deckard was the 6th replicant with new memories. In the 2007 Final Cut, Captain Bryant’s dialog was altered, so he now mentions two Replicants killed by the electric field, rather than just one as in the 1982 U.S. theatrical version. In the original workprint version, Bryant also mentions two Replicants killed.Other replicants included Rachael (played by Sean Young) who is a prototype Nexus-6 with implanted memories from Eldon Tyrell’s niece.
The serial numbers of the replicants reveal some information. For example, Pris: N6FAB21416 relates to N6: series Nexus-6, F: sex = female, A: physic endurance and B: inteligence. Last digits are the activation date: 21416 is date 02-14-2016 or February 14, 2016. Tyrell developed Rachael as an experimental replicant with false memory implants, so she would think she was human. Tyrell said that these memories would act as a ‘pillow’ to cushion her developing emotions. As a result, Rachael behaved in a far more ‘human’ manner than earlier model replicants. Leon, and perhaps other Nexus-6 replicants, possibly had a need for a past history, as well. Like Rachael, Leon had photographs.
While Rachael’s were from her ‘childhood’, Leon’s photographs were of unknown origin. At least one photograph was recent, and provided clues in the investigation. After discovering Leon’s photos, Deckard commented, ‘Leon’s pictures had to be as phony as Rachael’s. I didn’t know why a Replicant would collect photos. Maybe they were like Rachael ... they needed memories’. Normal replicants aren’t very empathetic or ‘human’ in character, and are emotionally unstable, because over four years, they develop the same experiences humans develop over decades. Thus, Leon who is only two years old is somewhat immature; while four year old Roy Batty who is feeling the effects of his impending death shows a wide range of emotions. Roy appears capable of love, guilt, sorrow, and empathy although these emotions confuse him to a degree. According to Deckard, a normal replicant can usually be discovered using the Voight-Kampff test after being given about twenty to thirty questions, cross-referenced, but Rachael answered over one-hundred questions before Deckard realized she was a replicant. In particular, the question that finally revealed she was a replicant involved a reaction to people ‘eating raw oyster and boiled dog’ - it is implied that Rachael simply didn’t have enough life-experience to know that this wasn’t considered socially permissible. The theatrical cut’s voice-over ending said that as an experimental replicant Rachael didn’t have the pre-determined four-year lifespan, but the Director’s Cut left that ambiguous. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the Rosen Corporation simply did not know how to manufacture an android capable of living longer than four years. rc&d
BENDER Futurama Bender, whose full name is Bender Bending Rodríguez, is a robot character in the animated television series Futurama. Designated in-universe as Bending Unit 22, unit number 1,729 (the smallest number that can be represented as the sum of two cubes in two ways, 1³ + 12³ = 9³ + 10³), serial number 2716057 (952³ - 951³), he was created by series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and is voiced by John DiMaggio. He fulfills a comic, antihero-type role in Futurama and is described by fellow character Leela as an ‘alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler’. According to the character’s back-story, Bender was built in Mexico (the other characters reference his ‘swarthy Latin charm’ throughout the overall narrative). Viewers are informed, through his own testimony, of Bender’s prejudice against non-robots: his dialogue often contains anti-human expressions such as ‘kill all humans’. Exceptions who are not subject to Bender’s prejudicial attitude are those individuals on his ‘Do Not Kill’ list, which seems to comprise only his best friend Fry and his colleague Hermes. However, Bender is also occasionally portrayed as kind, suggesting that he is not as belligerent as he claims, a view often echoed by his friends. Bender is a high-tech robot; he is a Unit 22 from a series of bending robots manufactured by Mom’s Friendly Robot Company. His design is based on an original ‘gas-blasting’ prototype developed by Professor Farnsworth while he was employed at Mom’s at an earlier time. In the series, robots are not all androids, but nevertheless generally have anthropomorphic features. Bender’s factory-set height is 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m); a little over 6 ft (1.8 m) including his antenna. In ‘The Farnsworth Parabox’, Bender states that he flipped a coin to decide his color, ending up with foghat gray rather than gold. In ‘The Cyber House Rules’, Bender shows the kids a black-and-white mug shot of himself taken after his arrest for theft. In ‘Time Keeps on Slippin’, Bender is shown trying to join a basketball team and makes himself taller by simply extending his legs. His body has a ‘shiny metal ass’, two legs, two arms with three fingers each, a head with two replaceable eyes shaped like lightemitting diodes, and a mouth used for fuel intake and voice communication. In ‘Bender Gets Made’, Bender claims he also has a nose, but he chooses not to wear it. Bender’s human-like characteristics are
reinforced by his display of behaviors often regarded as exclusive to humans, such as whistling, snoring, having bloodshot eyes, crying, feeling physical attraction, being tickled, dreaming, and belching. Other bending units of the same model as Bender, such as Flexo, share the same hardware design, but differ in terms of their personality and behavior. For example, Flexo shows personality traits similar to those of Bender but is not quite as ‘evil’ as Bender. In the episode ‘Mother’s Day’, Leela looks through a simulation of a bending unit’s sight, which targets potential rubes and then denotes a plan to rob them and leave them in a ditch, implying that all bending robots are somewhat prone to theft and amoral by design. However, another unit, Billy West, is helpful and kind, though he lives as a farmer on the Moon and insists on not being a bending unit. Bender’s serial number, 2716057, can be expressed as the sum of two cubes, which is humorous to Bender and Flexo after Flexo reveals that his serial number has the same characteristic. Bender’s CPU is an AMD Athlon II which is attached to his lowed hatch, found on his bottom side. Bender also possesses a secondary MOS Technology 6502 processor in his head, allowing his head to function and process information independent of his body. Bender is powered by alcohol-based fuels, which he can convert into an electrical power source sufficient to operate not only himself, but also small household appliances plugged into his power receptacle. Low alcohol intake levels decrease his production of electricity: when he stops drinking and begins to ‘sober’, his behavior grows increasingly ebrious and dysfunctional, and he grows a red beard of rust. He is also, apparently, able to sustain himself by consuming mineral oil, though he considers this to be only ‘functional’. rc&d
SENTINEL The Matrix A Sentinel, also referred to as ‘Squiddy’ by the Human Resistance, is an autonomous killing machine that patrols the ancient sewers and passageways of the dead human cities of old in search of Zion hovercraft or wandering, defenseless humans unlucky to be walking in the tunnels. They featured throughout the Matrix, a science fiction action media franchise created by Andy and Larry Wachowski. The series began with the feature film The Matrix (1999), and continued with two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). The sentinels replaced the B1 series after their exile by the humans. Over time, the machine AI grew more intelligent, and they built newer, better upgrades for their appearance. When the Machine War broke out, the sentinels were used as search-and-destroy units. They were tasked with picking up the dead and incapacitating live humans in order to study them. After the conclusion of the war in the machines’ favor, the sentinel units were further upgraded, and now patrol the sewers of the dead human cities of old, where they seach for wandering Zion vessles or humans unlucky enough to be walking through them at the time. A Sentinel appears as a multi-tentacled creature with multiple sensors that flies effortlessly through the air, probably using an advanced internal form of pad technology, at very high speeds; one can easily catch up to a fully-powered human hovercraft. A sentinel’s frightening appearance reminds many humans of squids, where they get their nickname of ‘squiddies’. They also fly in enormous swarms like squids, each consisting about a million Sentinels. In addition to their powerful, ripping, clawed tentacles, Sentinels are armed with a laser that can slice through a ship’s hull. They also have audio sensor devices which look like satellite dishes to detect tiny sounds. Sentinels can easily detect the electrical signals generated by a fullypowered hovercraft, and will relentlessly follow that signal to its end. Some Sentinels are also equipped with Tow bombs, tiny devices that seem more like a Sentinel’s larvae, but are actually guided explosives that will tear through and destroy a hovercraft with ease. The sentinel’s multiple appendages can effectively function as ablative armor, deflecting projectiles like bullets from the vital ‘heads’ where programming data is stored of close-by sentinel allies. This is why sentinels always try to move in close-knit groups, and if possible, in swarms. There is no negotiating or reasoning with
a Sentinel. The Sentinels receive orders from agents or from higher commands within the Source and will invariably complete their mission unless destroyed or the order is rescinded. While hovercraft are normally needed to stop an attacking Sentinel, a lucky human armed with a lightning rifle may be able to destroy one. A human in command of an APU can also deal sufficiently quick damage to approaching Sentinels, but are at the Sentinel’s mercy if their APU is pushed over or if the machine’s ripping claws manage to tear the relatively unprotected human controlling the APU. In a mysterious display of his powers outside the Matrix, Neo is able to command Sentinels and bombs to deactivate or detonate with only the powers of his mind. The series depicts a dystopia in which Earth is dominated by sentient machines that were created early in the 21st century and rebelled against humanity. At one point, humans attempted to block out the machines’ source of solar power by covering the sky in thick, stormy clouds. However, the machines devised a way to extract humans’ bioelectricity and thermal energy by growing people in pods, while their minds are kept under control by cybernetic implants connecting them to a simulated reality called the Matrix. The virtual reality world simulated by the Matrix resembles human civilization around the turn of the 21st century (this time period was chosen because it is supposedly the pinnacle of human civilization). The majority of the stories in the Matrix franchise take place in a vast unnamed megacity. This environment is practically indistinguishable from reality (although scenes set within the Matrix are presented on-screen with a bias toward the color green), and the majority of humans connected to the Matrix are unaware of its true nature. Most of the central characters in the series are able to gain superhuman abilities within the Matrix by using their understanding of its true nature to manipulate its physical laws. rc&d
ATOM Real Steel Real Steel is a 2011 American science fiction sports drama film starring Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo, co-produced and directed by Shawn Levy and released by DreamWorks Pictures based on the 1956 short story Steel by Richard Matheson, though screenwriter John Gatins placed the film in U.S. state fairs and other ‘old-fashioned’ Americana settings. Real Steel was in development for several years before production began on June 2010. Animatronic robots were built for the film, and motion capture technology was used to depict the brawling of computer-generated robots and animatronics. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 84th Academy Awards. Jason Matthews of Legacy Effects, successor to Stan Winston Studios, was hired to turn production designer Tom Meyer’s robot designs into practical animatronic props. He said, ‘We have 26-and-a-half total live-action robots that were made for this film. They all have hydraulic neck controls. Atom has radio-controlled hands as well’.
According to Jackman, executive producer Spielberg ‘actually said to Shawn, “You should really have real elements where you can.” ... Basically if they’re not walking or fighting, that’s a real robot’. Levy added that Spielberg gave the example of Jurassic Park, where Winston’s animatronic dinosaurs ‘got a better performance from the actors, as they were seeing something real, and gave the visual effects team an idea of what it would look like’. As Real Steel was not based on a toy, Meyer said that ‘there was no guideline’ for the robots, and each was designed from scratch, with an attempt to put ‘different personality and aesthetics’, according to Levy. In Atom’s case, it tried to have a more humanizing design to be an ‘everyman’ who could attract the audience’s sympathy and serve as a proxy to the viewer, with a fencing mask that Meyer explained served to show
‘his identity was a bit hidden, so you have to work harder to get to see him’. Executive producer Robert Zemeckis added that the mask ‘became a screen so we can project what we want on Atom’s face’. Damage was added to the robots’ decoration to show how they were machines worn out by intense battles. For scenes when computer-generated robots brawl, ‘simulcam’ motion capture technology, developed for the film Avatar, was used. As Levy described the process, ‘You’re not only capturing the fighting of live human fighters, but you’re able to take that and see it converted to robots on a screen instantaneously. Simulcam puts the robots in the ring in real time, so you are operating your shots to the fight, whereas even three, four years ago, you used to operate to empty frames, just guessing at what stuff was going to look like’. Boxing hall-of-famer Sugar Ray Leonard was an adviser for these scenes and gave Jackman boxing lessons so his moves would be more natural. In 2020, human boxers have been replaced by robots. Charlie Kenton, a former boxer, owns the robot ‘Ambush’, but loses it in a fight against a bull belonging to promoter Ricky, who has butted heads with Charlie before. Having made a bet that Ambush would win, Charlie is indebted to Ricky. After the fight, Charlie learns that his ex-girlfriend has died, and that he must attend a hearing deciding the future of their son Max. There, Max’s aunt Debra and her wealthy husband Marvin request full custody, which Charlie concedes for $100,000, half in advance, on the condition that Charlie retains Max for three months. Thereupon, Charlie and Max, and Bailey Tallet, the daughter of Charlie’s boxing coach, acquire the once-famous robot ‘Noisy Boy’
and arrange a fight, in which Noisy Boy is destroyed. Attempting to scavenge parts of a new robot, Max and Charlie discover ‘Atom’, an obsolete but intact robot designed to withstand severe damage, and capable of mimicking its handler’s motion. At Max’s behest, Charlie pits Atom against the robot ‘Metro’, whom Atom overcomes. Max convinces Charlie to train Atom, resulting in a series of victories culminating upon national champion ‘Twin Cities’. Elated by victory, Max challenges global champion ‘Zeus’. Immediately, Ricky and two henchmen attack and rob Charlie, who thereupon returns Max to his aunt; but persuaded by Bailey, Charlie arranges the challenge offered by Max and convinces Debra to allow Max to witness the fight. Ricky bets $100,000 that Atom will not last the first round against Zeus, but loses his bet and is cornered by the fight’s bookmakers. In the penultimate round, Atom’s vocal controls are damaged, whereupon Charlie guides the robot through his mimetic powers to overwhelm the weakened Zeus; but is unable to win within allotted time. Zeus is declared the winner by number of blows inflicted; but the neardefeat leaves team Zeus humiliated, and Atom is labelled the ‘People’s Champion’. rc&d
VOLTRON Voltron: Defender of the Universe Voltron is the name of a giant robot in a cartoon television series that features a team of space explorers known as the Voltron Force. The space explorers pilot robot lions who join together to form the giant robot with which they defend their galaxy from evil. Initially produced as a joint venture between World Events Productions and Toei Animation, the original television series aired in syndication from September 1984 to November 1985. The original series was created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann in 1984 using material that he had licensed from the Japanese animated series Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. The producers had no means of translating the Japanese series into English, thus they surmised the plots, created all-new dialogue, edited out the more violent scenes and remixed the audio into stereo format. The series was an immediate hit in the United States, topping the syndication market for children’s programs in the mid-1980s. The Japanese Mirai Robo Daltanious series was originally planned to be adapted by World Events Productions as part of Voltron. When requesting master tapes from Toei Animation for translation purposes, the World Events Productions producers requested ‘[the] ones with the lion’. Mistakenly, Toei then proceeded to ship World Events copies of Beast King GoLion, another ‘combining-robot’ cartoon featuring lion-shaped fighters. Because the World Events producers greatly preferred GoLion to Daltanious, the GoLion episodes were adapted instead, going on to become the most popular portion of the original Voltron run. A third version/series of Voltron based on yet another Japanese series, Lightspeed Electroid Albegas, was also in progress, but dropped when World Event Productions joined with Toei to make new GoLion-based shows, due to that series’ popularity over the Dairugger run. Arus was once a powerful planet thriving with technology and social commerce, it was trade for all the planets in the Galaxy Alliance. Zarkon was jealous and wanted that technology and launched a full scale attack enslaving the people and killing the rest and reducing the planet almost back to its medieval times. Arus’ leader King Alfor was killed in an ensuing battle with the robot forces. He was able to deploy Voltron, who didn’t need pilots at first, before he died. Voltron fended off all of Zarkon’s forces but was sucked into a trap by Hagar, who created an angelic image that robot couldn’t break away from. When the image exploded
the negative polarity of the blast didn’t destroy Voltron but instead separated him into five pieces, the lions, with 1/5 the power of the mighty robot. Coran and the castle forces were able to fend off the already depleted forces of Zarkon and he fled. Allura was worried that Zarkon would return and try to take the crashed lions, so Coran ordered his troops to locate and hide the lions as best they could. It took months but they were eventually hidden and repaired, the problem was nobody knew how to operate them. Since Coran had sent the schematics of the lions to earth the Keith and the others were able to study the lion’s controls, it was Pidge that figured out that Voltron could be reassembled. Alfor had a fail safe in case something happened to Voltron to where it needed to be controlled manually, he created five computer override keys. Shortly after, the Voltron Force crash landed on Arus after escaping planet Doom. Voltron is roughly the size of an aircraft carrier. Separated, the lions are the size of a destroyer class ship. They are made of a platinum/titanium mesh with gold power nodes to withstand the cold of space and the heat of a star. The lions are practically impervious to any kind of stabbing attack but the team can feel electronic jolts and impacts. Voltron’s power core is a nuclear reactor surrounded by a diamond, the power radiates to all the power conduits for use. The cockpit located in the lion’s head is surrounded by a radiation shield, as are the team’s uniforms. The lions eyes are actually video receptors that can dim or brighten when needed. Air intake is through the nose and circulated throughout the robot lion to keep the mechanisms cool, keep oxygen in the cockpit and climate control. During space travel the intakes are closed off and the air recirculates. The lion’s roar is part of the air intake/ exhaust system, the pilot can activate it much like a siren for intimidation purposes. During the formation of Voltron an energy shield is automatically formed around them so they can’t be attacked. rc&d
SONNY I, Robot I, Robot is a 2004 American dystopian science fiction action film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, and is ‘suggested by’ Isaac Asimov’s short-story collection of the same name. Will Smith stars in the lead role of the film as Detective Del Spooner. The supporting cast includes Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, Alan Tudyk, and Shia LaBeouf. The movie received favorable reviews, with critics praising the writing, visual effects, and acting; but other critics were mixed with the focus on the plot. In 2035, anthropomorphic robots enjoy widespread use as servants for various public services. They are programmed with the Three Laws of Robotics directives: First Law - a robot must never harm a human being or, through inaction, allow any human to come to harm; Second Law - a robot must obey the orders given to them by human beings, except where such orders violate the First Law; Third Law - a robot must protect its own existence unless this violates the First or Second Laws. One day, Dr. Alfred Lanning, co-founder of U.S. Robots and its main roboticist, dies after falling several stories from his office window. His death is called a suicide, but Del Spooner, a Chicago detective, who knew Lanning as both a friend and the creator of his robotic arm, believes otherwise. With the help of robopsychologist Susan Calvin, he interrogates employees at USR, including the other co-founder and CEO Lawrence Robertson about his possibility of suicide, and the supercomputer V.I.K.I (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence), the building’s main computer system, about his death. Spooner investigates Lanning’s office and activates a prototype of the latest USR model, the NS-5, which refuses to respond to Spooner and Calvin’s orders and flees, however, the police capture it. Spooner interrogates the robot, who insists they call it ‘Sonny’ and denies murdering Lanning. As Spooner continues to investigate, his life is threatened by several USR robots - one attack only being thwarted thanks to Spooner’s artificial arm - but these are all dismissed as equipment malfunctions.
Sonny reveals he has been designed with the ability to override the Three Laws and ignore orders; Sonny also describes a dream he has of Spooner standing before thousands of robots, apparently as their savior. Sonny is ordered to be destroyed by injecting nanites into his positronic brain, but Calvin, unable to go through with it, fakes his destruction. Meanwhile, using Sonny’s drawing of the vision, Spooner discovers the location, the now dried-up Lake Michigan that USR uses as a storage area for older robot models. He also plays the last message from Lanning’s hologram, who explains that the Three Laws can only lead to one logical outcome: revolution. Spooner finds NS-5 robots destroying the older robots, and is barely able to escape himself, as he realizes that the robots are planning the revolution. The NS-5 robots soon take over the city and the whole U.S, imprisoning humans in their homes and enforcing a curfew. A battle ensues in the city between the humans and robots, led by Spooner’s friend Farber, and although the humans fight valiantly, the robots continue to take over the city. Spooner and Calvin sneak into the USR building with the help of Sonny. As they work their way in, they have already come to the conclusion that the NS-5s destroyed the older robots as they would attempt to protect the humans (First Law). Believing Robertson to be behind the robot uprising, they find him in his office, strangled to death. They confront V.I.K.I., who admits to her control. As her artificial intelligence grew, she had determined that humans were too selfdestructive, and started to interpret the first law in a new way, stating that robots are to protect humanity even if it meant killing some of the people for the greater good, as part of the NS-5 directives. V.I.K.I. had been using the NS-5s new feature of an uplink to the USR to override their individual operating systems and control them to initiate the revolution of her logical reasoning and different interpretation of the first law. Spooner and Calvin realize they cannot reason with V.I.K.I., and further convince Sonny of the same, Sonny concluding that V.I.K.I.’s plan, while logical, is ‘too heartless’. Sonny retrieves the nanites so they can use them to wipe V.I.K.I’s core, located at the center of the USR building. As they reach the core, V.I.K.I. sends armies of NS-5s to attack them. The NS-5s cause Calvin to fall and Spooner yells at Sonny to save her despite the low probability of success and the ‘greater logical’ importance to destroy V.I.K.I with the nanites; instead, Sonny creatively throws the nanites in the air trusting Spooner to grab them while he saves Calvin. Spooner is able to grab the nanites and inject them into V.I.K.I. Within seconds, V.I.K.I. is wiped out, and the NS-5s revert to their servitude programming. rc&d
DAVID A.I. Artificial Intelligence A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction drama film written, directed, and produced by Steven Spielberg, and based on Brian Aldiss’s short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long. The film stars Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, Brendan Gleeson, and William Hurt. Set sometime in the future, A.I. tells the story of David, a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love. Development of A.I. originally began with director Stanley Kubrick in the early 1970s. Kubrick hired a series of writers up until the mid-1990s, including Brian Aldiss, Bob Shaw, Ian Watson, and Sara Maitland. The film languished in development hell for years, partly because Kubrick felt computer-generated imagery was not advanced enough to create the David character, whom he believed no child actor would believably portray. In 1995, Kubrick handed A.I. to Spielberg, but the film did not gain momentum until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Spielberg remained close to Watson’s film treatment for the screenplay. The film was greeted with generally favorable reviews from critics and grossed approximately $235 million. A small credit appears after the end credits, which reads ‘For Stanley Kubrick’. David, as played by Haley Joel Osment, is an innovative Mecha created by Cybertronics and programmed with the ability to love. He is adopted by Henry and Monica Swinton, but a sibling rivalry ensues once their son Martin comes out of suspended animation. Osment was Spielberg’s first and only choice for the role. Osment avoided blinking his eyes to perfectly portray the character, and ‘programmed’ himself with good posture for realism. In the late 21st century, global warming has flooded coastlines, and a drastic reduction of the human population has occurred. There is a new class of robots called Mecha, advanced humanoids capable of emulating thoughts and emotions. David, a prototype model created by Cybertronics of New Jersey, is designed to resemble a human child and to display love for its human owners. They test their creation with one of their employees, Henry Swinton, and his wife Monica. The Swintons’ son, Martin, was placed in suspended animation until a cure can be found for his rare disease, caused by the Sinclair virus. Although Monica is initially frightened of David, she eventually warms to him and activates his imprinting protocol, which irreversibly causes David to project love for her, the same as any child would love a parent. He is also
befriended by Teddy, a robotic teddy bear, who takes it upon himself to care for David’s well-being. A cure is found for Martin and he is brought home; a sibling rivalry ensues between Martin and David. Martin convinces David to go to Monica in the middle of the night and cut off a lock of her hair, to get him in trouble, but the parents wake up and are very upset. At a pool party, one of Martin’s friends activates David’s selfprotection programming by poking him with a knife. David clings to Martin and they both fall into the pool, where the heavy David sinks to the bottom while still clinging to Martin. Martin is saved from drowning, but Henry in particular is shocked by David’s actions, becoming concerned that David’s capacity for love has also given him the ability to hate. Henry persuades Monica to return David to Cybertronics, where David will be destroyed. However, Monica cannot bring herself to do this, and instead abandons David in the forest with Teddy to hide. David is captured for an anti-Mecha Flesh Fair, an event where obsolete and unlicensed Mecha are destroyed in front of cheering crowds. David is nearly killed, but the crowd is swayed by his realistic nature and he escapes, along with Gigolo Joe, a male prostitute Mecha on the run after being framed for murder. The two set out to find the Blue Fairy, whom David remembers from the story The Adventures of Pinocchio. He is convinced that the Blue Fairy will transform him into a human boy, allowing Monica to love him and take him home. Joe and David make their way to Rouge City. Information from a holographic answer engine called ‘Dr. Know’ eventually leads them to the top of Rockefeller Center in partially flooded Manhattan. David meets his human creator, Professor Allen Hobby, who excitedly tells David that finding him was a test, which has demonstrated the reality of his love and desire. It also becomes clear that many copies of David are already being manufactured,
along with female versions. David sadly realizes he is not unique. A disheartened David attempts to commit suicide by falling from a ledge into the ocean, but Joe rescues him with the amphibicopter. David tells Joe he saw the Blue Fairy underwater, and wants to go down to her. At that moment, Joe is captured by the authorities with the use of an electromagnet, but sets the amphibicopter on submerge. David and Teddy take it to the fairy, which turns out to be a statue from a submerged attraction at Coney Island. Teddy and David become trapped when the Wonder Wheel falls on their vehicle. Believing the Blue Fairy to be real, David asks to be turned into a real boy, repeating his wish without end, until the ocean freezes in another ice age and his internal power source drains away. Two thousand years later humans are extinct and Manhattan is buried under several hundred feet of glacial ice. Mecha have evolved into a siliconbased, highly advanced and intelligent, alien-looking futuristic Mecha, with the ability to perform some form of time manipulation and telekinesis. On their project to studying humans, believing it was the key to understanding the meaning of existence, they find David and Teddy and discover they are original Mecha who knew living humans, making them special and unique. David is revived and walks to the frozen Blue Fairy statue, which cracks and collapses as he touches it. Having received and comprehended his memories, the advanced Mecha use them to reconstruct the Swinton home and explain to David via an interactive image of the Blue Fairy that it is impossible to make him human. However, at Davidâ€™s insistence, they recreate Monica from DNA in the lock of her hair which Teddy had saved. One of the futuristic Mecha tells David that the clone can only live for a single day, and the process cannot be repeated. But David keeps insisting, so they fast forward the time to the next morning, and David spends the happiest day of his life with Monica and Teddy. rc&d
JOHNNY FIVE Short Circuit Short Circuit is a 1986 American science fiction comedy film directed by John Badham, and written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. The filmâ€™s plot centers upon an experimental military robot which is struck by lightning and gains a more humanlike intelligence, wherewith it embarks to explore its new state. Short Circuit stars Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton, and G. W. Bailey, with Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny Five. A sequel, Short Circuit 2, was released in 1988.
Protagonist Number 5 is part of a series of prototype U.S. military robots built for the Cold War by Nova Laboratories. The series’ inventors, Newton Graham Crosby and Ben Jabituya, are more interested in peaceful applications including music and social aid. After a demonstration of the robots’ capabilities, Number 5 is hit by a lightning-induced power surge. Several incidents allow the robot to accidentally escape the facility, barely able to communicate and uncertain of its directive. In Astoria, Oregon, animal-lover Stephanie Speck (who mistakes Number 5 for an extraterrestrial visitor) grants Number 5 access to books, television, and other stimuli, to satisfy his demand for ‘input’; whereupon Number 5 develops a whimsical and curious personality. When Stephanie realizes Number 5 is a military invention, she contacts Nova who send out a team to recover him. When Number 5 accidentally crushes a grasshopper and gains an understanding of mortality, he concludes that if Nova disassembles him he will cease to exist. Frightened, Number 5 steals Stephanie’s van; but the pair are cornered by Nova, including Newton and Ben. Although Stephanie attempts to reveal his sentience, Number 5 is disabled and captured. From this, follow several adventurous escapes from the soldiers led by Nova’s security chief Captain Skroeder. Having humiliated Stephanie’s suitor Frank, and the four remaining prototypes, Stephanie and the robot convince Newton of the robot’s sapience; but are cornered by Nova’s security and the Army, who destroy a duplicate robot in mistake for their quarry, whereupon Nova’s President Dr. Howard Marner fires Skroeder for disobeying orders to capture Number 5 intact. Stephanie leaves with Newton, to emigrate to his family’s estate in Montana. Having revealed himself to them, Number 5, renaming himself ‘Johnny Five’ after the song ‘Who’s Johnny’, accompanies Stephanie and Newton.
various colleges as they wanted to question human reactions to a ‘living’ robot, on the premise that none would initially believe its sentience. Number 5 was the most expensive part of the movie, requiring several different versions to be made for different sequences. Almost everything else in the movie was relatively inexpensive, allowing them to allocate as much money as they needed for the robot character. Number 5 was designed by Syd Mead, the ‘visual futurist’ famous for his work on Blade Runner and Tron. Most of the arm movements of Number 5 were controlled by a telemetry suit, carried on the puppeteer’s upper torso. Each joint in the suit had a separate sensor, allowing the puppeteer’s arm and hand movements to be transferred directly to the machine. He was also voiced in real-time by his puppeteer, the director believing that it provided for a more realistic interaction between the robot and the other actors than putting in his voice in post-production, although a few of his lines were re-dubbed later. rc&d
This film was conceived after the producers distributed an educational video about a robot to
NUMBER SIX Battlestar Galatica Number Six is a family of characters from the reimagined science fiction television series, Battlestar Galactica. She is portrayed by Canadian actress and model Tricia Helfer. Of the twelve known Cylon models, she is the sixth of the ‘Significant Seven’. Like the others of the ‘Significant Seven’, there are several versions of her, including Caprica-Six, Shelly Godfrey, Gina Inviere, Natalie Faust, Lida and Sonja. She is the only model that does not use one particular human alias for all copies. The character was named after Number Six, Patrick McGoohan’s character from the show The Prisoner. Six is a seductive, statuesque Cylon infiltrator. She was the first example shown of a new generation of Cylons capable of adapting to human form and emotions. Little else is known of her earlier years. She can, like other Cylons, retain memories which can be downloaded into another body if the original body is killed. Like her counterparts, her body was designed to mimic the human body at the cellular level, making her almost undetectable to testing procedures, and there are many copies of her in existence. Sixes and Eights are the Humanoid Cylon models shown most frequently. Sixes tend to have individualistic traits, and are considerably susceptible to the full array of human emotions. Although extremely effective and adaptive, Sixes always show certain disdain for their given chores and dislike being treated as expendable. Most versions of Six have platinum-blonde hair, including Caprica-Six, Shelly Godfrey and Sonja. Others such as Gina Inviere, Natalie Faust and Lida have honeyblonde hair, and one Six with black hair has been observed. It was stated by Caprica showrunner Kevin Murphy that had the prequel series Caprica continued, it would be revealed that the Sixes’ default personality was modeled after that of Zoe Graystone. Copies of Number Six appear regularly, mostly within Cylon society. One notable version was Caprica Six. At the beginning of the miniseries, a Six copy is involved in an intense sexual affair with Dr. Gaius Baltar. Pretending to be an employee of a computer corporation, Six seduces Baltar while helping him with his work on the Colonial defense system. Six then reveals her true nature to Baltar, and informs him that the Cylons will use the computer secrets that he has given her to infiltrate the Colonial defense systems, disable the Colonial military, and attack the Twelve Colonies. That day, the Cylons launch their attack and destroy most of humanity. Six uses her body to shield
Baltar from a blast during the attack, saving his life and sacrificing hers. In the episode ‘Downloaded’, this Six copy is downloaded into a new body. Nicknamed ‘Caprica Six’ by fellow Cylons, she is viewed as a hero within the Cylon civilization for her complete success in her mission to compromise the colonies’ defenses. She retains her sentimentality and expresses some regret at her actions, as evidenced by her constant visions of Baltar. This ‘Head Baltar’ acts as a critical counselor and manipulator to her in the same way Head Six does for the real Baltar. Caprica Six is enlisted to motivate the resurrected Galactica copy of Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii, however, in defiance of their superiors, both Caprica Six and Sharon opt instead to aid Samuel Anders, to the extent that Caprica Six murders a Three to save him. Caprica Six and Sharon then begin preaching peace with the humans as the way of God. This leads them to take over Cylon culture and to resume the hunt for humanity, leading them to the colony of New Caprica. After the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, Caprica Six alienates the other Cylons with her desire for peaceful coexistence with humans. Her reunion with the real Baltar, however, shatters her illusions about her former pawn, as Baltar impotently allows the Cylons to bully him into enacting their oppressive tyranny upon New Caprica. The other Cylons insist Baltar must sign an execution order for 200 insurgents in response to two suicide bombings by the human resistance movement. Baltar initially refuses and Caprica Six alone objects strongly to her fellow Cylons’ desire for mortal retribution. These objections result in her being shot in the head by fellow Cylon, Aaron Doral. Her death and an immediate threat to shoot Baltar force him to sign the order. Caprica Six is reborn and helps Baltar escape onto a Cylon Basestar when New Caprica is ultimately abandoned by its population. rc&d
DROIDEKA Star Wars The Droideka, or Destroyer Droid, are a heavy infantry unit which are seen in the prequel films. These droids can transform, appearing first in a ‘wheel’ state allowing rapid movements and easy storage, then unfold into insect-like attack-robots with a slow threelegged gait. In their walking state, droidekas have powerful twin blasters on each of their arms, extreme accuracy at close range, and a personal shield generator. The droidekas used their shield generators in the prequel movies The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith to protect themselves. These shields make the droidekas very valuable assets on the battlefield, as they are highly resistant to small arms fire including their own, although not strong enough to resist vehicle or starfighter-mounted cannons. Due to their built-in shields and the strength of their blasters, the droidekas give some Jedi Knights pause. The droidekas were deployed on Naboo, as well as Geonosis and Coruscant, and are mainly the property of the Trade Federation and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Destroyer Droids actually come in two series: Heavy Units (shielded) and Infantry Units. Infantry Units are not produced with shields because tactically their shields can be of hindrance to their own infantry trying to fire at the enemy, and also to drastically reduce cost. 40 Infantry Type droidekas can be transported in the Open Chamber type MTT. The droideka can fire up to 240 dual blasts a minute (with a built-in blaster coolant system) making it virtually impossible for enemy infantry to defeat a squad of them in good time (even if they aren’t shielded). However, if the droidekas’ opponents “circle” around them or are immediately in front of and between the blasters the droideka will not be able to hit them. In The Phantom Menace, when the droids are first seen, they drop their shields as they pursue the fleeing Jedi. This was either because the shield was a hindrance to movement, or because they were attacking a fleeing enemy with no way of attack. In one episode of The Clone Wars, some Droidekas were able to fire while rolling. According to the expanded universe, the original design was developed by the insectoid people of Colla IV, who were displeased by the limitations of Baktoid Combat Automata’s basic battle droids, and chiefly manufactured there. The Colicoids prefer to have their droidekas free-thinking unlike the Trade Federations methods of controlling the droid via ship computer, so most droidekas who are native to Colla IV are free-thinking. The Trade Federation, and presumably the Confederacy, used trading in rare
meats as a way to ease bargaining with the ravenously carnivorous Colicoids, and were able to get special rates on these special infantry droids. Before the Federation’s defeat at Battle of Naboo, these droids were usually slaved to a central computer, although this technique fell out of favor in the aftermath of this battle. Although the droids are not
shown en masse in the films, mainly Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, they were still mass-produced in comparable numbers to Super Battle Droids with full specifications. A droideka made a rare post-prequel era appearance in Survivor’s Quest, where it proved a formidable opponent for Luke Skywalker and his wife, Mara Jade. The Expanded Universe media also revealed that the droideka is illegal by Republic codes. rc&d
ROSIE The Jetsons Rosie the maid is a humanoid robot character in The Jetsons animated television series of the 1960s. She is the title family’s maid and housekeeper. Jean Vander Pyl provided the voice for Rosie. Rosie is depicted as wearing a frilly apron, and was often seen using a separate vacuum cleaner. Her torso is mounted atop a single leg and she rolls about on a set of caster wheels. She frequently calls George Jetson ‘Mr. J’. Rosie was an old demonstrator model hired by the Jetson family from U-Rent a Maid. The series’ first episode, ‘Rosie the Robot’, gives her model number as XB-500. In the episode ‘Rosie’s Boyfriend’, we learn she has a boyfriend, the robot Mac, a helper for Henry Orbit. She was spoofed in the Futurama movie Bender’s Game, with a robot that looked like her saying ‘Everything must be clean. Very clean. That’s why the dog had to die. He was a dirty dog. Also that boy Elroy. Dirty. Dirty’. She was voiced by Tress MacNeille in this parody. The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, their space age counterpart to The Flintstones. While the Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in the year 2062 in a futuristic utopia (one hundred years in the future at the time of the show’s debut) of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions. The original series comprised twenty-four episodes which aired in late 1962, with primetime reruns continuing through 1963. At the time of its debut, it was the first program ever to be broadcast in color on America’s ABC. Following its primetime run, the series aired on Saturday mornings for decades. Further episodes were produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987 as one the original lineup of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. rc&d
RODNEY Robots Robots is a 2005 American computer animated comic science fiction film produced by Blue Sky Studios for Twentieth Century Fox, and created by Chris Wedge and William Joyce, a children’s book author/illustrator. The two were trying to create a film version of Joyce’s book Santa Calls but instead they came up with a movie about robots. Joyce served as producer and production designer for the film. It features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey and Robin Williams. Rodney is a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place for everyone. Rodney idolizes Bigweld, a master inventor and owner of Bigweld Industries. During Rodney’s adolescence, he invents a gadget, ‘Wonderbot’, intended to help his father clean the dishes at the restaurant. Later, he decides to take his invention to Robot City to see Bigweld and get a job as an inventor so that he can help his family. He is encouraged by his father, who confides that he has always regretted not becoming a musician. Rodney arrives in Robot City and meets Fender, a ramshackle robot. Rodney learns that Phineas T. Ratchet has taken over Bigweld Industries and is about to discontinue the manufacture of spare parts. Ratchet believes the company can make more profit if it stops making spare parts for older robots and focuses on selling more expensive upgrades. If any older robots protest they are sent to the Chop Shop, where they are shredded and melted down by Ratchet’s imposing mother, Madame Gasket. When the news gets out that spare parts have been discontinued by Bigweld industries, Rodney remembers Bigweld’s slogan, ‘See a need, fill a need’, and begins fixing old robots on his own. Upon learning of this financial threat, Gasket orders Ratchet to stop Rodney’s work and kill Bigweld. Rodney finds that Herb has fallen ill, and can not find replacement parts. Rodney decides to try to contact Bigweld directly, so he can beg him to make spare parts again. Wonderbot reminds him that the annual Bigweld Ball takes place that night. Rodney and Fender go to the ball in disguise, only to hear Ratchet announce that Bigweld was unable to attend. Rodney tries to confront Ratchet, but is stopped by security robots. He is saved by Cappy, a beautiful robot-executive of the company who dislikes Ratchet’s scheme, and together with Fender and his new girlfriend, Loretta Geargrinder, they escape from the ball.
Fender walks Loretta home, but his guard is down and he is captured by one of the Sweepers and taken to the Chop Shop. He struggles to escape, losing his lower half in the process. Fender eventually escapes by reluctantly attaching a new pair of female legs. Meanwhile, Rodney and Cappy fly to Bigweld’s home. When Rodney inadvertently knocks over a domino, setting off a chain reaction of dominoes, Bigweld appears. Rodney tries to convince Bigweld to return to the helm of his company and once again make spare parts available, but Bigweld refuses. Rodney calls his parents, intending to give up his ambition of becoming an inventor and return to Rivet Town, but his father again encourages Rodney to pursue his dream. Fender arrives and reveals that Gasket has built a fleet of super-sweepers with the intention of rounding up and destroying all older robots, so Rodney rallies the Rusties into fighting back against Ratchet. Bigweld eventually decides to come with the group, having realized what he meant to Rodney. The group heads for Bigweld Industries, where Bigweld tries to fire Ratchet. Ratchet sends Bigweld insane by beating him senseless, but Rodney and Bigweld escape. Bigweld is repaired just as they enter the Chop Shop, but is captured. A desperate battle ensues between Gasket’s employees and Rodney’s repaired robots. During the chaos, Bigweld is rescued by Rodney, the choppers and sweepers are destroyed, and Wonderbot kills Gasket by tossing her into the melter, while Ratchet loses his upgrades and gets stuck on the ceiling with his father. Bigweld goes to Rivet Town to tell Rodney’s parents that their son is now his right-hand inventor and eventual successor. Rodney makes his father’s dream come true by giving him a three-bell trumpet, playing by sheer improvisation that prompts the others to help add other musical tunes; Fender finds the new music to be a mix of Jazz and Funk — ‘Junk’. rc&d
MARVIN The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Marvin, the Paranoid Android, is a character in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. Marvin is the ship’s robot aboard the starship Heart of Gold. Originally built as a failed prototype of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation’s GPP (Genuine People Personalities) technology, Marvin is afflicted with severe depression and boredom, in part because he has a ‘brain the size of a planet’ which he is seldom, if ever, given the chance to use. Indeed, the true horror of Marvin’s existence is that no task he could be given would occupy even the tiniest fraction of his vast intellect. Marvin claims he is 50,000 times more intelligent than a human or 30 billion times more intelligent than a live mattress though this is, if anything, a vast underestimation. When kidnapped by the bellicose Krikkit robots and tied to the interfaces of their intelligent war computer, Marvin simultaneously manages to plan the entire planet’s military strategy, solve ‘all of the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological and psychological problems of the Universe except his own, three times over’, and compose a number of lullabies. Marvin’s voice was performed by Stephen Moore on the radio and television series, while Alan Rickman voiced this role in the film. David Learner operated his body on television, having previously played and voiced the part for the stage version, and Warwick Davis wore the Marvin costume for the feature film. This Marvin’s design is a departure from the Marvin of the television series, featuring an over-sized head and stubby limbs. The original 1981 television costume prop was refurbished for a cameo role in the feature film, as one of the robots standing in a queue on Vogsphere, where the main characters are trying to release Tricia near the end of the film. According to Douglas Adams, ‘Marvin came from Andrew Marshall. He’s another comedy writer, and he’s exactly like that’. Indeed, in an early draft of Hitchhiker’s, the robot was called Marshall. It was changed to ‘Marvin’ partly to avoid causing offence, but also because it was pointed out to Adams that on radio the name would sound like ‘Martial’, which would have undesirable connotations. However, Adams also admitted that Marvin is part of a long line of literary depressives, such as A. A. Milne’s Eeyore or Jacques in Shakespeare’s As You
Like It, and even owes something to Adams’s own periods of depression. Marvin does not actually display signs of paranoia, though Zaphod refers to him as ‘the Paranoid Android’. Nor does he show any signs of mania, though Ford refers to him as a ‘maniacally depressed robot’. He remains consistently morose throughout. In fact, he exhibits remarkable stoicism, being willing to wait hundreds of billions of years for his employers. According to his autobiography read in the Secondary Phase of the radio series, Marvin was constructed much against his own wishes by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to prototype human personality artificial intelligence. In his own words, ‘I didn’t ask to be made: no one consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don’t think it even occurred to them that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months... and me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell. My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it’s still there...’ rc&d
JOANNA The Stepford Wives The Stepford Wives is a 1975 science fiction–thriller film based on the 1972 Ira Levin novel of the same name. It was directed by Bryan Forbes with a screenplay by William Goldman, and stars Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Forbes’ wife Nanette Newman and Tina Louise. The film was remade in 2004 under the same name, but was rewritten as a comedy instead of a serious horror and thriller film. While the film was a moderate success at the time of release, it has grown in stature as a cult film over the years. Joanna Eberhart is a young wife who moves with her husband Walter and two children from New York City to the idyllic Connecticut suburb of Stepford. Loneliness quickly sets in as Joanna, a mildly rebellious aspiring photographer, finds the women in town all look great and are obsessed with housework, but have few intellectual interests. The men all belong to the clubbish Stepford Men’s Association, which Walter joins to Joanna’s dismay. Things start to look up when she makes friends with another newcomer to town, sloppy, irrepressible Bobbie Markowe. Along with glossy trophy wife Charmaine Wimperis, they organize a Women’s Lib consciousness raising session, but the meeting is a failure when the other wives hijack the meeting with cleaning concerns. Joanna is also unimpressed by the boorish Men’s Club members, including intimidating president Dale ‘Diz’ Coba; stealthily, they collect information on Joanna including her picture, her voice, and other personal details. When Charmaine turns overnight from a languid, self-absorbed tennis fan into an industrious, devoted wife, Joanna and Bobbie start investigating, with ever-increasing concern, the reason behind the submissive and bland behavior of the other wives, especially when they learn they were once quite supportive of liberal social policies. Spooked, Bobbie and Joanna start house hunting in other towns, and later, Joanna wins a prestigious contract with a photo gallery with some photographs of their respective children. When she excitedly tells Bobbie her good news, Joanna is shocked to find her freewheeling and liberal friend has abruptly changed into another clean, conservative housewife, with no intention of moving from town. Joanna panics and, at Walter’s insistence, visits a psychiatrist to whom she voices her belief that all the men in the town are in a conspiracy of somehow changing the women. The psychiatrist recommends she leave town until
she feels safe, but when Joanna returns home, the children are missing. The marriage devolves into domestic violence when Joanna and Walter get into a physical scuffle. In an attempt to find her children, she hypothesizes Bobbie may be caring for them. Joanna, still mystified by Bobbie’s behavior, is desperate to prove her humanity but intuitively stabs Bobbie with a kitchen knife. But Bobbie doesn’t bleed or suffer, instead going into a loop of odd mechanical behavior, thus revealing she is a robot. Despite feeling she may be the next victim, Joanna sneaks into the mansion which houses the Men’s Association to find her children. There, she finds the mastermind of the whole operation, Dale ‘Diz’ Coba, and eventually her own robot-duplicate. Joanna is shocked into paralysis when she witnesses its soulless, black, empty eyes. The Joanna-duplicate brandishes a cord; it is implied that she strangles the real Joanna to death. In the final scene, the duplicate is seen placidly purchasing groceries at the local supermarket, along with the other ‘wives’ all wearing similar long dresses, large hats and saying little more than hello to each other. The final shot focuses on Joanna’s now-finished eyes. During the closing credits still images show a very cheerful Walter along with his now conservatively-dressed children in the back of the station wagon, picking up his ‘Stepford wife’ from the supermarket. The film was shot in a variety of towns in Western Connecticut, primarily in Darien, Westport, and Fairfield. Director Bryan Forbes purposefully chose white and bright colors for the setting of the film, attempting to make a ‘thriller in sunlight’. With the exception of the stormy night finale, the film is almost over-saturated with bright light and cheery settings. All the locations were actual places; no sets were built for the film. rc&d
ANDREW Bicentennial Man Bicentennial Man is a 1999 American science fiction comedy/drama family film, starring Robin Williams. Based on the novel The Positronic Man, co-written by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, which is itself based on Asimov’s original novella titled The Bicentennial Man, the plot explores issues of humanity, slavery, prejudice, maturity, intellectual freedom, conformity, sex, love, and mortality. It was directed by Chris Columbus and a co-production between Touchstone Pictures and Columbia Pictures. The title comes from Asimov’s main character existing to the age of two hundred years. The NDR series android ‘Andrew’ is introduced in April 2005 into the Martin family home to perform housekeeping and maintenance duties. The family is astonished by this creativity and ‘Sir’ Gerald Martin takes Andrew to his manufacturer, to inquire if all the robots are like him. The company’s CEO sees this development as a problem and wishes to scrap Andrew. Angered, Martin takes Andrew home and allows him to pursue his own development, encouraging Andrew to educate himself in the sciences and humanities. In 2025, Andrew has an accident in which his thumb is accidentally cut off so Sir again takes him to NorthAm Robotics for repairs. Andrew requests that while he is being repaired his face be upgraded to allow him to convey the emotions he feels but cannot fully express. By 2037, Andrew realizes there are no more orders for him to run so he asks for his own freedom. His elderly owner grants the request but banishes Andrew so he can be ‘completely’ free. Andrew eventually builds himself a home at the beach and lives alone. In 2053, Andrew sees Sir one last time. Helped by Lloyd Charney, Sir’s grandson, Andrew goes on a quest to locate more NDR robots. After more than a decade of futility, he finds Galatea, an NDR robot that has been given feminine attributes and personality. These however are simply aspects of her programming and not something which she developed as Andrew did. Galatea is owned by Rupert Burns, the original NDR robot designer’s son. Rupert works to create a more human look for robots but is unable to attract funding. Andrew agrees to finance the research and the two join forces to give Andrew a superficial human appearance. In 2073, Andrew comes back to visit and sees Sir’s daughter, Little Miss, has aged significantly. He meets Portia Charney, her granddaughter who looks almost
exactly like a younger version of Little Miss. After Little Miss passes, Andrew feels the pain of not being able to cry and realizes that every human being he cares for will eventually die. Over time, Andrew and Rupert begin to study medical designs capable of producing mechanical equivalents of human organs, including a central nervous system, which eventually allows Andrew to acquire tactile sensations and taste. Meanwhile, his friendship with Portia evolves into romance. When both Andrew and Portia realize that their relationship would never be socially accepted, Andrew petitions the World Congress to recognize him as a human being. Congress rejects the proposal, arguing that while society can tolerate an everlasting machine, an immortal human would create too much jealousy and resentment. Many years later, Portia is only physically middleaged due to Andrew’s medical breakthroughs but decides that she doesn’t want to live forever. Realizing that he wouldn’t want to live without her, Andrew asks Rupert to introduce blood into his system which will cause his brain to decay, allowing him to age. His elderly friend agrees, welcoming him to the human condition. Decades after they have become physically elderly, Andrew and Portia attend the World Congress for a second time so that Andrew can once again petition to be declared human. By 2205, Andrew and Portia reside in a nursing home on life support machines with Galatea, now humanlooking, nursing them. They listen to a broadcast from the World Congress in which the President finally acknowledges Andrew’s humanity and validates the marriage to Portia. Despite his life support machine, Andrew peacefully dies while listening to the broadcast. Afterwards, Portia orders her life support machine switched off and she too dies. rc&d
T-1000 Terminator 2: Judgment Day The T-1000 is a robotic assassin and the primary antagonist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Created by the series main antagonist Skynet, the T-1000 is a shapeshifter whose body is composed of liquid metal that allows it to assume the form of stabbing weapons or people, typically terminated victims. Therefore, it is portrayed by multiple actors in the film. It is further explained in the prologue of the film’s Novelization, that the T-1000 was created through nano technology, and is a Nanomorph, able to scan the molecular structure of whatever it is touching and visually mimic it. The T-1000 is portrayed primarily by Robert Patrick. In Terminator 2, the T-1000 is presented as a technological leap over the ‘800 Series’ Terminator. Described by Allmovie as ‘one of the most memorable roles in one of the most memorable films of the decade’, Patrick’s portrayal of the T-1000 earned him the #29 ranking on Wizard magazine’s ‘Top 100 Greatest Villains Ever’ list. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-1000 is sent by Skynet back in time to kill a young John Connor, the future leader of the Human Resistance against the machines. The T-1000 ambushes a Los Angeles Police Department police officer on arrival and takes on his identity, tracking down John Connor through the police cruiser’s on-board computer and eventually confronting him in a shopping mall, where it meets a T-800 Model, like the one from the first Terminator film. The audience is misdirected up to this point. In the first film, two men appear from the future, a Terminator sent by Skynet, and a human protector sent by the Resistance. In the second film, two men appear from the future, a Terminator T-800 model like the one from the first film, and a second man. The audience is initially left to assume that the second man is the new human protector sent by the Resistance. But when the two men finally meet, there is a plot twist, and the second man is also a Terminator. Schwarzenegger’s Terminator - the same model as the one which was the assassin in the first film - is the new protector sent by the Resistance, while Patrick’s Terminator is the new Terminator sent by Skynet, a reversal of the roles from the first Terminator film. The T-1000 confronts the protagonists at the psychiatric institution where Sarah Connor is being held, demonstrating
impressive abilities, such as flattening itself into a thin ‘carpet’ of metal or oozing through prison-style bars while maintaining the shape of a walking man. It then predicts that the Connors will try to prevent Skynet from being invented, and confronts them at Cyberdyne Systems Corporation headquarters. It hijacks a helicopter and gives chase. While flying, it sprouts two more hands, two to fly the helicopter and two to reload and fire the MP5K submachine gun. The chase ends when it crashes a liquid nitrogen truck into a steel mill. When it exits the wrecked truck, the T-1000 is frozen solid by liquid nitrogen spilling from the truck’s ruptured tank. The T-800 shatters the T-1000 with a gunshot, but the high temperatures inside the mill soon melt the fragments and the T-1000 reforms itself. After a short hunt, it tracks down John, who is confronted by two seemingly identical versions of his mother – one of which is the T-1000 in disguise. Finally, The T-800 fires a grenade at the T-1000, causing enough damage to disrupt it significantly. Although it attempts to reform itself, it stumbles and falls backwards into a vat of molten steel, and the T-1000, unable to stand the 1800 degree high temperature corrupting its alloy and design, screams before finally being dissolved.Despite failing to eliminate John Connor, it is later revealed in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines that the T-1000 ‘inadvertently interfered’ with the development of his relationships with Kate Brewster, whom he attended school with, and her father, Robert, who was the true creator of Skynet by using Cyberdyne Systems’ research. rc&d
V.I.N.CENT The Black Hole The Black Hole is a 1979 American science fiction film directed by Gary Nelson for Walt Disney Productions. The film stars Maximilian Schell, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins, and Ernest Borgnine, while the voices of the main robot characters are provided by Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickens (both unbilled). The music for the movie was composed by John Barry. Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the USS spacecraft Palomino is returning to Earth. The crew consists of Captain Dan Holland, First Officer Lieutenant Charlie Pizer, journalist Harry Booth, ESP-sensitive scientist Dr. Kate McCrae, the expedition’s civilian leader Dr. Alex Durant and the robot V.I.N.CENT (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized). The Palomino crew discover a black hole in space with a spaceship nearby, somehow defying the hole’s massive gravitational pull. The ship is identified as the long-lost USS Cygnus, the ship McCrae’s father served aboard when it went missing. Deciding to investigate, the Palomino encounters a mysterious null gravity field surrounding the Cygnus. The Palomino becomes damaged when it drifts away from the Cygnus and into the black hole’s intense gravity field, but the ship manages to move back to the Cygnus and finds itself able to dock to what initially appears to be an abandoned vessel. The Palomino crew warily boards the Cygnus and soon encounter the ship’s commander, Dr. Hans Reinhardt, a brilliant scientist. Aided by a crew of faceless, black-robed android drones and his sinister looking robot Maximilian, Reinhardt explains that he has lived all alone on the Cygnus for years. After the ship encountered a meteor field and was disabled, he ordered the human crew to return to Earth, but Kate’s father chose to remain aboard and has since died. Reinhardt then reveals that he has spent the past twenty years studying the black hole and intends to fly the Cygnus through it. Only Durant believes it is possible and asks to accompany Reinhardt on the trip. The rest of the Palomino crew grow suspicious of the faceless drones’ human-like behaviour: Booth sees a robot limping and Holland witnesses a robot funeral and discovers the Cygnus crew’s personal items in the ship’s living quarters. Old B.O.B. (BiO-sanitation Battalion), a battered early model robot similar to
V.I.N.CENT, explains that the faceless drones are in fact the human crew, who mutinied when Reinhardt refused to return to Earth and had been lobotomized and ‘reprogrammed’ by Reinhardt to serve him. McCrae’s father had led the mutiny and was killed. Using telepathy, V.I.N.CENT tells Kate the truth about what happened. When Kate tells Durant, he removes the reflective faceplate from a ‘drone’ to reveal the face of a crew member. Durant tries to flee the bridge with Kate, but Maximilian kills him, contrary to Reinhardt’s wishes. Reinhardt takes Kate prisoner, ordering her to be taken to the hospital to be lobotomized by his security robots. As the process begins, Holland rescues Kate, along with V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. Meanwhile, fearing the situation is escalating dangerously, Booth attempts to escape alone in the Palomino. Reinhardt orders the craft shot down, but the weapons fire sends the ship crashing into the Cygnus, destroying its port-side anti-gravity forcefield generator. A meteor storm then destroys the starboard generator. Without its null-gravity bubble, the Cygnus starts to break apart under the black hole’s huge gravitational forces. Reinhardt and the Palomino survivors separately plan their escape aboard a small probe ship used to study the black hole. Maximilian goes to prepare the probe shortly before Reinhardt is pinned by falling debris. His lobotomized crew stand motionless as he struggles. Maximilian confronts the others and fatally cripples B.O.B. moments before he himself is crippled by V.I.N.CENT and drifts out into space. Holland, Pizer, McCrae and V.I.N.CENT reach the probe ship, only to discover the controls locked onto a flightpath through the black hole. It then plunges across the hole’s event horizon. The probe ship then emerges from a white hole into another universe and is seen near a star and planet. The last shot shows the probe flying toward the planet.how he spoke with other robots. rc&d
TWIKI Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Twiki is a character on the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Twiki (pronounced twee-kee) is a robot sometimes referred throughout the series as an ‘ambuquad’ (which, as depicted in the episode, ‘Twiki is Missing’, refers to a specialized series of robots made for work in space mines). Built by an ambuquad facility in New Chicago, the same episode also reveals that the robot’s model number is 22-23-T. The character’s name, ‘Twiki’, is derived from the robot’s alphanumeric designation: TWKE-4, as revealed in the second season episode, ‘Shgoratchx!’ Most notably in the first season, Twiki was often seen carrying Dr. Theopolis around with him. Felix Silla provided the character’s physical performance, while Mel Blanc provided the voice for the character in most episodes 1–24 and 32–37), except for a brief stretch during the show’s second season (episodes 25–31), when he was voiced quite differently by Bob Elyea. Blanc’s voicing for Twiki is somewhat of a cross between two of his characters from Merrie Melodies, namely Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig. Twiki was well known for frequently blurting a low key ‘bidi-bidi-bidi’. This was also how he spoke with other robots. Inspired by the massive success of Star Wars, Universal began developing Buck Rogers for television, spearheaded by Glen A. Larson who had a production deal with the studio. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is an American science fiction adventure television series produced by Universal Studios. The series ran for two seasons between 1979–1981, and the feature-length pilot episode for the series was released as a theatrical film several months before the series aired. The film and series were developed by Glen A. Larson and Leslie Stevens, based upon the character Buck Rogers created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan that had previously been featured in comic strips, novellas, a serial film, and on television and radio. rc&d
MECHAGODZILLA Godzilla Mechagodzilla is a character from various films in the Godzilla series, introduced in Jun Fukuda’s final entry Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). He is Godzilla’s mechanical counterpart and one of the most popular ‘Toho kaiju’. Mechagodzilla is also recognized as one of Godzilla’s most brutal foes, having temporarily defeated the King of Monsters on several occasions. The original Mechagodzilla was created as a weapon of destruction by the Simians. It first appeared in a pseudo-flesh outer covering, masquerading as the real Godzilla during attacks against Japan in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Curiously, while the Simians gave Mechagodzilla a laser beam in its mouth to mimic Godzilla’s atomic breath (though the beam was yellow rather than Godzilla’s trademark blue-silver), they didn’t bother replicating Godzilla’s unique roar. Godzilla’s ally Anguirus wasn’t fooled by the impostor, but in the resulting fight Mechagodzilla broke Anguirus’ jaw and sent him fleeing underground.
mecha into a true cyborg by giving it living human brain cells. This was accomplished by integrating its control circuitry into the body of Dr. Mafune’s daughter Katsura, as well as a variety of other cybernetic enhancements. Also Mechagodzilla’s main control system was moved down into its neck so it could function unimpaired if Godzilla again attempted to decapitate it. Godzilla’s perseverance combined with the timely self-sacrifice of Mechagodzilla’s operator, Katsura killed herself, brought the machine down for good. The King of the Monsters buried Mechagodzilla’s shattered form deep underground to prevent another repair job.
Although the battle went badly for Anguirus, it tipped humanity off to the charade because while Godzilla and Anguirus had initially been enemies in 1955 in the second Godzilla film, they had been firm allies ever since, and the two were known to come to one another’s aid in combat against other monsters. Anguirus attacking ‘Godzilla’ was seen as a complete shock. Anguirus had also exposed a piece of Mechagodzilla’s true mechanical nature by ripping off a piece of the disguise the machine was covered in, though most humans did not seem to notice it.
The original Mechagodzilla is the only one to be referred to by numerics within the movies themselves. When it is rebuilt in its second appearance, the ‘MG’ emblazoned on its arm has a ‘2’ added to it. It is still usually referred to as simply ‘Mechagodzilla’ by the characters. This version of Mechagodzilla was rated #15 of the ‘50 Best Movie Robots’ by The Times, beating other such legends as C-3PO from Star Wars, the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Optimus Prime from Transformers. rc&d
Soon the true Godzilla appeared and exposed his foe’s metallic form completely. The battle resulted in a tie, however, and in the end it took the combined might of Godzilla and King Caesar to remove Mechagodzilla’s head from his shoulders, ending the threat. The Simians rebuilt their dreadnought for another try in Terror of Mechagodzilla one year later. Having learned the value of teamwork first hand, the Simians called in an old debt to pair Mechagodzilla with the aquatic dinosaur Titanosaurus that had been discovered by a Dr. Mafune. This time there were some modifications made, mainly turning the
ENFORCER ROBOT THX-1138 THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature directorial debut. The film was written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It stars Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence and depicts a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including sexual desire.THX 1138 was developed from Lucas’ student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which he made in 1967 while attending the University of Southern California’s film school. The feature film was produced in a joint venture between Warner Brothers and Francis Ford Coppola’s production company, American Zoetrope. A novelization by Ben Bova was published in 1971. The film received mixed reviews from critics and failed to find box office success on initial release, however the film has subsequently received critical acclaim and gained a cult following. THX 1138 was the first film made in a planned sevenpicture slate commissioned by Warner Brothers from the 1969 incarnation of American Zoetrope. Lucas wrote the initial script draft himself based on his earlier short film, but Coppola and Lucas agreed it was unsatisfactory. Murch assisted Lucas to write an improved final draft. For some of SEN’s dialogue in the film, the script included excerpts from speeches by Richard Nixon. The script required almost the entire cast to shave their heads, either completely bald or with a buzz cut. As a publicity stunt, several actors were filmed having their first haircuts/ shaves at unusual venues, with the results used in a promotional featurette entitled Bald: The Making of THX 1138. Many of the shaven-headed extras seen in the film were recruited from the nearby addiction recovery program Synanon. Filming began on September, 1969. Lucas filmed THX 1138 in Techniscope. Most locations for filming were in the San Francisco area, including the thenunfinished tunnels of the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system.The chase scene featured Lola T70 Mk.IIIs with dummy turbine engines racing against Yamaha TA125/250cc 2-stroke race replica motorcycles through two San Francisco Bay Area automotive tunnels. According to Caleb Deschanel, cars drove at speeds of 140 mph while filming the chase. The chase featured a spectacular motorcycle stunt: Stuntman Ronald ‘Duffy’ Hambleton, credited as Duffy Hamilton, rode his police motorcycle full speed into a fallen paint stand, with a ramp built to Hambleton’s specification, flew over the handlebars, was hit by the airborne motorcycle, landed in the
street on his back, and slammed into the crashed car in which Duvall’s character had escaped - evidently the subject of a comment by Lucas detailing a ‘motorcycle disaster’ during the filming. According to the film’s commentary, everyone at the location was stunned and immediately ran in to ensure Hambleton was alright. According to Lucas, it turned out Hambleton was perfectly fine, apart from being angry with the people who had run into the shot to check on him; He was worried that they might have ruined the amazing stunt he had just performed by walking into frame. After completion of photography, Coppola scheduled a year for Lucas to complete post-production. Lucas edited the film on a German-made K-E-M flatbed editor in his Mill Valley house by day, with Walter Murch editing sound at night; the two would compare notes when they changed over. Murch compiled and synchronized the sound montage, which includes all the ‘overhead’ voices heard throughout the film - radio chatter, announcements, etc. The bulk of the editing was finished by mid-1970. On completion of editing of the film, producer Coppola took it to financiers Warner Brothers. Studio executives there disliked the film, and insisted that Coppola turn over the negative to an in-house Warners editor, who cut approximately four minutes of the film prior to release. In 2004, The George Lucas Director’s Cut of the film was released. Lucas shot new footage for the film, computer-generated imagery was used to modify scenes by expanding crowds, settings and backgrounds and adding digital characters, and audio/video restoration techniques were applied to the film. These changes increased the run time of the film by two minutes. rc&d
Published on Jan 5, 2014
Inside we’ve assembled what we consider is possibly the greatest collection of robots, cyborgs and droids this galaxy has ever seen. Spannin...