Terminator's Cameron reminisces—and distances himself from Salvation

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

James Cameron reminisces about the first Terminator movie in a new essay in Wired, but says of McG's upcoming sequel: "I'm not involved in Terminator Salvation. I've never read the script. I'm sure I'll be paying 10 bucks to see it like everybody else."

"I've been fascinated ever since by our human propensity for dancing on the edge of the apocalypse," Cameron writes. "So when I wrote the first Terminator outline around 1982, I was just working out my childhood stuff. It was also born out of the science fiction movies and literature I grew up with. For the most part, they were warnings—about technology, about science, about the military and the government. You couldn't escape those themes or the fear of nuclear holocaust."

What Cameron brought to the previously told story of a hit man from the future trying to change past events was the concept of "a flesh-covered endoskeleton," he says. "That was new. So for me it was all about how we could develop stop-motion animation and puppetry to create a true robotic endoskeleton. The team at visual-effects house Stan Winston Studio jumped into it and made it work."

Cameron adds that he doesn't really believe that there will come a war by machines to wipe out humanity in the next generation. "The stories function more on a symbolic level, and that's why people key into them," he says. "They're about us fighting our own tendency toward dehumanization."

Terminator Salvation opens on May 21.