Terminator: How a Surprising Character Ties Together The Original Trilogy


While Arnold Schwarzenegger appears as three different cyborgs in the original Terminator trilogy, a surprising character truly ties them together. Surprisingly enough, Schwarzenegger is the only major actor to appear in the first three Terminator films. Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor didn’t return for part 3, and only came back for 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate. John Connor was played by different actors in all three films, and Kyle Reese didn’t return for 3, after appearing in the extended cut of T2.

Only one other actor other than Schwarzenegger can say they’re in all three installments of the original Terminator trilogy, and he’s far from a household name. In fact, Earl Boen is a consummate “that guy” character actor, appearing in dozens of films and TV shows, and going on to a second career as a voice actor in cartoons and video games. Most likely don’t know his name, but would readily recognize his face, or in some cases his voice.

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In the first three Terminator films, Bowen plays Dr. Peter Silberman, a supporting character briefly featured in each movie, but who still manages to have his own character arc that directly intertwines with the Connors and the Terminators they battle against and alongside.

A Surprising Character Ties Together The Terminator Trilogy

In 1984’s The Terminator, Dr. Silberman is brought in by the police to assess Kyle Reese, who to most people appears to be a lunatic raving about time travel and future wars against robots. Silberman readily agrees with this, branding Kyle a “loon,” then fortuitously getting called away mere minutes before Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 arrives to murder nearly everyone in the police station, preventing him from seeing the truth. By 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Silberman is overseeing the “care” a thought to be crazy Sarah Connor is receiving at Pescadero State Hospital, where Sarah is treated terribly by everyone. Silberman still doesn’t believe a word of her story, and isn’t willing to even entertain it being true.

That is until Schwarzenegger’s now good T-800 and the evil T-1000 arrive during Sarah’s escape attempt. Silberman’s arm gets deservedly broken by Sarah, but most importantly, he sees the T-1000 melt through metal bars. One would think that might set Silberman straight, but as 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines reveals, the doctor is so close-minded that he’s somehow convinced himself he didn’t see what he saw. He arrives on the scene as a post-trauma counselor for John Connor’s future wife Kate Brewster, and stays long enough to again deny reality, that is until he sees the T-800 walk out of a mausoleum carrying a casket over one shoulder and a machine gun in the other hand. Once he walks through a hail of bullets without a scratch, Silberman finally seems to accept what’s in front of him, and runs away scared. Silberman hasn’t appeared in the Terminator franchise since.

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Michael Kennedy (4379 Articles Published)

Michael Kennedy is an avid movie and TV fan that’s been working for Screen Rant in various capacities since 2014. In that time, Michael has written over 2000 articles for the site, first working solely as a news writer, then later as a senior writer and associate news editor. Most recently, Michael helped launch Screen Rant’s new horror section, and is now the lead staff writer when it comes to all things frightening. A FL native, Michael is passionate about pop culture, and earned an AS degree in film production in 2012. He also loves both Marvel and DC movies, and wishes every superhero fan could just get along. When not writing, Michael enjoys going to concerts, taking in live professional wrestling, and debating pop culture. A long-term member of the Screen Rant family, Michael looks forward to continuing on creating new content for the site for many more years to come.

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