It's the age-old question: "Who would win in a fight?" One more fantasy battle royale is about to get checked off the list because this July, Dynamite Entertainment pits robot against robotic law enforcement in the four-issue "Terminator/Robocop: Kill Human." In the far reaches of the future where Skynet has all but eliminated every trace of the human resistance, Robocop awakens from an extended shutdown to find himself surrounded by Terminators under Skynet's control -- and fights to find a new way to serve and protect.
Bringing Robocop to the dystopian future world of Terminator is "Robocop" ongoing writer Rob Williams along with artist P.J. Holden. Williams took some time out to speak with CBR News on Robocop's presence in a Skynet-controlled world, the types of Terminators he'll find himself up against, Robocop's battle for humanity (both at large and his own) and whether John and Sarah Connor will enter the equation.
CBR News: Rob, we've got two incredibly iconic robotic characters here. How do the two universes collide?
Rob Williams: We're going way into the Terminator future for this. When our story opens we're with the last couple of human beings left alive. They break into a Skynet facility and find Skynet's own A.I. museum, and one of the artifacts is... Robocop. In stasis. Switched off, effectively. He's woken to discover that everything he's ever known has disappeared. He has no clue how long he's been switched off. Then we add time travel to the mix (of course, it's a Terminator story) and send him back into the past to try and save the world.
With Robocop as half-human, half-man, how does his robotic side struggle with Skynet's destroy-all-humans edict?
That's the key conflict of the story. The title "Kill Human" is as much about Murphy's inner struggle to remain a man as it is all the gunplay and killer robots. He's been kept "alive" by Skynet as it sees him as a robot, pure and simple. He's not considered a threat. Murphy has to prove to himself as much as anything that he's still human.
You've been working on the "Robocop" ongoing for Dynamite -- how does this series link to the ongoing, if at all? Is Robocop stuck in the future for good, or is there a possibility he'll get to return to his time after this is over?
This isn't strongly linked to the continuity of the Dynamite "Robocop" series, but it's the same character, transported far into the future. This is very much a self-enclosed story. People will, hopefully, enjoy this if they've only seen the movies -- or even just the good Robocop and Terminator movies. It's two fan-favorite future sci-fi franchises going head-to-head.
Obviously, there are many different types of Terminators in Skynet's future -- which versions can readers expect to see Robocop come across?
NOT THE FEMALE ONE FROM "T3" WHO INFLATES HER BOOBS!!! Aside from that, you'll be seeing the future war against the machines and then, when we travel to the past, the Terminator and T1000 from "T2" both play a large role. As do John and Sarah Conner.
Robocop is awakened from enforced hibernation, so we know that he's squarely in the middle of Skynet's new regime -- but at what point? When in the Terminator timeline does this story take place?
I think this is probably as far into the future as we've seen with the Skynet history. Way further on than the actions of "Terminator: Salvation," certainly. When we open there are three human beings left alive. And then soon after there's two, and then there's one. And it's up to Robocop to "serve and protect."
By the same token, it's difficult to imagine a future ruled by machines without the leader of the human resistance, John Connor. What role, if any, does John Connor and the human resistance play in Robocop's journey to the future?
The resistance has been wiped out by the time our story starts, but John will play an important part in our story, as will Sarah. Robocop will basically insert himself into the plot of "T2" and then quickly take our narrative off in a completely new direction. He's seen how the world turns out, and it's very, very bad. He wants to create a new timeline. There's none of the the 'I don't dare change things in the past.' Humanity has nothing left to lose here.
"Kill Human" is a title that evokes a number of connections -- that of Robocop versus himself and Skynet versus the entire human race. How do you plan to explore these concepts in the book?
The book has to have an emotional core and journey. It can't just be robots shooting robots (although, hey, that's fun too). This is a story about Murphy. The struggle within himself. He has to choose a side. Now, that might seem an obvious decision to make -- humans or killer robots -- but we all change over time, and good intentions can sometimes lead to the worst actions. We'll see, by the end of our story, just how much Murphy has changed.
Why do you think the Terminator universe is a good fit for Robocop and the character as you've developed him in the ongoing series?
The Terminators are such a brilliant and simple core concept. Unstoppable killer robots that will never give up. Writers are always looking for ways to create drama in a story -- to create a credible threat and sense of danger. The Terminators automatically give that to a story. There's the fanboy aspect too of course - it's fun to have a Robocop/Terminator fight. But The Terminators are also a great comparison for Murphy to see that he's not like that. Compared to them, he's incredibly human.
How did you prepare to send Robocop into the Terminator universe? Did it involve a lot of research?
I rewatched "T2" for the first time in years. It's still a pretty great film -- apart from the "why do you cry?" bits, which are virtually unwatchable. But the "T2" chase and the visceral sense of danger that conveys? That's still hugely effective. And the T1000 remains an amazing movie moment. "T2" is still a real kick ass movie. I knew we'd be sending Robocop partially into the plot of "T2," so I wanted to get my reference right, but as I said earlier, we quickly go off on our own narrative. I watched "Terminator: Salvation" and "Terminator 3" too. They're... not so great, unfortunately.
Who do you think would win in a fight: Robocop or the original Terminator?
The original Terminator would kick Robocop's head in, I'm sure. But, as you'll find out in the series, Murphy has a few tricks up his robo sleeve.