These are definitely not the Droids you were looking for

Greetings and welcome my friends. Today I am going to talk about some of the robots that I think are the most interesting or the coolest. Robots are common characters in Science Fiction, and occasionally in Horror also. When I was a younger, every kid wanted to turn their garbage can into R2-D2. Who could blame us, R2-D2 was the coolest. R2-D2 delivered the Death Star plans to Obi-Wan, later flew through the trench with Luke Skywalker, and he hid Luke’s light saber when they infiltrated Jabba’s Palace. He was like an animated Swiss Army Knife that looked like a trash can.

Unfortunately, most robots in these genres are not as upstanding as R2-D2. Some are Bad, Evil, Malfunctioning, and/or Homicidal. You can call them Droids, Androids, Robots, Bots, Cyborgs, or Walking Toasters. It is all pretty much the same thing, for the most part (Not looking to get too technical).

Now the term “Droid” is trademarked to George Lucas, and I can’t say I blame him. Who knew that thirty something years later, just about everyone would have pocket size phones that needed a name? I, however, am not referring to those droids. I am talking robots, cyborgs, AI, and the like. More specifically: homicidal, maniac, faulty, or renegade robots. Of course there is R2-D2 and C-3PO but there are many more “Bad” robots. There are the Cylons (Battlestar Galactica), Replicants (Blade Runner), Hector (Saturn 3), the Borg, Terminators (The Terminator series), or even (while not technically a robot, it deserves honorable mention) HAL 9000 (2001).

When I was a kid, I remember going to the toy store and picking out two Star Wars action figures. The ones I chose were IG-88 (The Assassin Droid Bounty Hunter) and R5-D4 (The red Astro Droid with the bad motivator). Initially this was because it was very difficult to get my hands on the main characters. Visually, I thought IG-88 had a really cool appearance. It reminded me a little of another robot (Hector) from a movie called Saturn 3. IG-88 had long narrow features, yet still seemed very menacing.

Much later when I finally saw Empire Strikes Back, I was disappointed that IG-88 had such a miniscule part. Thankfully, years later, its character was expanded upon through the Expanded Universe. In video games, novels, and comic books we discover just how evil and maniacal IG-88 really was. As it turns out, IG-88 achieved sentience and was hell bent on the eradication of all organics.

The movie Red Planet featured one of the most ferocious, and ass kicking robots that I have ever seen. Her name was AMEE (Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion), and she was designed for military combat initially, but was reprogrammed to be the Mars surface navigator. During the impact of landing, her programming flipped and she reverted to military mode. She then sadistically hunted down the rest of the landing party to eliminate them. That robot was seriously bad ass, part of her could break away to become an aerial surveillance drone.

The 1980 film Saturn 3 had Hector, the cyborg. Hector is given a canister-sized living brain (originally taken from multiple human fetuses) that Benson (a murderer posing as the pilot that he killed) then is able to reprogram by connecting it with a socket in the back of his head. In the process the machine acquires Benson’s homicidal nature and his lust for the beautiful Alex.

One of the most bizarre movies I’ve seen is Hardware. It takes place in the future which is a post apocalyptic radioactive wasteland. The robot in that movie (one of the most gruesome that I’ve seen) is M.A.R.K. 13, which was a government project to create an unstoppable killing machine. The M.A.R.K. 13 is capable of independent intelligence, recharging itself from any electrical source, and self repair.

The Terminator franchise is based on an Artificial Intelligence (Sky Net) that sends cyborgs (living tissue covering a metal endoskeleton) back in time to assassinate the leader of their opposition before he is even born. When Sky Net goes live it decides that the human race needs to be irradicated.

The Terminators and Sky Net were not the first to come to that conclusion in the Science Fiction genre(along with The Borg in Star Trek). Before them came the Cylons. The Cylons of the ‘70s and ‘80s were laughable at best. They originated in the Television series Battlestar Galactica. The re-envisioned version that began in 2004 introduced a much more formidable breed of Cylons. These were not the bulky toaster oven versions of the past, the new Cylons were sleek and were led by cyborg versions which passed as humans.

The band Megadeth has a mascot called Vic Rattlehead. Vic’s visage is a skeleton with the old saying, “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil” taken to heart. Vic has a metal visor riveted over his eyes, his mouth is clamped shut, and his ears are covered by two metal cups. The 1988 Megadeth album “So Far, So Good…So What?” had a new design of Vic, that of a robot draped in an ammunition belts and holding a rifle. I always found that particular rendition of Vic striking. Megadeth’s 1992 album, “Countdown To Extinction” contained a song called Psychotron. The song details a half organic and half bionic assassin.

I know that there are many more robots which can be explored, but these are the ones that I felt were the most striking that I have seen. I hope you have enjoyed this post.


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