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The Thing: Why Windows' Name Caused Frustration Behind The Scenes

Over forty years after its initial release, John Carpenter's "The Thing" remains one of the most beloved and widely discussed science fiction horror films ever made. With unrivaled special effects that remain terrifyingly convincing even in the age of increasingly advanced CG technology, Carpenter's grim reimagining of "The Thing From Another World" might just be the perfect remake.

However, what really makes "The Thing" tick is that it's a film about paranoia. Moreover, being that the film is an ensemble piece, it makes the story one where there are plenty of denizens to fear in its isolated locale, as every time someone walks out of the frame, they could return as a part of the alien hivemind.

When it came to standing out amid that ensemble, though, Thomas G. Waites wanted to make sure that he understood what made his character, Windows, tick outside of his job. On top of that, he came up with this new name for his character and insisted that others on set begin calling him by this name, which Carpenter agreed to.

Not everyone took to the idea, however. Waites told Syfy that he recalls derision from his co-stars, who would say things like, "This is so arbitrary! What are you doing, letting him call himself Windows and wear sunglasses inside?!'" Still, Waites remained true to his take on his "The Thing" character despite how much it annoyed the other actors.

Waites explains that he was trying to understand his character

As far as he was concerned, Thomas G. Waites needed to find a path toward understanding his character. On paper, he didn't see a motivation or humanity to his "The Thing" character, who was originally called Sanchez in the script. "I was trying to find something about the guy, who he was, and what his dreams were," Waites explained. "Did he want to work in a f***ing radio station in the Arctic for the rest of his life? No, he had to want to be something else."

This is why Waites decided his character should wear sunglasses inside and read Hollywood magazines. "Because that's what he wants to be doing, to be in the movie business and be a movie star. And movie stars wear sunglasses," Waites said. "I picked up a pair of green sunglasses in Venice."

In the end, John Carpenter liked what he did with the character, and the change stuck for "The Thing." "'Alright, everyone! From now on, Tommy wants everyone to call him Windows, okay?'" Waites recalled Carpenter saying. As noted above, this caused some irritation from his co-stars, who hated the changes. However, with Carpenter's approval, the changes remained in the final film.