Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger & James Cameron Argued Over An Iconic Line

Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger needed to be convinced to play The Terminator in the 1984 sci-fi blockbuster of the same name, it didn't mean the bodybuilder-turned-actor had enough muscle to call all the shots on the film. That duty, of course, was up to writer-director James Cameron, and in the new Netflix docuseries "Arnold," the filmmaker and Schwarzenegger both recalled an argument over what would eventually become the actor's iconic catchphrase.

"Sometime in the middle of the shoot, we're doing this police station scene. The line is, 'I'll come back.' It wasn't meant to be like a big moment at all," said Cameron in the documentary. "It was literally meant to be, on its face, 'No problem, I'll come back.' For some reason, Arnold didn't say, 'I'll come back.' I said, 'Well, just say "I'll be back." Keep it simple.'"

The reasoning wasn't simple for Schwarzenegger, however. Because Schwarzenegger's Terminator is a cyborg, the actor explained in "Arnold" that "I'll be back" didn't do the trick for him because of the nature of his character. The actor's suggestion to add one word to the phrase, though, didn't sit well Cameron.

"I said, 'Jim, for some reason it sounds funny when I say, 'I'll be back," Schwarzenegger recalled in the documentary. "It sounds so much more machine-like if I say, 'I will be back.' And he says, 'Are you the writer?' And I said, 'No,' and he said, 'Well, don't tell me how to f***ing write.'"

Schwarzenegger was happy to admit he was wrong about 'I'll be back'

In "Arnold," which covers in three episodes the star's life as bodybuilder, actor, and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger owns up to his mistakes in all aspects of his life throughout the documentary, including his dispute over the "I'll be back" line with James Cameron on the set of "The Terminator."

Schwarzenegger noted in the documentary that his machine-like line reading of "I'll be back" gave Cameron goosebumps and admitted that the writer-director "was absolutely right" in sticking to what he wrote in the script. "It became the most movie line, I think, in the history of motion pictures. So this just shows to you who was right and who was wrong," Schwarzenegger said, laughing.

Saying "I'll be back" in "The Terminator," of course, didn't mark the last time Schwarzenegger uttered the line. He is shown throughout the docuseries saying "I'll be back" in more of his films, as well as on the trail for various campaigns including his quest to become the governor of California.

Also featuring interviews with Schwarzenegger's fellow actors including Linda Hamilton, Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Sylvester Stallone, "Arnold" is streaming exclusively on Netflix. The debut of the docuseries comes on the heels of the release of the actor's new Netflix spy series, "FUBAR," which felt almost like a documentary to Schwarzenegger at times.