In a recent interview with Cigar Aficionado, Schwarzenegger, 72, revealed why he believes the "Terminator" movies and their time-traveling "cold-blooded machine" antagonist have been so successful.
"People like to be that character," he explained. "They are so angry with what's going on in their lives, and in the world. They want to fight back but have no power."
The "Terminator" franchise has spawned six films to date and has drawn in massive star power besides Arnie himself. That includes the likes of Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emilia Clarke and more.
Schwarzenegger himself starred in five of the films (sitting out 2009's "Terminator Salvation"), and he found a way to make each flick different.
"I think that in each of the 'Terminators,' I play a little different role," he told the magazine, which he also appears on the December cover of.
"The missions are different, how much I was with human beings changes my behavior," Schwarzenegger added.
Being a bodybuilder as well as starring in some of Hollywood's most successful franchises in addition to "Terminator" ("The Expendables," "Predator"), Schwarzenegger had to be careful of stereotypes; he avoided villain roles when he could.
"As creative as Hollywood is, the other side is they are very stupid," he said. "They fall into these traps. What do you do with a muscle guy? Make him the villain. He's not the guy who saves the day, but the villain. I knew that was the danger."
In his second career, Schwarzenegger tackled politics, serving as California's governor — the last Republican to hold the office. Although he's returned to acting, he still pays close attention to his home state.
"California is in really good shape," he confessed. "That doesn’t mean that we don’t have flaws. Our budget system sucks, our tax system sucks and at any given time, if there is a decline economically, California could be in very deep trouble.”
He also discussed the "out-of-control" homelessness problem that California faces, as well as climate change.
"There should be not one warehouse in the United States that’s not covered with solar panels. Give subsidies for it," Schwarzeneggar recommended. "We in California do that. America can be a good example of how you can go and lead on the environment — just like Kennedy led with space exploration. We can show the world that you can have a successful economy, the number one economy, and be number one in the environment.”
Schwarzenegger stars in "Terminator: Dark Fate" alongside Linda Hamilton, his co-star from the first two (and mostly highly regarded) movies in the "Terminator" saga. The film's premiere was canceled and he was forced to evacuate his home due to wildfires in Southern California this week.