John Baxter and Brian Hannant's original script was called 'Time Wars'. Originally the city in a bubble was to be pursued by just one evil robot. However, producer John Daly of Hemdale Films insisted that there had to be hordes of robots to be featured in several battles. According to Hannant, these late revisions to the script combined with the lack of extra budget led to the failure of the picture.
The Time Guardian (1987) was the flagship in a ten picture deal set up with the Hemdale Film Corporation by producer Antony I. Ginnane. But when Hemdale pulled out of the production, the other nine pictures ended up being suspended indefinitely and going into turnaround.
Brian Hannant had been drawn to the rock formation at Wilpena Point in South Australia while making Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981). This inspired him to write a script with John Baxter in the early 1980s. According to Baxter, the script was originally called "Time Rider", about a geologist who, while investigating magnetic anomalies around Wilpena, South Australia, encourages a man from the future, who is a scout sent back in time to find a home for his people, pursued by the Jen-Diki tribe.
The film was originally entitled in the script "Time Wars". In the revival of the long-running BBC science fiction series "Doctor Who", the main protagonist The Doctor and his race The Time Lords fought the evil Dalek robots in a "Time War". This film is about humans battling evil robots, whilst living in a city that has the ability to travel across space and time.
The movie imported two American actors to appear in the picture, Carrie Fisher and Dean Stockwell. Fisher (Petra) previously starred in the "Star Wars" trilogy as Princess Leia and Stockwell (Boss) previously starred in Dune (1984) as Dr. Wellington Yueh. Later, Stockwell would go on to star as the hologram Al in the time-travel series Quantum Leap (1989).
The film's opening prologue states: "By the year 4039 Earth was a scarred and desolate battlefield. Hoards of armored robots created by man in the previous century, were sweeping the planet, brutally destroying everything in their path and threatening mankind with extinctions. One city attempted to escape their onslaught by unraveling the secrets of time and traveling back in a desperate search for a safer age . . . . they succeeded and time was their friend until the arrival yet again of their relentless enemy".
When Annie asks Petra about Ballard, Petra mentions that before he became a soldier, Ballard had been a Feral kid raised by nomads. An obvious nod to "Mad Max 2" which Brian Hannant was co-writer. The main protagonist Mad, a drifter befriends a boy called The Feral Kids.
6 years later, Carrie Fisher's "Star Wars" co-star Mark Hamill would star in another low-budget time travel film which was also an rip-off of "The Terminator". 1993's "Time Runner", which he stars a space fighter pilot who travels back through time to prevent an alien invasion, when the Earth is attacked by alien invaders and change the future.
Ballard quotes Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature line "I'll be Back!" in the final battle sequence. Schwarzenegger first said "I'll be Back!" in "The Terminator", which he later used again in his other later films.