Last week's Sarah Connor Chronicles proved that the so-called California Drones which have been freaking out the UFO community are neither real nor hoax. They are viral marketing for the Terminator franchise.
Several months ago, when images of these whirly, spikey drones started appearing in UFO forums around the world, we investigated one possible explanation offered for them. Many people claimed they were the work of a special effects designer, Kris Avery, who used the images in a music video online. But we interviewed Avery, who told us in no uncertain terms that he had just incorporated images he found online into the video.
Now that the ships have appeared on Sarah Connor Chronicles, it seems as if the people claiming that they were a viral marketing campaign were right all along. Over at Screenrant, there's a terrific breakdown of the timeline of the images appearing, along with carefully-labeled comparisons of the leaked images passed around in UFO forums and the ships that appeared in the episode. (The image above is one of the comparison images from Screenrant.)
While it's possible the designers at SCC simply used images they'd found online and incorporated them into the show, it's more likely that they were always intended as a viral campaign but that it got derailed by the writers' strike. That would explain the long delay time between the images showing up online, and then showing up in the series. And who knows whether they'll play a role in the upcoming Terminator film? These could be evil cyborg drones, not UFOs at all.
UPDATE: It turns out that the designers at SCC did not invent these images after all. In fact, as I suggested above, they "simply used images they'd found online." SCC Producer Josh Friedman piped up in comments below to say, in part:
I'm not sure if this will put an end to this but I will assure you that the incorporation of drone-like imagery into TSCC should not in any way suggest there was/is a relationship between the original drone images and our show. The drone images are as much a puzzle to me as to anybody else...Maybe more so, as my obsession with their mysterious origins led me to go on and on about them in the writers' room...So much so that we ultimately used the mystery as a platform for "Earthlings Welcome Here."