The Terminator series is an American media franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. The franchise encompasses a series of science fiction action films, comics, novels, and additional media, concerning battles between Skynet's synthetic intelligent machine network and John Connor's Resistance forces with the rest of the human race. Skynet's most well-known products in its genocidal goals are the various terminator models, such as the T-800 (Model 101), who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the original Terminator film in 1984, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films. By 2010, the franchise has generated $3 billion in revenue.
Official franchise logo
|Created by||James Cameron |
Gale Anne Hurd
|Original work||The Terminator (1984)|
|Comics||List of comics|
|Films and television|
|Video game(s)||List of video games|
|Theme park attraction(s)|
- 1 Setting
- 2 Films
- 3 Television
- 4 Web series
- 5 Cast and crew
- 6 Reception
- 7 Other media
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The central theme of the franchise is the battle for survival between the nearly-extinct human race and the world-spanning synthetic intelligence that is Skynet. Skynet is positioned in the first film as a U.S. strategic "Global Digital Defense Network" computer system by Cyberdyne Systems which becomes self-aware. Upon activation, it immediately perceives all humans as a "security threat", and formulates a plan to systematically wipe out humanity itself. The system initiates a nuclear first strike against Russia, thereby ensuring a devastating second strike and a nuclear holocaust which it anticipates will instantly wipe out much of humanity. Indeed, it does, with approximately 3 billion casualties, more than half of the total human population at the time, in the resulting nuclear war. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, Skynet later builds up its own autonomous machine-based military capability which includes the Terminators used against individual human targets and therefore proceeds to wage a persistent total war against the surviving elements of humanity, some of whom have militarily organized themselves into a Resistance. At some point in this future, Skynet develops the ability of time travel, and both it and the Resistance seek to use this technology in order to win the war; either by altering or accelerating past events in Skynet's favour, or by preventing or forestalling the (present) apocalyptic timeline.
In the franchise, Judgment Day (a reference to the biblical Day of Judgment) is referred to as the date on which Skynet becomes self-aware, decides to exterminate mankind, and launches a nuclear attack on Russia to provoke a nuclear counter-strike against the United States. Due to time travel and the consequent ability to change the future, several differing dates are given for Judgment Day in different films in the franchise. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor states that Judgment Day will occur on August 29, 1997. However, this date is delayed following the attack on Cyberdyne Systems in the second film. In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, Judgment Day was postponed to July 2003; in the separate chronology of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the attack on Cyberdyne Systems delayed Judgment Day to April 21, 2011.
In Terminator Genisys, the fifth film in the franchise, Judgment Day was postponed to an unspecified day in October 2017, attributed to altered events in both the future and the past. Sarah and Kyle Reese time travel to 2017 and seemingly defeat Skynet but the system core, contained inside a subterranean blast shelter, secretly survives, thus further delaying Judgment Day.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director||Screenwriters||Producer(s)|
|The Terminator||October 26, 1984||James Cameron||James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd||Gale Anne Hurd|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||July 3, 1991||James Cameron and William Wisher||James Cameron|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||July 2, 2003||Jonathan Mostow||Tedi Sarafian, John Brancato and Michael Ferris||Hal Lieberman, Colin Wilson, Mario F. Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna and Joel B. Michaels|
|Terminator Salvation||May 21, 2009||McG||John Brancato and Michael Ferris||Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek and Jeffrey Silver|
|Terminator Genisys||July 1, 2015||Alan Taylor||Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier||David Ellison and Dana Goldberg|
|Terminator: Dark Fate||November 1, 2019||Tim Miller||James Cameron, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray||James Cameron and David Ellison|
The Terminator (1984)Edit
The Terminator is a 1984 science fiction action film released by Orion Pictures, co-written and directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. It is the first work in the Terminator franchise. In the film, machines take over the world in the near future, directed by the artificial intelligence Skynet. With its sole mission to completely annihilate humanity, it develops android assassins called Terminators that outwardly appear human. A man named John Connor starts the Tech-Com resistance to fight the machines, defeat Skynet and free humanity. With a human victory imminent, the machines' only choice is to send a Terminator back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor, and prevent the boy's birth, thereby handicapping the resistance from ever being founded in the first place. With the fate of humanity at stake, John sends soldier Kyle Reese back to protect Sarah Connor, and thus ensure his own existence. Also starring Emmy winner Paul Winfield. It was released on October 26, 1984 to critical acclaim and grossed $78.4 million worldwide.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)Edit
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the 1991 sequel to the original Terminator film and released by TriStar Pictures. It is co-written, directed, and produced by James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, and Joe Morton. After machines fail to prevent John Connor from being born, they try again in 1995, this time attempting to terminate him as a child by using a more advanced Terminator, the T-1000. As before, John sends back a protector for his younger self, a reprogrammed Terminator, who is a doppelgänger to the one from the previous film. After eleven years of preparing for the future war, Sarah decides to use the same tactics the machines used on her: preventing Skynet from being invented by destroying Cyberdyne Systems before they create it. It was released on July 3, 1991 to critical acclaim and grossed $523.7 million worldwide. Additionally, it also won several Academy Awards, one most notably for its then-cutting edge computer animation. The film was remastered for 3D and re-released in August 2017.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)Edit
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, released by Warner Bros. Pictures in North America and Columbia Pictures internationally, is the 2003 sequel to Terminator 2 and is written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken. As a result of the destruction of Cyberdyne at the end of Terminator 2, the Skynet takeover has been postponed, not averted. In an attempt to ensure a victory by the machines, a new Terminator, the T-X, is sent back to terminate the lives of as many of John Connor's future lieutenants as is possible, including John Connor himself and his future wife Kate Brewster. In addition, the T-X's second mission is to assassinate Kate's father, General Robert Brewster (David Andrews), who is Skynet's primary creator, along with his staff; it anticipates that John and Kate would attempt to seek the general's help in stopping Skynet. After Connor's future self is terminated by a doppelgänger of his previous protector, Kate reprograms it and sends it back to save them both from the T-X. It was released on July 2, 2003 to mixed reviews and grossed $433.4 million worldwide.
Terminator Salvation (2009)Edit
Terminator Salvation is the fourth installment of the Terminator film series, and was made by The Halcyon Company and again distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and Columbia Pictures with an original release on May 21, 2009 to mixed reviews and which grossed $371.4 million. It was written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, directed by McG, and stars Christian Bale as John Connor and Sam Worthington (who was personally recommended by James Cameron) as Marcus Wright. Following the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, after Skynet has destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, John struggles to become the leader of humanity to which he is destined, while Marcus Wright finds his place in an unfamiliar post-apocalyptic world. In this future, altered by the events of the second film, the T-800 Terminators (Roland Kickinger with CG-rendered facial likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger) are coming online sooner than expected. The film also stars Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Michael Ironside and Helena Bonham Carter.
Terminator Genisys (2015)Edit
Terminator Genisys is the fifth installment of the franchise, and, in addition, serves as a reboot that features the main characters from the first two films created by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher, Jr., portrayed by a new cast with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the eponymous character. Additionally, Oscar winner J. K. Simmons joined the cast as Detective O'Brien, serving as an ally for the film's protagonists. The feature-length production was written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, and directed by Alan Taylor. It was made by Skydance Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The story takes place in an alternate reality resulting from a chain of events related to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout a previous timeline. Prior to this alteration, on the verge of winning the war against Skynet, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his trusted right-hand officer Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back through time to save his mother's life and ensure his own existence, but Kyle arrives at an alternate timeline where Skynet had never launched its initial attack in 1997, and, therefore, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was brought up by a reprogrammed Terminator (Schwarzenegger), sent by an unknown party to be her guardian ever since childhood. Now Sarah, Kyle and the Guardian need to escape the T-800 Model 101 (Brett Azar with CG-rendered likeness of Schwarzenegger from the first film), the T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) and Skynet's mysterious nanocyte prototype: the T-3000, in an attempt to stop Judgment Day from ever happening; while trying to uncover the secrets behind Cyberdyne Systems' new application software: Genisys. Assisting the trio is Detective O'Brien (Simmons), whose investigation into Terminators and time travelers lead him to learn about Skynet, and helps the protagonists in their mission to avert Judgment Day. The film was released on July 1, 2015 and grossed $440.6 million worldwide.
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)Edit
Terminator: Dark Fate is a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It is directed by Tim Miller and is scheduled for release on November 1, 2019. It stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, reprising their roles as Sarah Connor and the Terminator, respectively. The film also stars Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, and Gabriel Luna. Jude Collie and Brett Azar have also been cast as a young John Connor and a younger T-800, respectively. Terminator Genisys was intended to be the first film in a new stand-alone film trilogy, but the planned sequels were cancelled following the film's disappointing box-office performance. Genisys producer David Ellison recruited James Cameron to produce a new film with him, which would become Terminator: Dark Fate. The film is intended as the first in a new trilogy of Terminator films.
The writers' room included Josh Friedman, creator of the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Other writers included David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray. The creative team has stated that the new film will feature a young 18- to 21-year-old, who could potentially lead the franchise should the first film be successful. Miller made mention of creating a theme park attraction akin to T2 3-D: Battle Across Time should the film prove successful. Because the series deals with time-travel, the film ignores the premise of the last three films and the TV series and is not titled Terminator 6, as it is also a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Filming began in Isleta del Moro, Almería on June 4, 2018, shooting for a month there, before shooting the rest in the United States.
|Series||Season||Episodes||First released||Last released||Showrunner(s)||Network(s)|
|Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||1||9||January 13, 2008||March 3, 2008||Josh Friedman||Fox|
|2||22||September 8, 2008||April 10, 2009|
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009)Edit
Sarah (Lena Headey) and John Connor (Thomas Dekker) as they try to "live under the radar", after the explosion at Cyberdyne. Summer Glau plays a Terminator named Cameron and Brian Austin Green plays Derek Reese, the brother of Kyle Reese, both sent back in time to protect the Connors and prevent for another Judgment Day.
|Series||Season||Episodes||First released||Last released||Showrunner(s)||Network(s)|
|Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series||1||6||May 18, 2009||June 24, 2009||Andy Shapiro||Machinima|
|Terminator Genisys: The YouTube Chronicles||1||3||June 22, 2015||Jay Bushman||YouTube|
Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series (2009)Edit
Set in 2016, twelve years after Judgment Day, Blair Williams (voiced by Moon Bloodgood) who is fighting the war against the machines in downtown Los Angeles, while tracking down the computer hacker named Laz Howard (voiced by Cam Clarke) and trying to pursue him to join sides with the resistance.
Terminator Genisys: The YouTube Chronicles (2015)Edit
Terminator Genisys: The YouTube Chronicles was released in three parts on June 22, 2015 to promote the fifth film, produced by Heresy. The web series was directed by Charles Paek and written by Jay Bushman. It features several YouTubers appearing with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, as they stand together against the T-360 (played by fellow YouTuber, Toby Turner).
Cast and crewEdit
- A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role of a younger version of the character.
- An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
- A V indicates the actor or actress lent only his or her voice for his or her film character.
- An M indicates the model served as a body double, with the actor or actress's likeness superimposed onto the model.
- An L indicates the actor or actress lent only their likeness for his or her film character.
- An P indicates an appearance through a photographic still.
- A dark gray cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Box office performanceEdit
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget|
|The Terminator||October 26, 1984||$38,371,200||$40,000,000||$78,371,200||#1,917||$6.4 million|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||July 3, 1991||$205,881,154||$315,000,000||$520,881,154||#152 (#106)(A)||#136||$102 million|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||July 2, 2003||$150,371,112||$283,000,000||$433,371,112||#288||#188||$187.3 million|
|Terminator Salvation||May 21, 2009||$125,322,469||$246,030,532||$371,353,001||#418||#242||$200 million|
|Terminator Genisys||July 1, 2015||$89,760,956||$350,842,581||$440,603,537||#706||#186||$155 million|
|Terminator: Dark Fate||November 1, 2019||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||$160-200 million|
Critical and public responseEdit
|The Terminator||100% (59 reviews)||84 (21 reviews)||N/A|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||93% (80 reviews)||75 (22 reviews)||A+|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||69% (204 reviews)||66 (41 reviews)||B+|
|Terminator Salvation||33% (274 reviews)||49 (46 reviews)||B+|
|Terminator Genisys||27% (254 reviews)||38 (41 reviews)||B+|
|Terminator: Dark Fate||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (season 1)||71% (37 reviews)||74 (24 reviews)||N/A|
|Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (season 2)||82% (16 reviews)||67 (4 reviews)|
The Terminator franchise, most notably James Cameron's original films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, has had a significant impact on popular culture. The film franchise placed #17 on the top 25 greatest film franchises by IGN and is also in the top 30 highest-grossing franchises. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the Terminator franchise is the sixth highest rated franchise on the site behind the Toy Story franchise, the Dollars trilogy, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the Mad Max franchise, and the original Star Wars trilogy, but in front of the Indiana Jones franchise.
The Terminator has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "Culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The American Film Institute (AFI) has also recognized both films on a number of occasions: the line "I'll be back" from The Terminator placed as the 37th-best movie quote, while "Hasta la vista, baby" from Terminator 2 ranked 76th on the same list. The Terminator character from The Terminator was voted the 22nd-greatest villain; meanwhile, the T-800 (of the same likeness) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was voted the 48th-greatest hero; this is the only time the same character has appeared on the two opposing lists. In the 100 Years...100 series list, the Terminator franchise was voted the 42nd most thrilling. Finally, Terminator 2: Judgment Day ranked 8th on AFI's top 10 list in the science fiction genre.
Both films are the source of numerous pop culture references, such as the use of "I'll be back" in countless other media, including different variations of the phrase by Arnold himself in many of his subsequent films, and in cameo appearances by Robert Patrick as the T-1000, in The Last Action Hero and Wayne's World. The Simpsons have also spoofed both films, and the T-1000 in particular, on a number of occasions.
The references are also made when Schwarzenegger was elected as California governor during the recall election, which a newspaper headline said "Davis Terminated."
Terminator 2 is the only film in the series to garner attention at the Academy Awards, with six nominations and four wins and is rated highly among critics. In 2006 the readers of Total Film magazine rated The Terminator cinema's 72nd best film, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day the 33rd.
All five Terminator films have had very respectable box office gross, though after James Cameron left the series it saw diminishing returns in subsequent films. The Terminator made $78 million worldwide, far surpassing its $6 million budget and becoming a major sleeper hit. Terminator 2: Judgment Day grossed approximately $520 million globally, becoming a major blockbuster and the top-grossing film of 1991. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines did not fare as well, with $433 million, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of 2003. Terminator Salvation grossed an estimated $371 million worldwide, a figure below industry expectations and the lowest of any of the sequels in the series. Terminator Genisys grossed $440 million, which was higher than the other two films.
A series of novels were released from 2001 to 2004, under the name T2.
Comics and graphic novelsEdit
In 1988, NOW Comics published an ongoing series with John Connor as the main character in 2031, after sending Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother. The Terminators in this canon had more human-like endoskeletons, and some issues would deal with subordinates of Connor's in the ruins of certain geographic areas. The seventeen issue series was followed by two limited series.
Dark Horse Comics acquired the rights in 1990 and published The Terminator (titled Tempest in trade paperbacks to distinguish itself), where a group of human soldiers and four Terminators come to the present, to respectively kill or protect the developers of Skynet. One of the Terminators is Dudley, a human doctor with cybernetic implants, and he betrays his group as he feels he can make a difference in the past. In the following year's sequel Secondary Objectives, the surviving Terminator leader, C890.L, is reprogrammed to destroy another Terminators sent to aid him and kill Sarah Connor. In the immediate follow-up The Enemy Within, C890.L rebuilds and modifies himself to become more dangerous than ever, while a team of human assassins attempt to return to the past and kill a Skynet developer. The 1992 Endgame concludes this arc, with human colonel Mary Randall, having lost Dudley and her soldiers in the final battle with C890.L, protecting Sarah Connor as she goes into labor. Sarah gives birth to a girl named Jane, whose future leadership means Skynet is quickly defeated and never develops time travel.
Dark Horse published a 1992 one-shot written by James Dale Robinson and drawn by Matt Wagner. It followed a female Terminator and a resistance fighter battling for the life of another Sarah Connor: Sarah Lang, who has married artist Michael Connor and intends to kill him for his money. The following year they published the limited series Hunters and Killers, set during the war, where special Terminators with ceramic skeletons and genuine organs are created to impersonate leaders in the Russian resistance. Another limited series was published in 1998, focusing on the misadventures of two malfunctioning Terminators in Death Valley. They kill a man named Ken Norden, mistaking his wife Sara and son Jon for the Connors. This set up the following year's comic The Dark Years, where Jon Norden fights alongside John Connor in 2030. In The Dark Years, another Terminator is sent to eliminate John and his mother in 1999. In 2013, Dark Horse released a sequel comic based on the 2009 film Terminator Salvation, entitled Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle.
Terminators have crossed over with RoboCop, Superman, and Alien vs. Predator. In RoboCop versus The Terminator (1992) and Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future (2000), the heroes must prevent the war ravaged future. In 2000, Dark Horse also published Alien versus Predator versus The Terminator, where Skynet, which went dormant after Connor defeated it, has returned and is creating an Alien-Terminator hybrid. The Ellen Ripley clone (from Alien: Resurrection) and the Predators join forces to stop Skynet.
Malibu Comics published twin series in 1995. One was a sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where Sarah and John encounter two T-800s and a female T-1000. The other was a prequel exploring how Connor sent Reese and the T-800 back in time, and the creation of the T-1000 (which took its default appearance from a captive soldier). The conclusions of both series were published in one issue.
The Terminator: Infinity (2007) comic book series by Dynamite Entertainment (a sequel to Terminator 3) depicts Connor on July 17, 2009. Kate Brewster died the year before, and he is aided by a future Terminator named Uncle Bob. They create a homing signal to bring together other human survivors, beginning the resistance. The series is also tied into another one of Dynamite's publications, Painkiller Jane, for two issues. Dynamite are releasing a sequel Terminator: Revolution and at all the same time IDW Publishing are releasing a Salvation tie-in, possible because the former is based on the Terminator 2 license.
The Terminator Collectible Card GameEdit
Terminator Salvation trilogyEdit
On May 9, 2007, it was announced that production rights to the Terminator series had passed from the feuding of Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar to The Halcyon Company. The producers of the company hoped to start a new trilogy based on the franchise. However, due to the box office failure of the fourth film and legal troubles, the Terminator Salvation trilogy was cancelled.
Terminator Genisys trilogyEdit
By December 2013, there were plans for Terminator Genisys to be the start of a new trilogy of films. In September 2014, Paramount announced release dates for the two Genisys sequels: May 19, 2017 and June 29, 2018. Terminator Genisys producer David Ellison described the film and its intended trilogy as standalone projects based on Cameron's original Terminator films. Ellison said Terminator Genisys is neither a sequel or a prequel to the previous films, saying "For us this is Terminator 1, this is not Terminator 5". The sequels to Genisys were tentatively known as Terminator 2 and Terminator 3. The two sequels were to be filmed back to back during nine months of continuous shooting.
The storylines for the two sequels were devised by Genisys writers Kalogridis and Lussier. The trilogy was being planned out before Terminator Genisys began filming, as producers David Ellison and Dana Goldberg wanted the full storyline finished ahead of time rather than having to "figure it out as you go along," stating, "We spent a lot of time breaking that down, and we do know what the last line of the third movie is, should we be lucky enough to get to make it." Production on the sequels was contingent on whether Terminator Genisys would be successful; development of the trilogy stalled in 2015 after the film's disappointing box-office performance. The planned sequels were ultimately cancelled, with Terminator 2 being removed from Paramount's release schedule in January 2016.
The new trilogy would have explained who sent Pops back in time to protect Sarah Connor. In February 2015, Schwarzenegger said he would reprise his role for the second film in the trilogy, with filming set to begin in 2016. J. K. Simmons would have had further involvement in the new trilogy, and Dayo Okeniyi would have a significant role reprising his role as Danny Dyson in the second film, which would have focused on John Connor's life after becoming part machine. Jason Clarke said about the cancelled Genisys sequel:
|“||What I remember was that second one was going to be about John's journey after he was taken by Skynet…like going down to what he became; half machine, half man. That's where the second one was going to start, and that's about all I knew. It's such a bummer we didn't get to do that.||”|
By December 2013, Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures were developing a new Terminator television series. Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who had worked together previously on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, were named as writers and executive producers. The series was said to deviate from the franchise's history at a critical moment in 1984's The Terminator, and would also integrate with the then-projected film series' direct sequels to Terminator Genisys. With the rights reverting to James Cameron in 2019, the planned television series connected to Terminator Genisys has since been cancelled.
- ^1 Arnold Schwarzenegger's facial likeness was utilized via CGI, applied to Kickinger's body performance. The CGI model was made from a mold of his face made in 1984, scanned to create the digital makeup.
- ^2 Michael Biehn reprised his role in a cameo appearance. The scene was cut from the theatrical release, but was restored in the Special Edition of the film.
- ^3 Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke are not related.
- Micheal Biehn reprised his role as Kyle Reese in cameo scene in which he visits Sarah in a dream of hers. His scene was ultimately deleted, but was later restored when the film was re-released in 1993 and 1997 under the name Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Special Edition
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