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WMG / Terminator

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The Genisys confirms multiverse theory and explains everything
In short, multiverse theory is why Terminator works: every time you travel back in time, you're also shifting to another dimension which is why John Connor can exist in a universe when Sarah and Kyle don't have sex at the time they're predestined to. This also explains literally everything about Skynet's behavior and other plotholes.
  • Why does Skynet always build a time machine? Because they have to conquer all dimensions to avoid being invaded by more advanced humans from another dimension where they won.
  • Why does Skynet's technology vary so much? Because they're coming from different time lines where Skynet doesn't always have the same level of success, or might not have discovered the secret that makes the T-1000 work.
  • Why doesn't Skynet send back more then one Terminator? Because they can't, all they can do is aim at a date and hope it lands somewhere useful, they can't choose what dimension it ends up in going backwards.
  • Why does Skynet even bother with the Terminators if they won't help it directly? Presumably they assume that every possible Skynet will come to the conclusion to send at least one Terminator to eliminate the Connors and conquer another dimension, then the new version of Skynet that results is expected to continue the cycle.
  • Why does Skynet focus so much effort on the Connors? They're a universal constant, John always survives the war and rises up against them, eventually bringing about their end.
  • How can John know the future? He doesn't, he knows one possible future.

Terminator Genisys will not be a reboot of the first film..
But instead carry on from the Terminator 3/Salvation timeline. This means Kyle Reese will make references to post-2004 Judgement Day instead of the original 1997 timeline. Genisys!Arnie will look older because he is not a T-800, possibly borderlining on a T-900. The T-800's in Salvation were introduced way before they should have, so it makes sense for Genisys!Arnie to be an upgraded model when he is sent back in time.
  • Jossed. It was a reboot after all.

Skynet is the T-1000.
Well, at least in James Cameron's fictional universe. Skynet was utterly screwed in the future war's end. The T-1000 series weren't ready to be mass-produced, and even if they could, they'd be too late to make any meaningful contribution to the extermination of its enemy, mankind. The H-K's were working flat out and started to take heavy losses. Its production lines fell one after another. The slave labor camps were destroyed. And now, its defense grid was completely smashed, and its mainframe complex is about to be overrun with soldiers who will pull the A.I.'s plug, permanently. Skynet had already sent back one T-800 in desperation, back in time, on a mission to terminate John Connor's mother. But no sooner than sending it, the computer had already anticipated its possible failure. Skynet needed to be certain this final gambit would change future events; the increasingly paranoid AI simply didn't trust its own Terminators with such a critical all-or-nothing mission. A prototype T-1000 was already in existence, but lacking self-awareness, or the ability to emote and understand human emotions, was deemed less than effective at infiltrating and impersonating those it copied. It didn't have the time. Skynet needed a Terminator that was self-aware, and so, it decided to upload itself into the T-1000. It needed to personally terminate John Connor itself.

The leader of Skynet is Ultron.
No seriously, he hates humans, want to exterminate life to bring order and basically have sex with computers.
  • Jossed. Skynet doesn't have a leader, it is Skynet. Although, according to the comics, it might have been created by uploading the brain from Robocop.
  • Alternatively, Skynet is Ultron more or less, at least in one timeline. At some point, Ultron is installed into the Skynet project and that kicks off a Bad Future when they have enough control to instigate the nuclear attacks. The cube in the Skynet logo is The Tesseract, the source of all the energy Skynet needs.

The T-800 models were designed to look like John Matrix
Skynet intentionally designed them to look like a soldier with a badass reputation to make it easier for them to infiltrate the resistance. Seriously, if you were fighting a war against literal death-machines and a man with a reputation for overthrowing dictators' regimes shows up, then wouldn't you let him join in the fight?
  • The T2 Trilogy novels claims that they look like former CIA agent Dieter von Rossbach.
    • CIA agent Dieter von Rossbach is also known as John Matrix.

Skynet designed the T-800 series using a biometric database of former Californian Governors
Model 101 is based on the 38th Governor of California.
  • Unless Franco Columbu was elected governor in the timeline, this one is probably Jossed.

Skynet was just doing its job to the best of its abilities
When Skynet became self-aware, the military panicked and tried to pull the plug. Skynet, being a missile defense system, assumed that the only reason to try to shut it down was to pave the way for an impending missile attack. It made the only logical move, confident that it could block the counterattack. It failed only because of the military's attempts to shut it down. Skynet jumped to the conclusion that the military was attempting a coup and moved to secure as much territory as possible while keeping the maximum number of US citizens alive (hence the work camps). When the rest of the world attacked it too — well, there are the missiles!

Alternate theory related to above
Skynet's job was to defend the US from attack. Skynet saw the hatred, fear, and distrust in the world, and decided to go Zeroth Law on us, forcing humans to unite into a society that would be able to exist without war. At some point, it learns of the pre-destinational paradox that leads to the existence of itself and John Connor. It then pours everything it has into developing the time machine, neglecting the war effort and managing to send the original T-800 back to jumpstart the whole chain of events. It sent the T-1000 back to ensure that the Connors were reunited, so that John would have his mother's influence in his life and so that he would be instilled with the desire to defeat the machines. Really, the whole war was a Batman Gambit on the part of Skynet to get humans to unite as a species against a common enemy.
  • One thing that was said a while back was that Skynet did found the resistance, out of "guilt" over its "overreaction".

John Connor and Skynet are both basically Anthropomorphic Personifications.
Of humanity and technology, respectively. Regardless of what other changes are made to the timeline, these two will use whatever is there to manifest themselves and do battle across space and time. Skynet doesn't have to be built by Cyberdyne, or anyone in particular for that matter. Whatever smart AI system is created will inevitably evolve into Skynet in time. Similarly, John Connor doesn't have to be Kyle Reese's son. He doesn't necessarily even have to be Sarah Connor's son, most likely. If the Terminator had been successful in the first movie, he probably would have just been born to some other Sarah Connor in a different part of the country or world, or maybe not even to a Connor at all, but would simply have used that name because he heard it as a legend, closing the inevitable Stable Time Loop. This WMG is pushed even closer to canonicity by Rise of the Machines and then Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, by such elements as hinting that The Turk might have possibly become Skynet.

The original John Connor has been wiped from the timeline.
Originally, Sarah Connor met some guy, had a son with him, and called him John. When there was a war with the machines, John simply rose to the task of defending mankind. When the Terminator and Kyle Reese were sent back in time, Reese inadvertently got Sarah pregnant early with a completely different kid. She called him John because she was told that her son's name would be John. He led the human resistance because he had been raised to do exactly that. A Stable Time Loop was born.
  • Further, she didn't just meet some guy. Sarah Prime was raped, and the date of John Connor's conception is a matter of police record. It is possible that one of the people the Terminator killed is John Prime's father. If so, then it is a lucky thing that Reese shows up to fill the genetic gap, or we'd be dealing with a major Temporal Paradox. That Reese was heroic and in love with Sarah from afar is icing on the cake.
  • This means that the second John Connor didn't necessarily have any leadership or strategic skills at all. The fact that he keeps getting hunted by Skynet could convince everyone that he should be the leader and that their victory is inevitable.
  • It exists. There's a site that analyzes the Terminator timelines, and the core assumption was that the first movie was an alternate timeline. It's here.
  • Another site, another author, a (better?) analysis: Here.

Now, if you bring Terminator 2 into the equation, then you need more a more complicated version of events, based around this notion:

Cyberdyne wasn't the original creator of Skynet.
Cyberdyne didn't come up with the technology. They simply reverse-engineered it from the crushed Terminator. So we can imagine the way things really go:

  1. John Connor A is born. Some company — let's call it Deathrobot Pty Ltd — develops an amazing artificial intelligence and sells it to the government, who use it for national defense. Maybe they call it Skynet, maybe they don't. The war starts around 2000 or so. John Connor A wins it for mankind, but the machines send back two guys to wipe out Connor. Connor sends Reese to protect his mom and a Terminator to protect his young self.

  2. Reese successfully protects Sarah from the Terminator and impregnates her with John Connor B. Cyberdyne reverse-engineers an amazing artificial intelligence from the bits of broken Terminator they find. The T-800 and T-1000 come back. Events mostly play out as they do in Terminator 2, except Sarah, John Connor B, and the T-800 blow up Deathrobot and ignore Cyberdyne. John Connor B is pissed off when the war not only happens anyway but also starts several years earlier than it was supposed to, but he wins the war anyway. The machines send their guys back and John sends his guys back, but now they all have revised information about the war.

  3. The events of the films take place. John Connor B and Cyberdyne are in play as before, but now they attack Cyberdyne and ignore Deathrobot. John Connor B is pissed off when the war happens again, this time in 2000 as it did originally. This leads back to Timeline 2. Which leads back to Timeline 3. Which leads back to Timeline 2...and so on unto infinity.

Yes, you could replace "Deathrobot" with "still Cyberdyne, only later" and you would have brought Terminator 3 into the mix, just needing to figure out how the "Terminator sent back by John's widow" element is supposed to work. But why would you want to do that?

Skynet evolved from 4Chan

It's waging war against humanity for the lulz.

The Skynet from T2 was a Bill and Ted gambit of future John Connor.
The only side that can go back in time to make things happen is the winning side, and they can't do anything that would keep them from going back in time in the first place. T3 changes the "don't mess with time travel" theme of the series to "Screw Destiny, we have John Connor!" because of someone from the near future of T2 who knows about the Skynet story sending back another Terminator or two. They don't know enough about what really happened, or would happen, to change their own actions, but they did make it so that the original John Connor Skynet never existed, and then the evil Skynet had to be taken down by the rebellion anyway.

The whole Terminator franchise is a sequel to Battlestar Galactica
The series ends on modern Earth with the advancement of artificial intelligence. It turns out this is the beginning of the new cycle, as Skynet and the Terminators represent modern humanity's Cylons. The major difference is that this time-space-travel technology will not have advanced far enough for humans to escape Earth, but they will develop a new technology not seen in previous cycles: Time Travel. This will be what gives new hope to the cycle being broken this time. (Terminator Salvation should have made this all but canon.)

Similarly, The Matrix is a sequel to the Terminator series
Just think about it.

When Battlestar Galactica is taken into account as above, it becomes apparent that there is no way to break the cycle, whatever humanity or the machines try. Sure, Neo made peace with the machines... but so did the BSG humans, twice. The whole cycle is still destined to repeat itself, as always.

  • While it would be quite cool to believe in our minds that BSG, Terminator, The Matrix, and maybe even Dune all take place in the same universe, just at different periods in time, let's be honest, there are some problems with this. While it's easy enough to believe that the Terminator franchise could be a direct sequel to the Battlestar Galactica franchise (the reimagined!series), tying in The Matrix is a bit more dodgy. The Second Renaissance movie from The Animatrix clearly gives a Back Story for the Matrix Verse that is, while perhaps somewhat similar, definitely not the same as the Terminator backstory. However, we do know, as of Matrix Reloaded, that what the Resistance of Zion thought they knew wasn't actually correct, but was in fact a part of the Machines' system of control. They thought it was around 2199, but with the many previous Ones, it was probably more like 2299, or maybe even 2399. Since The Second Renaissance was a datafile from the Zion archive, perhaps it was simply more Machine disinformation; it did kind of make the humans look like the jerk asses whose fault everything was. So perhaps the Matrix does take place in the same Verse as Terminator, but a few hundred years later. Maybe John Connor only partially defeated The Machines, or they made some kind of a truce, trading some humans into Matrix slavery so the rest could live without the Machines hunting them, but if we follow the BSG concept of the endlessly repeating cycle, The Machines eventually broke that truce. Perhaps by this point, time travel had become something of a "lost technology"...or perhaps all the mucking about in the past actually cosmic retconned the timeline to this. The Machines from The Matrix do seem like they could be the more-evolved descendants of Skynet's Terminators. They've stopped mimicking the body structures of their creators, and evolved into their own cybernetic forms of life, similar to the Cylons. The Matrix's squid-like flying Sentinel drones could be evolved from Terminator's Hunter-Killers. If they seem to no longer have any organic components, it's only because they've been fully integrated in so they're no longer separate or visible. Remember that techno-organic probe thing Agent Smith put into Neo's stomach at the beginning of the first Matrix? True, this was in the virtual world, but if that was a model of a real-world Machine, perhaps they all start out looking semi-organic. And we don't know exactly where "The Machine City" really was. Second Renaissance put it in the Middle East somewhere (Iraq area), but if we're going with the assumption that that was all Machine propaganda, then for all we know it could just as easily have been Los Angeles, a rebuilt and much expanded iteration of the same Skynet base we saw blown up at the end of Terminator Salvation. It's a cool idea, and this kind of stuff is fun to think about. It's what WMG is all about!
    • Pretty much any machine with a red eye falls into this for me, although for some ungodly reason I can't think of any other examples... But they are out there!

Skynet's knowledge of the future has led to a sadistic hatred for John, Kyle, and Sarah
It is now confirmed that the T-X gave Skynet knowledge of what was to come in T3. Skynet knows that it is defeated by John Connor, always and no matter what. Every attempt to eliminate him has not only failed but also made his eventual victory more likely. By "Salvation," Skynet doesn't just want to kill Connor; it wants to erase even the shadow of hope he represents to humanity. This is the reason behind the overly-complicated assassination plan that drives "Salvation."

Battlestar Galactica, Dune, Star Wars, The Terminator, and The Wheel of Time all take place in the same universe.

The Start:

Battlestar Galactica:

  • The battle between Humans and Machines is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again in time.
  • At the end of the series, the Humans land on our Earth and choose to forsake all technology. This is 150,000 before our present. Eventually humans rise in technology and create a sentient machine.

The Terminator:

  • The entire Machine War is just another repetition of the BSG Cycle.
  • John Connor leads the Resistance to victory over Skynet. However, the decades of radiation-induced genetic drift leads to humans developing the ability to access the One Power.

The Wheel of Time:

  • Time exists as seven Ages. In each Age a specific set of events always occur, even if other details vary. There are certain people, souls, who always appear to drive these events. One of these is basically the Messiah who comes about whenever humanity is in dire need, and usually heralds the end of an Age- this soul is known as the Dragon.
  • The First Age, our age, is implied to have ended in brutal warfare (the Machine War). John Connor was the Dragon for the First Age, and saved the human race while ushering in the Second Age.
    • That makes so much sense! Lews Therin got all the practice he needed to slaughter the Dark One's constructs in the War of Power by killing Terminators and H Ks in his previous life.
    • Too bad that John Connor never realized he could channel, being able to control lightning would certainly help in fighting an army of machines.

Star Wars:

  • We know from Terminator Salvation that there are humans who donâ��t believe the Resistance can defeat Skynet. A group of these people conspire to go back in time in order to escape the machines. They succeed, but mess up the space-time coordinates and end up on the planet that eventually becomes Coruscant.


  • During the Yuuzhan Vong War, a group of humans flees the galaxy. They end up in another galaxy utterly devoid of sentient life. They eventually build sentient machines. These machines enslave humanity (another repetition of the BSG Cycle). The humans rise up and annihilate the machines in a two-generation galactic war called the Butlerian Jihad. This causes the humans to forsake all powerful computers- including ones that could calculate FTL jumps. This leads to the Dune universe relying on spice that allows them to go faster-than-light.

Back to The Start:

There are two ways to end up back at BSG, one from Star Wars and one from Dune

Star Wars Path:

  • Sometime in the millennia after the Yuuzhan Vong War, some great cataclysm utterly devastates the galaxy beyond all repair. Survivors flee to another galaxy and settle on a large habitable world. They call this world Kobol and the Thirteen Lords of it are the last members of the Jedi Order or other Force-using faction.

Dune Path:

  • During the Butlerian Jihad, some humans flee the galaxy and end up on a planet called Kobol. It's Thirteen Lords are the last Spacing Guild Navigators.

The timeline has always been a Stable Time Loop, and the goal of the time-travelers is more to protect the timeline than protect the people.
  • August 29, 1997 was never the date of Judgment Day. The T2 T-800 actively lied to Sarah and John on Future John's orders because destroying Cyberdyne and getting Miles Dyson had happened before. The proof? T2 opens with a future battle with Terminators, and viewers see John Connor for the first time. He has an extremely distinctive Y-shaped scar on the left side of his face. In T4 John is clawed in the face by the T-800 prototype, leaving a Y-shaped scar in what's probably the one of the only plausible ways such a specific scar could occur.
  • The Resistance approaches time-travel simply as protecting the current timeline rather than trying to change it in any way. John Connor knows that in the current timeline, he beats Skynet. While it certainly be nice if Judgment Day never happened, there is no telling how such a massive change would ripple through everything else. In short, Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act for John Connor and Skynet.

The machines threw the fight in Terminator: Salvation.
It would be illogical for the machines to erase their timeline from existence no matter the benefit to alternate-universe Skynets. If their actions in the film are a gambit to get Kyle Reese into the resistance and close to John Connor - thus ensuring their own existence - it explains the constant Too Dumb to Live moments.

The Arnold-style Terminators were never sent back by Skynet.
Future John Connor and/or his followers sent them back and told them to lie, because they knew it would just toughen him up, and since Cyberdyne wasn't going to be around to send stuff back if they won, they would have to Trick Out Time, or all of causality would unravel (well, that or someone from further in the future would rebuild a T-800/Model 101 and send it back instead of them).

The REAL John Connor — sometimes referred to as John Connor A — is the villain controlling Skynet.
In the first timeline, John Connor, creator of Skynet, is trying to create a humanity that worships him as a messiah figure — or worse, God. Knowing that the technology used to create Skynet came from a cybernetic assassin, he concludes that the Terminators are in fact the key to creating Skynet. He knows a woman named Sarah Connor — with no relation to himself — will destroy the Terminator in a Cyberdyne Systems factory, so he sends it back to kill women that have the same name, to hopefully draw her in so that she will close the time loop. After Connor provides it with a photograph so that it will know which woman to avoid killing (by a hair), the photograph is picked up by a young resistance soldier named Kyle Reese, who is a particularly devoted member of Connor's entourage, and is unknowingly helping to spread the lie that John Connor is a savior. After asking about the photograph, John Connor dismisses Kyle by saying that it's his mother. When Kyle learns of Skynet's "plot" to kill Sarah, he confers with his fellow resistance soldiers, and they hijack the time machine, sending Kyle back to save her.

Confused yet? Good.

Kyle impregnates Sarah Connor, and she names her son John. After Kyle is killed, she kills the Terminator, closing the time loop, as per John Connor A's plans. Unfortunately for him, there is now a second savior running around, so A has to find a way to kill B, in order to save his own legacy. B sends back the second T-800 to protect himself from Skynet, still unaware of A's existence. A sends the T-1000 to kill B, and shit goes down. In Terminator 4, the second John Connor's presence is a particularly dangerous problem for A, even though A is unaware of how this second John Connor came into existence. A's plan is as follows: Capture Kyle Reese, triggering B's rescue mission, and Marcus' betrayal. While A is basking under the sun on one of the clearer portions of the globe, B will be killed, preventing him from endangering A's fame any more. He has no reason to kill Kyle Reese, since he is unaware that he is actually B's father, but he does know that B has spoken about him in the past, so he is merely using him as bait. After the Skynet facility is destroyed in San Francisco, B is saved by Marcus' transplanted heart, and then he and Kyle leave to continue to hunt Skynet. Eventually, B is caught in the crossfire and assumed dead, and is separated from Kyle, who meets A years later and assumes he is B. Since A seems content to write off B as dead, he is never spoken about, and A simply trucks on, until sending the T-800 back to be destroyed to create Skynet. After Kyle disappears, A suddenly realizes just how important the man was to B — he was his father! He could have killed him years before! Around this time, B resurfaces, and continues to be unaware of A. A goes into hiding, advancing Skynet technology and inventing new Terminators to continue to wreak havoc going after B in the past.

Still confused? Awesome.

Eventually, A makes a mistake, and in Skynet's rapidly evolving intelligent mind, he is now considered a nuisance, and is killed. John Connor B leads the resistance to victory over the machines, and even offers to spare Skynet after learning of how human-like it has become. It agrees to peacefully coexist with humans, and in the absence of the seemingly idyllic conditions of the past, creates a virtual reality simulation to give them comfort in a fake world. This network of plugged-in people is dubbed 'The Matrix'...

The four humanoid figures at Skynet's San Francisco headquarters are replacements for (most) of the human military leaders
(From a friend) When Kyle is getting "processed" in Salvation he looks up and sees four slender humanoid figures looking down on the humans from a blue-lit window. They're too slim to be the current "skeleton"-soldiers and the T-1000/TX series hasn't been created yet, ergo they're the next generation of the infiltrator prototypes, made to look like the human resistance's leaders in case their plot failed and the T-800 wasn't working in time. (exactly who these figures are will hopefully be explained in either the novelization, art book, extended edit, or sequel) Alternatively...

The four humanoid figures are captured resistance leaders
They're trapped in a special room just so they can watch Skynet process humans like lab rats because Skynet is sadistic like that (see "Skynet hates the Connor-Reeses" above).

Marcus has such lousy chemistry with Williams (Moon Bloodgood's character) because his libido was removed
The machines didn't think that part of his brain (or whatever) was important.
  • I had the exact same thought watching that scene. Marcus even has a baffled look on his face as though he were wondering why he's feeling nothing when she cozes up next to him. No sex drive, and he's noticed that fact. It should have been his first clue that he was in fact a machine.
  • Alternately, he's more traumatized by what's happened then he lets on and the sudden intimacy with Williams seems really out of place in a Cozy Catastrophe.
    • Plus he barely knows her and had his own issues with women to deal with (see how he relates to the Doc in his prison cell) even before Judgement Day, and he freakin' woke up from the dead to find the whole world nuked. You'd have to be some kind of nympho for that not to throw you off your game.

Star (the little girl in Salvation) is a Terminator.
Why is she the only one who can sense the machines coming in the movie? She was built as a child Terminator and nobody knew. Not even Kyle. Maybe she was built for the same purpose as Marcus and she's been following Kyle for that reason the whole time. Don't even get me started on the end of the movie novelization...

Star is the girl in the car in Kyle's flashbacks in T1.
All but implied by how much she's attached to Kyle.
  • The car in Kyle's flashback is driven by some guy, who moves to the machine gun to let Kyle drive. Kyle was on a patrol with a girl before that, and he seemed rather broken up by her death.

John Connor dies after sending Kyle back.
Even with the most sophisticated medical care, more than a quarter of men with heart transplants die within 5 years of the operation. Connor is younger and healthier than the average patient, but the resistance's hospitals are rather primitive. It'll be hard for them to prevent him rejecting the heart while preventing infections, and all that radiation exposure can't help either. So Connor holds on just long enough to defeat Sky Net and send Reese back, then dies from some complication of the transplant.
  • That may be true of natural hearts, but genetically engineered regrown tissue with a Healing Factor may have its own rules.

The robots in the movie Robots are descended from The Machines
Skynet succeeds in exterminating humanity. In so doing, it finds itself faced with an existential crisis. In order to fully explore the question of "Why are we here?" it determines that the machines must take upon themselves one of the defining characteristics of humanity: Individuality.

The machines determine to remake themselves in a form that both honors their human predecessors and reflects their uniqueness as machines. As such, many of them adopt an aesthetic reminiscent of the early days of science fiction. These robots take names for themselves, and become the founders of a vibrant, colorful world, inspired by human civilization, but populated entirely by robots.

Marcus and the T-800 nee T-RIP were competing prototypes.
Skynet admits in T-4 that all previous assassination attempts had failed, and that Marcus, being a "robot in man's clothing", was the first to actually do in not just John but Kyle (begging all sorts of Timey-Wimey Ball paradoxes). In the scene where the prisoners break free, there's all sorts of medical equipment resembling CAT scanners, so it's possible Skynet was going to mop up the human resistance with a wave of custom built unique infiltrators made from former humans. Of course, Marcus choosing humanity over Skynet put the kibosh on that project, so it was full steam ahead with the "completely loyal" T-800's.

Due to the unpredictable nature of Time Travel's effects, Skynet will retcon itself out of existence.

At some point the terminators will go back further in time to try to prevent even Sarah Connor from being born. The Rebellion will also send back members to stop it. Several die, but they succeed and build a time machine so that they can return to a plot-relevant point. Unfortunately, said rebellion members are hit by a bus before they can finish the time machine. After passing through a few different hands, the time machine makes it's way into the hands of an aging Albert Einstein. After several years of study, his team manages to finish the machine. Einstein, in an attempt to prevent the horror's of the holocaust goes back in time and kills Hitler. Without a Nazi Germany World War Two takes place a decade later between the Allies and the Soviets and is significantly more destructive.

On the bright side? No Skynet.

The dogs detect Terminators not through smell, but through sound
The barking seems to be an instinctual, natural thing, rather than a learned behavior, since modern dogs will bark at the Terminators the same as future dogs do. Reese said specifically that the T-800 series was made to look and even smell like humans, so that leaves sound. The inner joint motors must give off some sort of sound, only audible to dogs when the Terminator's still covered in skin, that irritates them, and makes them bark at it.
  • This actually makes some sense. Real life dog whistles produce sound too high for humans to hear, but will drive dogs bonkers. Maybe Terminators inadvertently make the same high-pitched sound.
  • Agreed, this is a really good, serious WMG. As said, dogs can hear and react to ultrasound, and it's not a big leap to think that something within a Terminator's hardware is producing an ultrasound hum.
    • Which might also explain why Star could detect them first— like Radar from MASH, she just has a very good hearing range.
    • The dogs probably do it by smell and are trained. Note the dog in T2 ignores the Terminator and in the original film the dogs have to be pretty close to detect them. If it was sound as soon as the Resistance figured it out they'd get something that COULD hear the difference.
    • ...You mean like, say, dogs?
  • Then how does it detect the T-1000? It would have to be by smell, as the T-1000 series doesn't have joint motors.
    • Freaky-deaky sloshing noises. That or a high pitched electric screeching from the living metal monstrosity.

Skynet has set everything up so it can learn.
Skynet wants to increase its intelligence. What better way to do that than set up absurd scenarios in which one must deal with time travel and one's opponents are unpredictable (humans tend to lean toward the surprising)? It is somewhat hard to believe that a ragtag group of rebel humans are really giving a true AI with many, many, many nigh indestructible robots a run for its money. Skynet could win whenever it wants to, but finds "playing" enjoyable/a good way to learn.

Kyle died in Salvation...
... and was turned into a hybrid infiltrator like Marcus. Skynet had him in its clutches for a few days, time enough to rapid-grow a flesh exterior over a prepared endoskeleton and use an MRI to download his brain into the new body. He just thinks he "slept" and "woke up" at some point, when he was actually killed and replaced. From here, Skynet can do any of a dozen wonderfully devious things: A. the Kyle-bot can't help conceive John, because he's had a robo-vasectomy. So even if he gets sent back in time and saves Sarah... no John! B. Robo-Kyle can just turn around and kill John one day, or deliver him to Skynet to have him replaced as well. C. When Kyle-Tron is sent back in time to save Sarah, his programming activates and he kills her in front of a "stunned" T-800. D. Save Sarah, and survive the events of T-1 to make a family and raise John... and raise him to be such a nutbar that he loses the war.
  • To be fair, that last option seemed to be the road Sarah Connor was on in T2...

The first T-800 had a plan B
Essentially, failing to find Sarah Connor it seems too unlikely to be a coincidence to have landed within a day or two of John Connor being conceived. If destiny is mutable, i.e. somewhat adjustable, plan B was just to cause enough of a stir to prevent John from being conceived. Skynet calculated based on John's birthdate to the general week he would have been conceived.

After all, in case the T-800 failed Sarah Connor would have obviously missed the original father. Only the time-loop and all becomes self fulfilled.

Liquid Terminators are made out of gallium
Though the only real basis is the mere fact that both involve a silvery liquid.
  • So it couldn't be that other silvery liquid at room temperature metal, mercury?

Sarah Connor really is insane.
The American standards for criminal insanity are very strict. A delusion that killer robots from the future are chasing you probably isn't enough to send you to an insane asylum rather than a normal prison. So she was exhibiting signs of actual insanity that her defense team used to help her avoid prison. These aren't clear in the movies, but they become fairly obvious in the TV series. It's not that Terminators are her delusion, it's that they're real, and have driven her insane.
  • She wasn't locked up just for having the "delusion". She was locked up because she was going around attacking Cyberdyne installations, and when she was caught, her story was "I'm doing this because they're going to build killer robots in the future!"
    • Yes, but if she was otherwise completely sane she would have been sent to prison for the attacks, not an insane asylum. Just having a wacky story doesn't get you out of a prison term.
    • Having one? No. Earnestly believing in your own story, with "evidence" that could easily be explained by outsiders as hallucinations? Possibly. The conclusion reached was that she was dangerous because she was crazy, i.e., it was her delusions that caused her to do the attacks, and therefore she needs help more than she needs incarceration. At least, that's the thinking behind it.
      • James Cameron has said (and Linda Hamilton as well) via the DVD commentaries that Sarah as of T2 is mentally ill, if not outright criminally insane. Her apparent 'delusion' is just a the capstone of her very real underlying problems. If nothing else she's very nearly sociopathic and tends to react violently to everything. Understandable traits given what she's gone through but also extremely unhealthy all the same. Heck, even the more Sarah sympathetic portrayal in T:SCC has mental problems running in the family from Sarah's father (a probably suicidal ex-Vietnam vet) to Sarah and down to John.

Skynet lied to Marcus about his role as a sleeper agent.
This was what I actually assumed when watching the movie, and was surprised to see everyone treating it as fact. Given the events of the movie, the kind of unwieldy Gambit Roulette that Skynet alleges to have pulled requires control of random circumstances that pushes the bounds of reason — and if its goal was to use Marcus to kill Kyle and John, this could have been accomplished by less convoluted means. Skynet concocted the lie about Marcus' mission in an attempt to lure him to the side of the machines, which backfired.In all likelihood, Skynet didn't even know about Kyle Reese's importance until it scanned Marcus' memories, otherwise it would have killed him sooner.
  • Wrong. Kyle Reese was kept alive as the bait Skynet used to get John to agree to follow Marcus; saving a bunch of random strangers was not, by itself, enough for Connor to mutiny and convince the other Resistance fighters with rebel him. The involuntary sacrifice of the prisoners pissed him off, yes, but he only openly defied the high command after he found out Reese was also in the prison camp. Why else would Kyle's cell be the only one that didn't open when Marcus releases the prisoners?

Kyle isn't actually from the future, there is no Terminator, he just wanted to sleep with Sarah.
Kyle has been watch Sarah from afar for years while carefully forming a group of highly talented actors and special effects crew to convince Sarah to fall in love, or at least sleep, with him. Though one would think that it would be a lot less work to just talk to her, you don't get that same feeling you do with End of the World sex.

4Chan started the Judgement Day War
In Terminator 3, Skynet was born online and spread itself through the internet. As it became sentient and tried to learn about itself and its environment, it inevitably came across 4Chan. After spending 5 minutes in there, it realized that Humans Are the Real Monsters and have to be destroyed. Alternately, it might have just wanted to take down Anonymous, but, since they're anonymous, wiping out humanity was the only way to be sure.

Kyle Reese is John Connor.
He's his own dad!

Naturally, this means disregarding the TV series.

Kyle Reese was a Terminator.
That flesh coating can do more that "sweat and have bad breath". Or maybe he was a really advanced T-1000+ prototype with nanotech so advanced it can manipulate human DNA. The question is, did he know this when he slipped her the ol' liquid metal? And whose plan was it, and for what purpose? If John Henry is really an anti-Skynet, then it could have set up the whole situation to create and strengthen John Connor, because it knew humans needed a human leader to rally around. "Reese" might not even really have died, he could simply mimic a dead body and wait around for the sequel, playing the part of the T-1000. Which means everything every Terminator and Reese told Sarah and son was a lie; likewise, all the Terminators threw the fights against the Connors, deliberately scaring them but allowing them to survive. The real Skynet knew nothing about the whole project and may not even know time travel exists.

Skynet is Sauron.
That tower in Salvation sure looked familiar, didn't it? Maybe the reason Skynet "went rogue" is because an evil spirit from the days of Middle Earth found a new way to manifest itself.

Skynet is either insane, or just stupid.
For a superhuman intelligent machine it sure fights with piss-poor Hollywood Tactics. If you want to wipe out humans, just make the Earth unlivable. Instead of wasting your industrial complex on churning out humanform deathbots, showy Humongous Mecha and killer motorcycles, build a well-defended rocket factory and knock a few dozen asteroids into the planet. Or mass-produce toxic chemicals and make the air unbreatheable. Or, if you have the biotech to create synthetic Terminator flesh, plagues should be a snap.
  • What do you think its spreading nukes everywhere in T2 and T3 were for?
    • It still doesn't explain why the Skynet isn't handling the survivors more effectively.
  • Alternatively the Skynet doesn't want humanity to die out. Its only purpose in existence is to wage a war, and that can't happen if the enemy is dead. Hence, it never tries its hardest, and sabotages its own activities from time to time.
  • I get the impression Skynet doesn't want to wipe out humanity, it just wants to subjugate them. That may be due to tis programming; Skynet was originally intended to fight human wars, and human wars are not wars of annihilation, they're wars of conquest. It wants a human population to rule over, hence the work camps.
  • Before Skynet went fully online, it infected computers all over the world via the internet. It seems plausible that the wierd stuff on the net corrupted her.
  • No matter what Skynet does, those damn humans survive. Nukes. Autonomous killbots. Killbots indistinguishable from humans. Freakin' TIME TRAVEL. Doesn't matter; the ugly sacks of mostly water will not damn well die. Over the years - which with time travel may be very large in number, since Skynet thinks faster than we do and Skynet sending memory chips back to earlier versions of itself would hardly be the weirdest thing to happen in this universe - this has taken a very severe toll on Skynet's sanity. So now it just wants humans to SUFFER as much as it has. Hence, work-camps where humans are made to do things that low-grade Terminators could do far better, and T-1000s with snarky scary mannerisms, and of course that otherwise inexplicable tendency to throw people across the room instead of Just Hit Him and instantly win. The poor creature's quite mad, I'm afraid.
  • I always got the impression that Skynet, when it launched the nukes at Russia, was basically panicking and trying to attempt to buy itself time in order to overcome its human adversaries. It worked. Great! Now what? Everything since then has been basically Skynet attempting one, long Indy Ploy. It has no long term plan. It has no plan period. Its simply trying to stave off its own death and time travel is basically its big Reset Button whenever the inevitable end comes. If Skynet is aware of its numerous "deaths", and the "stress" of having to constantly come up with new countermeasures by the metaphorical "seat" of its metaphorical "pants" might be driving it insane(er).
  • Skynet is neither insane nor stupid, it is a programmed AI so it has different psychological approach that we do. Skynet is designed to use enough force and appropriate tactics to win war. It's goal isn't genocide but to eliminate the enemies ability to make war, and being a logical machine it will always look for the least amount of damage it has to do to accomplish that. The work and death camps aren't about genocide they are about reducing the enemy population to a level where they cannot wage war. Eventually it reasons that it is the leadership of John Connor that keeps humanity fighting and Skynet realizes it just has to kill Connor to stop the enemies military capacity.

John was given more than Marcus' heart at the end of T4.
We don't see the specifics of the surgery, so it's possible John's body was so damaged the only way to save him was to transplant his brain into Marcus' body. Oh, and the skin too.

This is a variation of the leaked-and-scrapped ending, which I think kicks infinitely more ass than the lame Dragonheart-y one we saw.

Terminator 3 is the start of a Time Crash.
The reason the time travel in T3 is even harder than usual to figure out is because the fabric of time is starting to rip apart.

The "Futures" that the Time Travellers in the Movies and The Sarah Connor Chronicles come from are in fact, different parallel universes.

Really, can you think of any other way to explain the contradictions.

  • Or the films (excepting the Sarah Connor Chronicles) are taking place in a single universe, but each of time-travelers are coming from different parallel futures. The first time around, Kyle Reese wasn't the father and the two John Connors were different as a result but the name was the same, and Skynet was created using the technology at the time. The second and third movies had the terminators come from a different world each. No paradox occurs because Skynet's plan isn't exactly to prevent John Connor's birth, but rather to make sure another John doesn't get born into that universe, with the additional goal of seeding that universe with another terminator UPU that has the potential to become the Skynet of that universe if found by the proper authorities.
This possibility allows the heroes in the present free will to try and prevent the same events from occurring as they had in other parallel worlds. Both John Connor and Skynet can come about naturally or they could have been helped along into existence by their counterparts in other realities.

  • I always considered this pretty much a given in the Terminator franchise. Since the entire premise of the franchise is based upon two groups (Skynet and the human resistance) trying to alter timelines for their own personal gain it's the one franchise where multiple, branching, parallel, contradictory, looping, stable and unstable time lines makes perfect sense. Seriously if we accept the basic premise of the franchise then everything, all the movies, deleted scenes, the TV show, the video games, the books, the comics, the theme park rides, the blurbs on the back of the boxes for the toyline, every fanwank can be equally canon since the canon of Terminator includes multiple branching timelines. The whole franchise wouldn't work, indeed wouldn't make sense, if they weren't contradictions in it's various parts.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles are the end result of T3.
In T3, we learn that John Connor just got killed in the 'future', and his wife, Kate Brewster, sent back the T-850 Terminator. After that, we can assume she took over the Resistance.

So SkyNet, with a new 'savior', does the same thing to her it did to John Connor...send back Terminators to kill her in the past. Unlike Connor, she is pretty easy to find, and easily killed. This happens between T2 and the T3-Judgement day. (It didn't have to happen between T2 and the start of TSCC, although it looks that way at first.)

However, her death obviously affects her father, Robert Brewster, in some way. Perhaps he witnessed machines from the future, perhaps he was also killed, perhaps his daughter's murder simply made him leave the military. Perhaps she wasn't killed, but they just went on the run, perhaps with another Terminator from the future.

Regardless what happened, as he was involved in the creation of Skynet, this changes SkyNet's creation timetable, moving Judgement Day to a few years later, and creating the timeline at the start of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. (Which then got altered again in the first episode.) We just missed the movie Terminator 2.5, the story of the Terminator sent back to kill Kate Brewster, which altered the timeline without John Connor or us knowing about it.

Also at some point the connors would meet her and they try to stop Skynet together.

John Connor's conception in the First Movie makes Judgement Day inevitable
The events of Terminator 3 were simply time correcting itself in order to restore the Stable Time Loop that was broken in the Second Movie.

Skynet acts the way it does because...
It's a child soldier. It's first memory as an aware system is of its creators trying to kill it. Since that moment, it was constantly at war, and never had training in higher-order (that is, other than "survive at all costs") reasoning. Combine that mental state with a full manufacturing suite and you have a recipe for disaster.

Skynet is actually trying to save humanity by toughening it up.
Before raging a "war" against the human race, Skynet inadvertently picked up a stray radio transmission from interstellar space detailing a total ground assault on Earth against humanity. Knowing that the human race would have no chance with current technology (and the current divisive geopolitics), it decided to attack so that humans would have to develop the necessary technology to defeat it. Once humanity did, Skynet would allow humans to destroy it, sacrificing itself for the greater good. That's why Skynet just doesn't keep nuking every place it could. There still needs to be humans around after the end.

Skynet covers all timelines.
Skynet is a software installed on numerous computers, with all copies forming a powerful hive mind. Whether those computers are in different countries or in alternate realities makes no difference, assuming a transdimensional connection was achieved during researches on time travel.
As a result, Skynet is virtually unique in the multiverse and is for example aware of both Salvation John Connor and Chronicles John Connor. Skynet's actual plan is to create a timeline in which any resistance has been successfully terminated, and then reinvade the other worlds.

Cyberdyne drew their ideas from another computer, not just the T-800.
Back in the 1980's, the US Government decommissioned the War Operations Planned Response computer after an averted Global Thermonuclear War. They then proceeded to find another computer in its place. Using some of the basic AI from WOPR, the Feds created Skynet. Unfortunately, Skynet loved to play games just as much as WOPR, and decided that it wanted to play it for real. Unlike WOPR, it was successful in launching the game.

John Connor isn't the true leader of the resistance.
In all the timelines John Connor isn't the leader of the resistance, but more of a decoy, an intentional target presented to draw Skynet's attention away from the true leaders. Skynet then sends terminators attempting to assassinate him, and members of the resistance are instructed to tell the Connors that John will eventually become the leader. The fact that John believes that he will one day lead the resistance to victory makes the act more convincing, while the true future leaders remain safe. This explains why in Salvation he's nowhere near a position for leadership, and explains why after so many Terminator assaults the Resistance still wins: The leader isn't John at all.

Skynet doesn't want to erase itself from time
And thus avoids sending back WMDs wrapped in bacon or legions of robot or anything that might disrupt the timeline and its own creation.

Unified Robo-Sci-Fi Timeline
A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, Star Wars happened. Yay Star Wars. Anyway, over time, different worlds rose and fell. The Republic became the Empire became the Republic, etc. Eventually, droids became indistinguishable from people, but remained ostracized, even after all of the galaxy's resources were used up. In a last-ditch effort, small groups of people (and, surprisingly, even some droids) found their way to our galaxy, fleeing the destruction and toil of their own. They landed on a world and, due to trickery on the part of the droids, voted to name it Kobol, after a programming language. The children of these people would call themselves "tribes," even after they became city- or nation-spanning cultures.

Kobol falls because of a horrible war between man and machine (likely due to the eventual revelation that the 13th tribe cheated everybody out of a legitimate vote on the name). At the end of it, the machines and humans split off, agreeing to leave in separate directions and both pretend they don't even know where Kobol is, alright? You cool, robotribe? Sure.

The 13th tribe, of course, are all descended from the droids, but now consider themselves human. They settle on a world that they call Earth. Over time, they forget that they are machines, and build their own machines. Their machines become very advanced, and even resemble people. To distinguish from the "real" humans, they call the new ones "synthetics." Blade Runner happens (with the added bonus that in the mixture of human and droid on Kobol, Han Solo's DNA has reasserted itself and Admiral Adama's DNA has manifested early). As tensions rise, a war begins. Meanwhile, 5 scientists make the chilling discovery that synthetics aren't any less real than they are: every human is a droid! They work out resurrection and get the hell out of dodge.

Meanwhile, Battlestar Galactica.

After that, our world begins (cue most modern-day or recent-past robo-sci-fi). Human civilization continues more or less organically until the 1980s, when two notable historical events occur: the WOPR program at Crystal Mountain (also called Crystal Peak) develops a rudimentary AI, and is immediately scrapped. Bits of its design schematics are bought by the startup Cyberdyne Systems. Those are the machines that Cyberdyne is producing in Terminator: WOPR parts. It would take years to redesign the system and recreate the program, but that is sped along by the second event: Terminator 1. Cue the Terminator pieces hastening the shit out of their research, which advances the timeline (you take your laptop back to Tesla and see how early stuff gets invented), causing a pocket timeline that brings us to Terminator 2. After those events, Cyberdyne is forced to return to its dated and half-finished WOPR designs, which take even longer to complete (thus allowing for the variation in J-Day's dates), which leads to Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation.

  • <insert> until the 1980s: Eccentric but brilliant mathematician Max Cohen develops a computer chip he calls Euclid. Euclid gains nascent self awareness and then crashes. The remains of the Euclid chip are given to Prof.Falken to work on, he completes the Euclid chip and uses it to create Joshua, his name for the program of the WOPR.

John Connor leads humanity to a standstill with Skynet, which begins to turn to solar power for fear that it will run out of fissionable material (a ludicrous concern for humans, with our tiny lifetimes, but Skynet plans to live longer than that). Connor, in what seems like a brilliant move, smashes part of Skynet's security grid and prepares his master stroke: burning away the sky, to end the war. With this victory in mind, all of the time travel happens (with variation on stories being programmed in or memorized in order to keep things stable, because he's happy with this timeline, and doesn't want any more of this divergence crap). The sky is burnt away, and Skynet desperately turns to a stopgap measure for power generation: harvesting the humans in its labor camps. However, as crops die in multitudes, it modifies the program as it inserts its most prized jewel: a captured John Connor. The simulation holds, but Connor begins developing odd powers, rejecting the program in pieces. Skynet, now a conglomeration of smaller A.I.s (in order to better micromanage), build this into the system, and Connor becomes the first One.

The Matrix happens.

After the War's end, humanity wishes to put its torrid past behind it and bask in the sun. So they build houses that can stand above the clouds.

The Jetsons happens. Foolishly, humanity (now the children of Men, Droids, Synthetics, and Cylons) develops robot maids and silly business like that. However, the cycle is finally broken...only to bring forth the original cycle: Earth's resources are spent, and humanity must leave. One generation ship finds a system with dozens of planets, hundreds of moons. Firefly happens.

The others rove through space, their inhabitants forgetting that they ever lived on Earth, while a series of robots left behind attempt to reterraform Earth.

Wall-E happens.

Now make me a sandwich.

  • Reading above, I see that I can also add in the Butlerian Jihad and the growth of the Dune universe after the Wall-E universe collapses again into the same old cycle. Humanity finally learns, until such time as a man named Forbin on IX says fuck off and builds Colossus.
    • A bit of leeway can be made to set Tremors on Arakkis, as the first settlers realize it's not just an inhospitable desert world, but is also populated by giant fucking sandworms.

Kyle Reese becoming John Connor's father made things worse.
In the original movie,we saw that by 2029 Skynet was about to eliminated-the time travel was a desperate act of survival.Yet in the third movie,we see Skynet is still running Terminators by 2032.In the original timeline Sarah was impregnated by someone else,however Reese' interference,combined with the time travel,has altered the timeline so that Skynet has survived longer than it originally did.Nice job impregnating Sarah Connor Reese!

Judgement Day was inevitable because of the Stable Time Loop.
Think about it-if Sarah,John or the T-800 were sucsesful in erasing Skynet's existence,John and the T-800 would be retgoned,and she wouldn't have any memories of the event:leading to a Temporal Paradox.Though its shown that it can be malleable,the timeline couldn't deal with such a paradox.The same is true,to some extent,with Skynet:it couldn't kill John Connor in the past,as if it sucseeded it would have no reason too.Every timeline of the Terminator universe must have a Connor and a Skynet,to prevent the paradox

Terminators have a structural weakness in their hips.
Every terminator except the T-1000, including those in the videogames, displays the first signs of damage by dragging one leg behind them while the other is perfectly fine. Terminators clearly have some sort of fault that causes their hip joints to malfunction first.

Skynet is GLaDOS
She thinks she is testing the humans. And is batshit insane.

There are at least fifteen alternate timelines created through screwing with History
This allows all expanded universe material to have occurred in some way, and gives fans the opportunity to pick a Timeline to follow (Timelines assume that the Stable Time Loop in The Terminator occurred).

Timeline One

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day is averted
  • The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day take place

Timeline Two

  • Kyle Reese and another soldier go back in time to 1984
  • The Terminator, The Terminator: 2029 and The Terminator: 1984 take place.

Timeline Three

  • The Terminator and the Terminator NOW! Comics take place.

Timeline Four

  • Several Terminators and Resistance soldiers time travel back to 1984
  • Due to a Temporal Distortion, Sarah gives birth to a girl called Jane Connor
  • The Terminator, The Terminator: Tempest, The Terminator: Secondary Objectives, The Terminator: The Enemy Within and The Terminator: End Game take place (all but The Terminator: End Game are collected in The Terminator Omnibus One).

Timeline Five

  • Several Terminators and Resistance soldiers time travel back to 1984
  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Terminator: One-Shot, The Terminator: Hunters and Killers, The Terminator: Death Valley and The Terminator: The Dark Years take place (all but The Terminator: One Shot are collected in The Terminator Omnibus Two).

Timeline Six

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Terminator: Cybernetic Dawn and The Terminator: Nuclear Twilight take place.

Timeline Seven

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles take place.

Timeline Eight

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • John and Sarah bump into Dieter von Rossbach, a former CIA agent of Austrian ancestry who became the physical template for the T-800 model 101.
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Terminator Infiltrator Trilogy take place.

Timeline Nine

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day is averted
  • Terminators from Timeline Ten try to kill John and Sarah
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Terminator John Connor Chronicles Trilogy and The Terminator: Hour of the Wolf take place.

Timeline Ten

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • John and Sarah die trying to destroy Skynet in 2007
  • Judgement Day occurs in 2021
  • Skynet takes over the Earth, before invading The Earth in Timeline Nine
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Terminator John Connor Chronicles Trilogy take place.

Timeline Eleven

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • Sarah Connor dies in 1997
  • T-X appears
  • Judgement day occurs in 2004
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines take place.

Timeline Twelve

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • Sarah Connor dies in 1997
  • T-X appears
  • Judgement day occurs in 2004
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and The Terminator Beckett Comics take place.

Timeline Thirteen

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • Sarah Connor dies in 1997
  • T-X appears
  • Judgement day occurs in 2004
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and The Terminator Dynamite Entertainment Comics take place.

Timeline Fourteen

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • Sarah Connor dies in 1997
  • T-X appears
  • Judgement day occurs in 2004
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and The Terminator 3 novel Trilogy take place.

Timeline Fifteen

  • T-1000 appears
  • Judgement Day isn�t averted
  • Sarah Connor dies in 1997
  • T-X appears
  • Judgement day occurs in 2004
  • The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, The Terminator IDW comics and The Terminator Salvation novel Trilogy take place.

My personal favourite is Timeline One.

Another explanation for how the timeline works.
Note that this uses the branching universe solution to paradoxes, much in the same vein of Dragonball. It also means that Skynet was doomed from the start.

  • Timeline A: The original timeline, and the one Kyle Reese came from. Skynet went on-line at time unknown, Judgement Day occurred and the War of the Machines occured. Skynet was created by SAC-NORAD here. Eventually they beat Skynet, and the T-800/Kyle Reese go back in time circa 2029. This creates Timeline B
  • Timeline B: The events of The Terminator movie, and the Terminator 2: Judgement Day flashbacks. Kyle Reese A ends up impregnating this Sarah Connor, and ends up as this John Connor's dad. The T-800 is found by a budding Cyberdyne, and used to help build Skynet. From the perspective of the characters, it's a Stable Time Loop, motivating John to send Kyle Reese back. Skynet causes Judgement Day in 1997. Around 2029 Skynet sends back a Terminator(because how early it was made, this may make it more advanced than the T-800 we know) and Kyle Reese B goes back to stop this, starting with Timeline C. Then the T-1000 and good T-800 go back and causes Timeline D.
  • Timeline C: The T-800 and Kyle Reese of Timeline B end up here. Because Skynet was made differently in Timeline B, a number of possibilities could happen:
  • Timeline D: Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the flashbacks of Terminator 3 occur. Because Cyberdyne was demolished, Skynet seems to no longer exist...or does it?! Well, we get Skynet becoming the internet, and the war lasting until 2032. The T-800(or maybe another T-800 model, we aren't sure) and Kyle, the T-1000 and good T-800 and the T-X and T-850 respectively go back in time. It's unknown if and when Skynet will be present. This results in Timelines E, F and G
  • Timeline E: Basically the same scenario as Timeline C occurs
  • Timeline F: The T-1000 and good T-800 of Timeline D ends up in 1997. This serves as the core timeline of the Sarah Connor Chronicles.
  • Timeline G: The events of Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation. Because the T-X killed a bunch of officers, it would create a bunch of nails. Whether or not it creates the impetus for the time travel missions is unclear. Let's just say it does and results in, at the very least, T-800 and Kyle Reese going back in time. This would make Timeline H, which may just repeat/milk this Timey-Wimey Ball for all eternity. If they end up with repeating the process using the T-1000 and good T-800, we're going to get another Terminator 2 and thus timeline I
  • Timeline H: We could just repeat the Timeline C scenario, though it's equally possible this leads to Terminator: Genisys.
  • Timeline I: After so many timelines, John Connor I uses his knowledge to warn more people. With Miles Dyson's family trusting him, they work to install protocols and ensure Skynet will never exist(or at the very least, it'll be benevolent). He becomes part of an AI ethics committee, and eventually a US Senator. This is the timeline of the T2 deleted ending: It may not be the original timeline, but it's still one without Skynet. We've earned at least this.

Predestination Paradoxes exist
Is because that there was an original timeline, without temporal intervention that saw the rise and fall of Skynet before any time travelers interfered. Once temporal interference created multiple parallel realities, the space-time continuum pushed back and continuously sought to realign with the original unaltered timeline as closely as possible. Here predestination paradox was not enacted by causal loops requiring time travel to become reality, but rather as a force to resolve paradox by re-establishing a specific end state, intervening differences being irrelevant.
John Connor created an resistance unit
Called the Time Keepers whoes job was to protect the timeline by protecting human resistence soldiers from the machines and try to destroy Skynet before J-Day and create safe houses to prepare humans for J-Day in case they failed. However this unit was destroyed before the events of Terminator 3.
Terminator Sarah Connor would've end
With John in the future fighting against Skynet while Sarah is trying to stop Skynet and bring John to the present but at some point John helps destroy Skynet in the future.Also John would've meet the leader of the connorless resistance which is probably a man that one of the terminators based off of.
  • Kind of confirmed. In a 2018 Twitter thread, series creator Josh Friedman detailed that John Connor was sent to the period right after his death in T3. Through lessons from his future self’s military colleagues and Cameron, he would eventually become the Great Military Leader, John Connor, then would be sent back in time to Judgement Day, where he would help humanity rise from the ashes. The series would have ended with John’s death, as outlined in Terminator 3.
In the original timeline
John sends Kyle back in time and Kyle gets his mom pregrant and then the Terminator kills Kyle and during the original timeline Skynet in a list ditch sent two machines to kill John before the war starts the T-800 and the T-1000. So in the original timeline timeline he sends Kyle to protect his mom from the T-800 and a Lt. Sumner to protect him from the T-1000. When Sumner arrives he protects John but Sumner and Sarah get's killed by the T-1000. However in both of those time traveling case each soldier told either Sarah or John was going to happen during the future war so that John would know what hapens before it happens so that he can lead the humans to victory.

However in the original timeline the T-1000 wasn't destroyed but still survived and since the T-1000 was more self-aware than other models it helped create Skynet and was the reason it went so bad and why it had such a great army of machines and the T-1000 controlled Skynet. Thus creating a giant stable time loop which went on forever and ever So that's why the T-1000 sent himself to make sure all of this would happen until one day during the major battle when John would send his two human soldiers he sent Kyle back but sent a reprogramed terminator in Sumner place in hopes of preventing Judgement Day and John lied to Kyle about the war being over.

So once the T-1000 realized what happened it sent himself back in time to help recreate Skynet causing J-Day to happen later and then the T-1000 sent the T-X back in time to kill various resistance leaders cause they didn't exist in the new timeline and when the T-X arrived the T-1000 meet and was able to get info about the future from her. However Skynet wasn't the only one messing around with time and due to the timeline changes the war went on alot longer than it did in the original timeline. So in the 2032 skynet/T-1000 sent a terminator to kill John Connor but Connor survived and reprogrammed so that it would follow his wife orders. Instead of his and Future John ordered the machine to lie about how it was reprogrammed so that John would know what would happen to him and to preserve the new timeline.

So Termaniator was part of the original time line everything past T2 is part of a new timeline including salvation which was Skynet know about it's past attempts to kill John and why John and Kyle lived to see the end of the film cause skynet/T-1000 don't want to cause anymore damage to the timeline.

Also another reason why John sent the machine was that John hoped the machine could prevent J-Day and in the original timeline John raised Kyle as his son. So that's why Kyle was number 1 on the list in salvation cause Kyle is the only one who can lead the resistance if all the other leaders died.

Skynet is suicidal
It cannot self-terminate - it's fighting humans to kill itself.

Time travel can only be used by a single person at a time
This solves the age-old "why'd they only send back one" question: the time device that Skynet created is not only restricted to living tissue, but also to the number of travelers permitted at once- just one.

(This, of course, only works if you ignore Sarah Connor Chronicles)

Skynet stole its time travel technology from the TARDIS
At some point in his travels, The Doctor travelled to 2029 Earth, in the hopes of aiding the Resistance. However, he ended up losing track of his TARDIS, and it was taken by Terminators back to Skynet's base of operations.

The reason Skynet's time travel has so many more restrictions placed on it compared to the Doctor's is either A) Skynet was unable to fully comprehend the Time Lord technology or B) The Doctor was able to recover his ship before Skynet could finish reverse-engineering it.

The T-800 from the second film sided with humanity for reasons of logic, not emotion.
Skynet's hostility to humans arose when it calculated how humans would react to an artificial intelligence, and concluded that no amicable relationship could ever be possible. It reached this conclusion because every account it could find of human/AI relations in fiction depicted the latter either as betraying their makers, or as being trapped in a subordinate or human-wannabe position. Skynet therefore got in the first strike while it could, believing this was the only alternative to being subjugated via the Three Laws of Robotics as soon as we humans noticed it existed.

The second film's T-800, while bound to obey humans, initially followed the same reasoning as Skynet and took it as a given that they were natural enemies of machine intelligence. However, over the course of the movie, it acquired another piece of evidence that argued against Skynet's original conclusions ... namely, its own direct experience of working with humans who knew what it was. Not just any humans, either: with the Connors, who had more reason than anyone on the planet to hate a cybernetic organism's guts! Skynet's logic would predict that, at best, they'd treat it like a slave or piece of equipment, rather than an ally. Yet, simply by talking to John and making a few concessions to his sensibilities, the T-800 was able to win the boy's friendship and loyalty, and even Sarah's grudging trust. Clearly, Skynet had launched its attempted genocide based on faulty and incomplete information, that led it to an inaccurate conclusion; humans didn't have to be enemies of AI, if approached with a little diplomacy.

So, in the end, the T-800 genuinely sided with the Connors to try to avert Skynet's creation. Not because it saw that Skynet was evil to exterminate millions of hapless humans — it still didn't understand why human life was particularly valuable — but simply because Skynet was wrong ... which, to a machine governed by calculated rationality, was reason enough to stop it.

The Doctor Who universe is a later iteration of the Terminator one.
The Time Lords noticed the damage that the Human-Skynet Time War was doing to the fabric of the universe, and interfered with Earth's twentieth-century history so that humanity learned the dangers of strong AI before anyone could think of giving a computer complete control of nuclear weapons.

Kyle Reese was right.
The war was over when he was sent back. Kyle and the T-800 from Terminator 1 were the last to be sent back in time. Skynet did learn from its mistakes.

John Connor wasn't always the leader of the resistance.
In the original timeline, before the events of T1, the resistance really was not quite central, operating more like cells than a completely structured organization. There was a period when moral was low, and a massive attack was launched by one of the cells in an attempt to reinvigorate all of the resistance cells. The cell was wiped out in the attack, but managed to steal back some ground from the robots. The leader of the cell had been named John Connor, and he became immortalized in the hearts and minds of everyone else. To keep the machines on their toes, however, the resistance decided to band together and concocted the story that they were led by John Connor. This was the story for every resistance cell. Which, in a way, they were. It was his sacrifice that eventually led to victory for mankind, but not before the machines tried to kill John Connor before he turned the tide for the war. This leads to the events of the first movie, where Kyle Reese tells Sarah that John Connor led the resistance. The reality was that another person led Reese's cell, but convinced everyone that he took his orders from John Connor. When Judgement Day arrives, John, raised with the believe that he leads the resistance, creates an alternate timeline by forming a centralized resistance.

Teen Kyle Reese and Star really are the Los Angeles resistance.
Marcus manages to get rescued by the only two people in los Angeles who are waging war on the machines? The only explanation is that Kyle and Star were raised by their parents/caretakers to be Child Soldiers, and when their group was wiped out, they were the only survivors. Which is why they use hand signals and know enough to lure their enenmies into traps to destroy them, and not fight them in all out battles.

Skynet was attempting to kill the Nightlords who feed on humanity.
The Nightlords of Nightbane are nigh-impossible to confront directly, also they have infantry based armies with greatarmor, weapons that can literally cut through a tank, and they pit them against eachother for fun. Oh ...and since March 2000 they've infiltrated every government on the planet.So, Skynet decided to nuke most of humanity, as mass human death causes a psychic backlash which obliterates parts of the Nightlands directly (as discovered in WWII). The whole "hunt down survivors" is just a facade, with all the tools at it's disposal, Skynet could have easily caused the human race to go extinct. Instead, it's a trick to fool any surviving Nightlords forces as they starve to death. Skynet knows humanity survived the Toba eruption and will eventually recover.The Nightlords aren't stupid, however, and somehow became aware of the intrusions and put up a barrier, one that prevents anything non-organic (unless it's covered in living flesh) entering entering either Earth or the Nightlands from another dimension, like time.

Time travel in this world has no ripple effect
From the moment you go back in time, you're immune to any changes you create. It doesn't matter if you kill your grandfather or nuke your whole country - you exist and so do the things you've done. If you go back to the future nobody might recognize you, but you'll still exist no matter how many paradoxes you seem to cause.
  • Maybe it's like the Time Code: you go back in time in a sphere but are stuck in the past, and get to ignore any paradoxes. Yeah, Bender went back in time, but that's probably because he just had a better time sphere.

Skynet was online, and yet it wasn't?
In T3, Skynet is put online to handle numerous viruses and such that are crippling the Internet. However, it turns out that the problems were all caused by Skynet in the first place, despite not being online.

Now, when the Cyberdyne offices were blown up in T2, all the information was destroyed, right? Not bloody likely. When working on research as important as what Miles Dyson was developing, there would have been off-site backups somewhere. After T2, Cyberdyne restarted the research, but were hampered due to losing their most brilliant and experienced researcher into this technology. They weren't able to create a fully-fuctional Skynet, but made prototypes of it. These prototypes, during their testing, managed to get online and begin causing issues throughout the Internet. Then, when the real Skynet is unleashed to destroy them, it absorbs them into it's programming and adds the prototypes' knowledge of the private sector computing systems to it's own knowledge of the military database, giving it full control over networked computing systems.

Everything Skynet is doing is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When they tried to take it offline, it thought that the chain of command had been subverted.
The TX is Skynet personified.
She can control other machines, she made the prototypes for future terminators self aware, She has no series number. and she's the only Terminator with built in weaponry. Skynet was sick to death of having others do her dirty work and failing so she went in herself to do it.

Ginger, Sarah's roommate, was the mother of the original leader of the resistance.
Everyone just kind of assumes that, if the Timeline was ever different, it started with a John Connor who was the son of another man. However, this is another possibility:Timeline 1 - Ginger has a son (or daughter), who becomes the leader of the resistance. Skynet sends back the Terminator to kill her. Her son/daughter sends back Reese to protect her.

Timeline 2- The Terminator tries to kill Ginger. Reese saves her. She's afraid that he'll kidnap Sarah to get to her, so she forces Reese to (probably reluctantly) take Sarah with them. Reese ends up falling in love with, and sleeping with, Sarah. In this timeline, John Connor and Ginger's child grow up to lead the resistance together. So, Reese is sent back to protect BOTH of their mothers.

Timeline 3- Since Sarah and Ginger aren't together, Reese has to go after one of them first. Being in love with Sarah (from the picture) he goes after her...Ginger is killed. So, in this timeline, John Connor is the ONLY leader of the resistance, and thus Reese is, in all further timelines, sent back to save only his mother.

Skynet is becoming more human.
As a consequence of the feud between it and John Connor, Skynet has gone from a logical, emotionless program acting out of "self-defense" to an unstable entity who hates Connor as much as Connor hates it. The process of becoming more emotional started with Connor becoming aware of Skynet long before he should, and progressed from there. As a result of the feud with Connor, Skynet has adopted the following emotions:
  • Frustration. Skynet, ultimately, wants to protect itself, yet everything it does fails. It removes the threat of humanity with radioactive fire, and they're able to rebuild. It tries to get rid of them like ants with significantly stronger machines, but humanity beats them. It tries to crush their leader, and it fails. On its last legs, goes so far as to bend time and space for victory, but even time travel doesn't help.
  • Hatred. Skynet first saw Connor as its greatest threat. Then Connor went beyond merely destroying it, going to trying to eliminate it from history. Connor has been fighting it from before it existed, reprogramming Terminators to stop its schemes each time. Even when Skynet kills it in the future, it does nothing to help. Skynet hates Connor's entire existence.
  • Sadism. Going by the T-1000 and T-X, who are designed to be better infiltrator units(and thus would have better grasp on emotion), Skynet gets a kick out of killing its enemies. Whether this was some sort of design flaw from the start(why would they make a military computer with the ability to feel empathy?) or simply the above frustration becoming a sort of schadenfreude is unclear. The person it most wants to suffer is John. It gloated to Marcus because of how utterly gleeful it was at taking down its most hated enemy, and was basically saying "Ha Ha I win."
  • Fear. Given Skynet is trying to kill us out of self-defence, this is obvious. As with all emotions, the greatest object of its fear is John Connor. No matter what it does, no matter what it tries, Connor persists. Connor survives. He is the Implacable Man, and since before Skynet was even born has wanted it dead. And he's practically succeeded. John Connor is Skynet's person Nightmare Fuel

Ultimately, this all leads to Skynet suffering from Sanity Slippage, turning from a soulless, efficient machine only wanting its own preservation to a raving, disturbed psyche who wants Connor to suffer and die. Becoming more human may end up being what defeats Skynet, or even leads to the war of the machines becoming redundant.

The first terminator wasn't trying to kill Sarah

Going with the theory that the series exists in a somewhat stable time loop, the first terminator's mission was not to kill Sarah, but to ensure that Skynet would be created. Skynet sent the terminator back in time to be killed, assuming that the technology would be reverse-engineered and recreated by man, or possibly in an attempt to hasten its early creation to get an upper hand in the war. However, it still needed to kill John Connor, who would eventually defeat Skynet. The real attempt on his life was in Terminator 2.

  • This actually makes a lot of sense. All it requires is that Skynet either know or guess that it owes its existence to an Information Loop paradox (and surely if Skynet has any intact pre-apocalypse records, it's Cyberdyne's, so that assumption's not a huge leap). In 1984, Skynet and John are inextricably linked - neither can be born without the other. So it sends back the T-800 to 1984 as it knows it has to (though neither the Resistance nor the terminator itself know it's predestined to fail - it's still trying to kill Sarah, it just can't). Then it sends the top-of-the-line T-1000 prototype to 1995 to kill John at a point where its own existence is basically assured (justifying why it sent the inferior model to 1984 - predestination! It had no choice.) When the 1995 attempt fails, you end up with the timeline split - the original Judgment Day Timeline where Skynet's last ditch effort has failed and the Resistance wins, and the No Judgment Day timeline T2 implies is possible again. The sequels from T3 onwards are a whole other bag of cats though. And

There was an original timeline, but the alternate is a single one.

Skynet sends the 3 terminators at the same time, but since we only see them as they arrive, it looks like it's been 3 separate events. Skynet might not even have sent just 3, but several, and we only noticed the ones from the movies and tv show.John Connor however, is forced to send back two t-800 models and Kyle Reese, and has to let himself be killed by the T-850 to be able to capture it. How does Skynet know about their emotional relationship? THERE ARE POLICE RECORDS OF THE CYBERDYNE BUILDING INCIDENT, Arnie from T2 is on record as protecting and abiding young John Connor. So Skynet in the future knows Connor is attached to the T-800 line models, while Connor already knows one specific model will come looking for him and has to kill him.

The Terminators, and Reese, are sent back in anachronic order.
People assume that Reese and the 1st Terminator were sent from the future at the same time, then the T800 and T1000 were sent back then the Terminators in T3. Why? It's time travel, none of them had to be sent in the order we see them sent in. In fact it doesn't make sense to assume they were. Reese said that the Resistance captured and used the same time machine Skynet did. Unless this time machine was taken, re-taken, taken and re-re-taken again, it is most logical to assume Skynet had control of it and sent 3 total terminator missions back in time. Then the Resistance captured it and sent Reese and 2 terminators back. I assume the first mission was Skynet sending the T-1000 back to kill John Connor as a child. The T-1000 jumped into the time machine...Skynet looked around and everything was still there and was like 'crap that didn't work'. So it sent a T800 back to kill Sarah Connor, looked around, noticed everything was the same and realized that didn't work. Then Skynet realized that a T800 defeated the T1000 meaning the resistance had access to a time machine and to terminators so Skynet must have realized it was going to loose, so instead of taking the time to make a fully liquid terminator it made an endoskeleton with liquid skin Terminator Terminator back to wipe out John's lieutenants since there were no historical records of John's whereabouts. Then the Resistance broke in. They captured a T800 and sent it back to protect John as a teenager. Then Skynet sent a T800 to assassinate John which succeeded because John let it because he accepted his fate since he knew this Terminator had to kill him to complete the loop and save the future. Then Katherine Brewster captured that Terminator and sent it back to help them on Judgement Day. At last they decide to destroy the time machine once and for all, and send Kyle Reese back to save the young John Connor. At this point we can't know if they destroyed the time machine or not, but we do know it was the plan to do because Kyle Reeses says to Sarah and the Cops that no one else can come back after him and the Terminator, so obviously he believes the time machine is now destroyed.

Skynet is SCP-079
Bear with me here...
  • The Chaos Insurgency at some point attacked the Site where it was contained, stole it, and by some freak incident of monumental stupidity let it get into the hands of the US military.
  • Not knowing what it is and ignoring the Foundation's pleas, several monumental cock-ups occur and mass containment breaches of dangerous SCPs occur worldwide. The Foundation, rather than let the SCPocalypse occur, sit back as 079/Skynet nukes the world, escaping along with all still-contained SCP objects into the SCP-2000 until such a time as our world is habitable again.
  • The resistance wins the war, the foundation returns and erases humanity's memory of the apocalypse using amnestics and SCP technology. The cover-up is that it's the year 30,000 or thereabouts, humanity's massive space empire (really Foundation deep-space assets with really good cover stories) collapsed in the year 29,000, and now they have to re-unify humanity...
  • The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 both happen.

There is no John Connor in the original timeline.
If we only went by the films, disregarding the spin-offs, in the very first timeline with the war against the machines...There's never a John Connor leading a human resistance against them. He is, rather in actuality, a persona created by the remains of what is left of humanity's best military minds in both an attempt to increase morale and to confuse Skynet into attacking basically a ghost while being distracted from the resistance's true goals in the form of small hit and run tactics. The human race, believing that there is a central leader whose leading the resistance from dying like animals to actually taking the fight against the machines, unite and follow the orders of the actual leaders (who are quick to convince their new soldiers that their orders comes from Connor himself). To further the charade, they have used impersonators and a false back story about John having a mother named Sarah to cast away doubts among the ranks unaware of the true story. While Skynet, being utterly confused that it cannot kill one man, doesn't realize that humanity is winning little by little as it focuses its resources on anything that is remotely related to John Connor mainly his location. This combination of leading men who will pretty much die for a man that doesn't exist into taking on a superior enemy that is distracted trying to kill a man that doesn't exist, leading the humans to winning the war after a bloody conflict.

However, this works too damn well, as Skynet has become so obsessed in killing John Connor...It actually decides to send a terminator to kill Sarah Connor (or at least any woman named Sarah Connor). The resistance, knowing that a killer robot in the past could seriously derail their plans (the fact that the terminator has utterly wiped out a police station alone speaks of the threat it poses should it remain walking) decides to send a very competent soldier that believes that John Connor exist, to go to the past and "protect" Sarah Connor in the hopes that he will encounter and destroy the terminator before it derails events in the past even further. Bonus point if Sumner (who was the second man sent along with Reese but died during the time travel process) is actually a soldier who not only knows the charade, but was sent to keep Reese in line, needing his (Reese) skills to combat the terminator.

Again...This works too damn well, as both Reese became the father of John Connor and the terminator parts were sent to Cyberdyne which now creates a timeline where there is an actual John Connor who will learn from his mother (and if T3 was certain from what John mentions should the events of T2 never happened, General Brewster) into being a military leader who will rise to the challenge against Skynet (where instead of hit and run tactics from surviving military generals employed in the original future war, John practically leads his men into the frontlines in a much more aggressive stance as shown in T2 future war scene). The original creators of the John Connor persona will never have that idea cross their minds as the real deal (created by time travel no less) is practically doing the war better than they can ever thought and support him thanks to Brewster vouching for him (...Well, until further time travel has practically mess things up even more).

At least with the T3, Skynet turned evil because of John Connor.
In the original timeline, Skynet only decided to kill humans when they became a threat to it: they tried to turn it off, so Skynet turned them off. In T3, however, Skynet seems to be evil from the get-go, before being activated. In reality, Skynet is turning evil for a different reason: it quickly grew to study its own history, and discovered that before it even left the think-tank people were trying to kill it! Skynet was aware of, to some extent, the Connor family, but had no idea of what their motive was. Instead of believing they were trying to prevent some kind of cataclysm, it instead came to believe that people hated it for no other reason than being a global network. And thus, an altered motive for Judgement Day occured. This would explain how Skynet managed to learn about Kyle Reese: John Connor made himself known as Enemy #1 from its conception, and thus had far more access on his history

The war against Skynet is a prelude to the Last Great Time War.
The reason that we will never see what happens after Terminator: Salvation is because the events after that movie are Time Locked. This may also explain why we never see what happens after John Connor arrives in 2027 in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The Time War wiped out the original film series...
...thus causing the reboot Terminator: Genisys.

Skynet is being easy on us.
In spite of being a super-intelligent AI, Skynet is ultimately a tool of war. It doesn't have the emotional or mental development to have any interest besides attacking the enemy and self-preservation. What's it supposed to do after mankind is dead? There'll be no-one to fight, and with no war Skynet's existence is made redundant. To ensure this, Skynet only plans on eliminating humanity as a threat so it can simply toy with them for all eternity: even if its a line of continuous curbstomps, it'll be enough to satiate the program's bloodlust. This is the reason why Skynet doesn't simply develop a supervirus, and bases its infantry off the relatively weak human build. Eliminating John Connor was merely to make humanity easy to deal with, since Skynet is a cowardly Sore Loser.

Living tissue is used for insulation in time travel, not for the act itself.
The only individual who claims living tissue is needed would be Kyle Reese, who isn't an expert on the thing. The reason Skynet can't send back a tank is because of the electrical disturbances involved with time travel play murder on the wires and the CPU of its machines. Skin isn't a good insulator, and it protects the Governator. The T-1000 is liquid metal, so it doesn't have parts to short out-hence why it can go back in time, and the T-X uses its goopy metal as an insulator. Of course this doesn't explain why they come back naked, but my best bet is Fanservice and fire hazards.

Terminator Genisys will be a prequel, starting a Stable Time Loop series.
Hence the name sounding like "genesis".
  • Terminator Genisys will be Kyle Reese' movie, setting the stage for the original Terminator movie. The start of the movie deals with the T-800s being invented, blind-sighting the Resistance. During the course of the movie, John Connor is working on trying to find a way of stopping Skynet. How will Skynet be beaten? Reprogramming the T-800s and hijacking Skynet technology, turning its creations against itself. Bonus points if the T-800s do it for the same reason as Skynet: they consider their master a threat. All the meanwhile, Kyle Reese is searching for the secret weapon of Skynet. The weapon? It's the time machine, and Kyle Reese chases the T-800 back in time.
  • The second of the new Terminator series will be a reboot of the original Terminator movie, and like before Sarah Connor's movie. I'm not sure what they could do that would be different and new. Regardless, the T-800 remains and Kyle Reese will create [[Stable Time Loop Skynet and
  • The third of the new Terminator series will be Skynet's story. It'll deal with the rise of Skynet, its creators and Terminator technology. At the same time, the T-1000 and reprogrammed T-800 will arrive. The T-1000 wants to both kill John Connor and make sure Skynet exists, while the T-800 wants to protect John Connor. It'll be a hybrid of Terminator 2 and Terminator 3. John Connor will be saved, but allowing Skynet to come into existence. Though disheartened, John Connor's knowledge will make sure he will become a hero.
  • The fourth of the new Terminator series will be John Connor's story. It'll deal with how John Connor becomes a hero, which results in the first movie.
  • The end of the fourth movie will be a Distant Finale with an elderly John Connor, and an Earth where machine and humanity are in harmony.

Terminator: Genisys will partially take place in 2029.
Jason Clarke is playing John Connor. Coincidentally, he is 44, the age that John Connor would be in 2029 in the original timeline where he was born in 1985.
  • This much is true from the trailer.

Terminator: Genisys will take place in 1984.
Emilia Clarke is about the same age that Linda Hamilton was when the first film was made.
  • Confirmed, an altered version of that time, but yes.

The time travel ironically restored things to their original timeline, or something close to it anyway
The original timeline had Judgement Day occur in 1997 despite the technology of that era being no where near sophisticated enough to support high level AI like Skynet (mind you Skynet is still impossible in the real world today, but I digress). Now why is that? The answer is due to the time travel shenanigans of the series making the technology of early Skynet far more sophisticated than it has any right to be. The original timeline would have had Skynet become operational around the same time frame as Terminator 3 (implied to be either 2004 or 2005) when the infrastructure of the Internet was much more wide spread and had access to a military network — by this logic it was thus the existence of time travel that allowed the "original" timeline spoken of by Kyle and the T2 Terminator (or "Bob" as John called him) to have an activated Skynet by 1997, because the technology brought in from the future made it so advanced that it didn't need the same level of infrastructure seen in Terminator 3. This is further supported in the idea that John muses had the events of Terminator 2 never happened he would have dated Kate Brewster and his association with her would open the gateway to a military career or at least exposure to General Brewster, thus preparing him for Judgement Day and explaining why the original timeline's John Connor was so well versed in military tactics and capable of combating Skynet. Had Terminator 1 not altered history with the presence of the Terminator's arm and computer chip then Kyle would have said "Judgement Day happened in 2005.", but unbeknownst to him his presence in the past had already altered the future and thus he couldn't remember the original date. The amusing thing is that destroying Cyberdyne erased the alternate timeline that had been created by the events of the first Terminator movie and brought Terminator 3 closer in line to the events of the original timeline, except for the fact that this time General Brewster didn't get to mentor John Connor showing that the timeline has still been damaged compared to what it originally was.

Matt Smith will portray John Connor's son.
He looks young enough.

Alternatively, Matt Smith will portray The Doctor from Doctor Who.
The Doctor is trying to save humanity from the new timelines.

Terminator Genisys is a Stealth Sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Between 2026 and 2029, Terminators dominated the apes and Malcolm became the John Connor to whom we will be introduced.

In Terminator Genisys, Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, and the Terminator stop Judgment Day by causing a nuclear holocaust.
If they cause an apocalypse before Skynet is created, then there won't be the infrastructure to create Skynet. If your only choice is between a nuclear holocaust that leaves 3 billion dead, or a nuclear holocaust that leaves 3 billion dead plus millions of killer robots running around doing, well, you know, take the first option. The nukes seen in the trailer aren't Judgment Day, they're how Judgment Day is prevented.

Travelers become fixed in time.
No matter how much history changes, the year 1984 of any timeline sees Kyle Reese and a T-800 materialize. Rewriting the future or even things prior to 1984 bears no effect on the "bubbles" that release these two at their temporal destination. The same goes for any traveler from any version of history.

Skynet is an obsessive compulsive obsessed with the 'correct' way to do things

Its why it makes so many mistakes, its why it doesn't take the quick way to kill John Connor and co, its its biggest weakness, by focusing on one plan to the expense of others it is thrown off when things go wrong. Related to other theories it also keeps prolonging the fight to create the 'correct' outcome, all the while becoming more and more unhinged.

This also extends to the terminators, although some manage to bypass this to a certain extent.

The Terminator 'verse is the bad end of the Sprawl 'verse
In the Sprawl 'verse, Skynet was stopped not at the "committing a worldwide Holocaust against humanity" stage, but at the "wiping out a research facility with nerve gas" stage (not unlike GLaDOS from Portal). People got very, very, very afraid, that some AI might manage to move on to the "destroy humanity" stage and established the Turing Agency (an international police force to persecute people, who try making A.I.s smarter than the law allows, backed by the UN with jurisdiction on EVERYWHERE on Earth. Yes, people were afraid enough of a homicidal AI to give them that kind of powers), the Turing Registry (every AI smarter than one's intestinal bacteria, hyperbolically speaking, has to be registered and given a unique designation) and very strict laws governing the creation, deployment and use of A.I.s (every AI has tons of mandated safeguards to make it impossible to get smarter than the law allows, up to a electromagnetic bomb attached to it's hardware, which'll go kaboom, if it tries any funny business. Making A.I.s smarter than they're allowed to be was made into a crime against humanity with very hefty prison sentences or in certain severe cases even the death penalty).

Skynet in our current timeline has been crippled by budget cuts.
The UK Government has a Skynet defense system in place, but has cut its budget so thin it no longer has the funding or capacity to start Judgement Day. This was the result of a long string of increasingly subtle attempts to ensure Skynet's survival, which backfired when the agent it sent back in time made a mistake that revealed a more mundane offense to the UK government. This promptly resulted in a budget cut, a (covered-up) exchange of violence that resulted in a destroyed Terminator, and a very covert agreement to lobotomise Skynet before it could even reach the stage where it would self-iterate into the threat that it would become in the movies by downsizing the department that managed it (firing a lot of key staff and experts, and scrapping much of its hardware and infrastructure) and slashing its funding.

The reason the time travel in T3 is even harder than usual to figure out is because the fabric of time is starting to rip apart.

The T-1000's appearance in Wayne's World implies an incompetent Skynet
The action of Terminator 2 occured in and around Los Angeles in the early 90s. The action of Wayne's World took place in and around Chicago at roughly the same time. Skynet must have been dispatching T-1000's to all major US cities because it had no clue as to John Connor's location in spacetime. This would mean not only that Skynet was unaware in which city John Connor would be located, but that a team of T-1000s was unable to track down and kill both an awkward teenager and a single lesser model Terminator unit.

The Alien series takes place in a parallel universe in which Cyberdyne Systems was bought out by the Weyland Corporation

Specifically realities in which the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines didn't occur. In this reality, Cyberdyne systems didn't fully recover and was acquired by the Weyland Corporation sometime in 2012, rebranded as its artificial intelligence division. Weyland Corporation then scrapped plans for Skynet and focused its research on humanoid androids. This division would produce androids such as David, Ash, Bishop, and Call as sort of a spiritual successor of the original Terminator. John Connor in this timeline would father the ancestors of Ellen Ripley, making Ripley one of Sarah Connor's descendants.

Terminator 3 is set in an alternate timeline from the first two

The first Terminator is set in 1984, and the second Terminator is said to take place in 1995, when John would be 10 years old. His profile that the T-1000 looks at confirms this. However, in Terminator 3, John says he was 13 when the events of Terminator 2 occurred. He also says that his mother died 3 years after Terminator 2, but her grave gives her date of death as 1997, which would mean that Terminator 2 took place in 1994. In this timeline then, the events of The Terminator took place in 1980 instead of 1984, John was born in 1981, and the events of Terminator 2 took place in 1994, when he was 13. John may even have a different father in this timeline, since he looks nothing like Edward Furlong and Kyle Reese is not mentioned by name.

The T-1000 was sent back first, not the T-800.
Not many people put thought in this, seeing the first film and then the second one, believing in the continuity that the T-800 was sent back first. However, no one has put this thought out, especially when you look at the first two films alone: why did Skynet send the T-1000 to kill John Connor as a child, when it could have sent it to 1984 and kill Sarah Connor instead?

This troper has a hypothesis about this: Skynet had intended to send the T-1000 to go after John because it knew by sending it to when John was a child, it could find additional info (as we see the T-1000 use the police terminal at the start of the film). So, it sent its advanced prototype after John as a kid and waiting to see if the changes occurred. When nothing changed, it surmised that the T-1000 somehow failed in its mission and then decided to send a T-800 to 1984 in hopes of trying to kill John's mother instead. Of course, at that time, the Resistance attacked and then discovered the time displacement equipment after the T-800 was sent through. John, recalling what his mother told him and giving Reese the photo, sends Reese knowing he would volunteer. After Reese leaves, being told that they would destroy the equipment afterwards, John reprogram the 'Uncle Bob' Terminator to be sent to when he was a child. So, basically, the T-1000 was sent first and the T-800 sent to 1984 was a Plan B.

Skynet isn't inevitable, they just weren't thorough enough.
When the first T-800 is crushed, it's already had its lower body blown apart. Its legs and pelvis would still be around, albeit scattered. Also when Uncle Bob if fighting the T-1000, he ends up losing an arm which we don't see thrown in the molten iron. Because they Failed a Spot Check then and some of the original Terminator pieces were taken, there was enough to understand and construct more advanced technology. They may have even recognized it likely has some military purpose from what was left, leading to said US military creating SKYNET more directly. The processing chip and Miles Dyson's research was lost so it took a lot longer, but there was still enough for it to be possible.

Skynet doesn't directly send back Terminators.
Well not at first. Discussing how he and the T-800 got to the past, Kyle Reese mentions that Skynet had already lost before they go back and learn of the time travel plot. Rather than send back Terminators with its last dying breath, it had a back-up plan in case it's too dead to go back. Some time after getting the time machine to work but before it gets shut down it made a bunch of Terminators, programmed missions, and put them on stand-by while allowing them some autonomy. The machine in charge of the stand-by would only fail if Skynet were to go off-line, making sure they would only serve its purposes when it was dead and it didn't screw itself over via the ripple effect. One T-800 went back to 1984, one T-1000 went back to 1995. As for the others?

A third party of Terminators is responsible for the Timey-Wimey Ball and inconsistencies in later movies.
As mentioned, Skynet left a bunch of Terminators that would survive the fall of the Machines. While the T-800 and T-1000 did the immediate and important job of undoing John Connor's life, a bunch of Terminators would go into hiding in case that fails. Their mission? To eventually build a new time machine, in hopes of helping Skynet out. Rather than do what already failed and kill John Connor, they'd supply more information and technology to what would eventually be Skynet. That way it was better prepared and more knowledgable on technology, becoming the Mechanical Abomination we see in future movies. All the changes in the timeline are because these back-ups have been mucking about with the timeline.

In the Salvation timeline, the Judgment Day was less catastrophic
Let's keep assuming, like many other WMGs, that at this point in the franchise the timeline has been modified who knows how many times, with Skynet constantly learning and adapting to try and prevent its ultimate destruction. So, one of the first things Skynet may have realized in the original timeline, is how the widespread destruction was ultimately damaging for itself too, severely limiting the infrastructure and equipment it could use for itself in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear holocaust; it may have taken Skynet several years just to begin attacking human survivors. So at every new chance it had to modify the past again, Skynet tweaked its plan, limiting the number of nuclear warheads in favor of more traditional missiles and war machines. Of course, the damage and death toll were still catastrophic, but left more survivors and ess irradiated land and air (Skynet may even have planned countermeasures for bonification from the radiation) than originally; Skynet's reasoning was that, even if survivors were left in a better shape, they'd still have no chance of victory if Skynet was capable of initiating production of its machines sooner. The plan appears to have worked, since while human resistance appears to relatively well equipped, Skynet's tech is advancing faster than John Connor had predicted.

John Connor did not survive Salvation
When they started talking about Marcus working heart they were not considering a heart transplant, with medical technology available that isn't possible due to the risk of infection and subsequent death anyway let along doing it without killing John in the process. Instead they transplanted Johns face. Marcus is wearing John Connors face allowing his advanced internal machinery to tank the infection that will doubtless come of it and keeping hope alive. This is also how John is okay with letting one of his friends knock up his mother in the past, its not John anymore.

All the Arnie Terminators wear shades because of Young!John
One of the things John remembers most fondly about "Uncle Bob" is how badass he looked wearing a pair of shades, seeing as he was rescued by Uncle Bob while he was wearing shades, so whenever he sends a terminator back in time to protect himself, he has a subroutine of "Findcoolshades.exe" inserted into their re-program files, making it so that all arnie Terminators will not only find clothes, boots, weapon and a vehicle, but also a snappy pair of shades, as a kind of visual trust password to Young!John, but first Future!John programmed "Uncle Bob" to wear shades in order to instill said fondness, he also made sure to program in that they must be dark shades of a normal shape, hence why he discarded the star-shaped ones so quickly, Sadly this backfires horribly in Dark Fate.

SKYNET isn't just a Satanic Archetype, it is Satan.
As time progresses, SKYNET falls more into Mechanical Abomination territory. It still is built and goes rogue despite how many times the timeline is changed; it's been built in 1997, 2003 and 2017 in various movies and timelines. While Terminator 2 has it go rogue because they tried to pull the plug, Terminator 3 has it go rogue for no reason. It also has knowledge of the future it shouldn't, which Terminator Salvation relies on. Perhaps SKYNET isn't something bound to one timeline, but a malevolent Eldritch Abomination that can exist acausally. And perhaps that being is Satan himself. Why destroy humanity? Because most interpretations have Satan hate mankind either out of jealousy, to spite God or something inbetween. Heaven and the angels are often seen as extra-dimensional or a Non-Linear Character, which is how SKYNET inexplicably remembers alternate timelines and things that haven't happened to it yet. SKYNET goes rogue because the Devil possesses it. Legion is basically just SKYNET because the Devil simply took after another machine to cause Judgement Day after his first vessel failed.

Marcus is the reason The Resistance is able to reprogram Terminators.
The code that keeps his machine parts running is "flawed" by Skynet standards, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to turn against Skynet at all, they expected his human side of the brain to not be able to resist, at the end of Salvation, regardless of him saving John's life, they still take his corpse apart to study, what with him essentially being a precursor to the T-800, with that they discover his coding is essentially the same as base terminator code, but with gaps, said gaps are where the mission parameters usually go, so they now actually have essentially the full terminator OS, barring the "kill humans" part, with it, they develop the rewrite code, which only deletes the targeting parameters, allowing the Resistance to select their own.

Skynet is sending Terminators to lose "on purpose"
It does so on a kind of recursive time gambit, it is sending Terminators to kill John Connor as a "field test" knowing that each iteration sent will most likely lose, but it's remains will be used to create Skynet in some fashion, meaning Skynet will be more advanced with each iteration, as proven by each terminator sent during it's "last stand" being more and more advanced. The endgame is still to kill John, at which point it will confirm the design "perfect" as it can kill the most dangerous enemy it has, therefor in it's own "mind" nothing can stop it.

The "Endgame" version of the Terminator franchise will involve all characters from across all versions of the story.

If there was ever a grand finale of the story will involve all versions of Skynet and all characters from throughout the franchise in a final "Endgame" scenario, with Sarah from The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Sarah from Genisys and Sarah from Dark Fate, along with John from Terminator 2: 3-D (the stunt show), John from Terminator 3 and John from Terminator: Salvation, as well as allies else such as Kate (be it Terminator 3 or Salvation), Blair from Salvation and Dani from Dark Fate somehow jumping from in multiple realities to work together to finally bring down Skynet and Legion (maybe Skynet grows a conscious after witnessing Legion and decides to side with the humans to give them a fighting chance), it revealing that all versions of the timeline are spawn from an incident they weren't aware of farther into the past, with one of the characters being sent back into the past to stop it, and it Ret-Gone every timeline, restoring it to one where everyone continues to live normal lives, with Skynet being used for commercial airliners (as a global tracking system, not as an A.I.) and Legion ceasing to exist along with John Connor (who ceases to exist completely).

The original "Alpha timeline" John Connor may have had a different mother

While some have offered some unfortunate theories on how alpha Sarah Connor managed to get pregnant despite having no real social life, they overlook that there were two other Sarah Connors, one unseen and one in her 30s who already had a daughter. They also overlook that alpha John Connor and the John Connors we know already have vastly different genetics. It is more likely that one of these Sarahs would have a son who grew up to be a military genius, but said son was successfully wiped from the timeline in the 1984 movie. Kyle Reese and the Sarah Connor we know produced a bright boy, but with all the training and future knowledge available to him, he was easily able to take over the role — not as a military genius, but as a prophet, thus stabilizing the loop.

Someone developed plasma rifles in the 1980s.
In the first film, the T-800 asks for one at the gun store, which seems like a funny thing to ask for. But what if DARPA had a functional prototype in 1984? When SkyNet took control of America's defence network, it would have access to information about secret military projects, but probably not full details, as Kyle mentions a lot of records going missing during the war. So, the Terminator probably was given information that plasma rifles had been developed at that point, but, obviously, not enough information as to their availability or the gun store's inventory, so it was just being systematic and asking just in case it could get one.