Gale Anne Hurd
|Original work||The Terminator (1984)|
|Comics||List of Terminator comics|
|Films and television|
|Television series||The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009)|
|Video games||List of Terminator video games|
The Terminator series is an American science fiction franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. It encompasses a series of films, comics, novels, and additional media concerning battles between Skynet's synthetic intelligent machine network, and John Connor's Resistance forces and the rest of the human race. Skynet's most well-known products in its genocidal goals are the various terminator models, such as the T-800, who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first film, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Films
- 3 Television
- 4 Cast and characters
- 5 Reception
- 6 Merchandise
- 7 Future
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The central theme of the franchise is the battle for survival between the nearly-extinct human race and the world-spanning synthetic intelligence that is Skynet. Skynet is positioned in the first film as a U.S. strategic "Global Digital Defense Network" computer system by Cyberdyne Systems which becomes self-aware. Upon activation, it immediately perceived all humans as a "security threat", and formulated a plan to systematically wipe out humanity itself. It initiates a nuclear first strike against Russia, ensuring a devastating counter strike and a nuclear holocaust, wiping out much of humanity instantly. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, Skynet builds up its own autonomous machine-based military capability, which includes the Terminators used against individual human targets, and proceeds to fight a persistent total war against the surviving elements of humanity, some of whom have organized militarily into the Resistance. At some point in this future, Skynet develops the ability of time travel, and both it and the Resistance seek to use it to win the war; either by altering or accelerating past events in Skynet's favour, or by preventing or forestalling their apocalyptic present timeline.
In the franchise, Judgment Day (a reference to the biblical Day of Judgment) is referred to as the date on which Skynet becomes self-aware, decides to exterminate mankind, and launches a nuclear attack on Russia, who in retaliation launches a nuclear attack on the United States. Due to the element of time travel and the consequent ability to change the future, several dates are given for Judgment Day during the franchise. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah states that Judgment Day will occur on August 29, 1997. However, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shows that the Judgment Day holocaust has been postponed to July 25, 2004. In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Judgment Day was delayed to April 21, 2011, due to the attack on Cyberdyne Systems in T2.
The passing of the final date for Judgment Day on April 21, 2011, prompted BBC News to pose the question, "How close were the Terminator films to the reality of 2011?", comparing how far present day technology and society had developed compared to the predictions of the franchise.
In Terminator Genisys, Judgment Day is postponed to an unspecified day on October 2017. This is due to a Nexus event altering the timeline; In T2, Miles Dyson began developing Skynet using the recovered arm and chip from the T-800 that appeared in the first movie. In Genisys, that Terminator is destroyed and dissolved in acid by the Guardian; thus preventing Cyberdyne from reverse engineering it. This postpones Judgment Day even further. However, by the end of the film, this is either prevented or further delayed.
|1984||The Terminator||James Cameron||James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd & William Wisher, Jr.||Gale Anne Hurd||Orion Pictures|
|1991||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||James Cameron & William Wisher, Jr.||James Cameron||TriStar Pictures|
|2003||Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||Jonathan Mostow||Story
John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris & Tedi Sarafian
John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris
|Mario Kassar, Hal Lieberman & Joel B. Michaels||Warner Bros. Pictures
John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris
Paul Haggis, Shawn Ryan, Jonathan Nolan & Anthony E. Zuiker
|Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek & Jeffrey Silver|
|2015||Terminator Genisys||Alan Taylor||Screenplay
Patrick Lussier & Laeta Kalogridis
|David Ellison & Dana Goldberg||Paramount Pictures|
The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator is a 1984 science fiction film released by Orion Pictures, co-written and directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. It is the first work in the Terminator franchise. In the film, machines take over the world in the near future, directed by the artificial intelligence Skynet. With its sole mission to completely annihilate humanity, it develops android assassins called Terminators that outwardly appear human. A man named John Connor starts the Tech-Com resistance to fight the Terminators, defeat Skynet and free humanity. With a human victory imminent, the machines' only choice is to send a Terminator back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor, before he is born, preventing the resistance from ever being founded. With the fate of humanity at stake, John sends soldier Kyle Reese back to protect his mother and ensure his own existence. Also starring Emmy winner Paul Winfield.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the 1991 sequel to the original Terminator film released by TriStar Pictures. It is co-written, directed, and produced by James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick. After the machines failed to prevent John Connor from being born, they try again in 1995, this time attempting to kill him as a child with a more advanced terminator, the T-1000. As before, John sends back a protector for his younger self, a reprogrammed Terminator, identical to the one from the previous film. After eleven years of preparing for the future war, Sarah decides to use the same tactics the machines used on her: prevent Skynet from being invented by destroying Cyberdyne Systems before they create it. Also starring Emmy winner Joe Morton.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the 2003 sequel to Terminator 2 released by Warner Bros. domestically and Columbia Pictures internationally, written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Tedi Sarafian, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken. As a result of the destruction of Cyberdyne at the end of T2, the Skynet takeover has been postponed, not averted. In an attempt to ensure a victory by the machines, a new Terminator, the T-X, is sent back to kill as many of John Connor's future lieutenants as possible, including John Connor and his future wife Kate Brewster. After Connor's future self is terminated by a version of his previous protector, Kate reprograms it and sends it back to save them both from the T-X. Also starring David Andrews.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Terminator Salvation is the fourth installment of the Terminator film series, made by The Halcyon Company and again distributed by Warner and Columbia, and with an original release on May 21, 2009. It was written by John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, Paul Haggis, Shawn Ryan, Jonathan Nolan, and Anthony E. Zuiker, directed by McG, and stars Christian Bale as John Connor. After Skynet has destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, John struggles to become the leader of humanity that he is destined to be. In this future, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, who was personally recommended by James Cameron) has somehow altered it, and the T-800 (Roland Kickinger with CG-rendered facial likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger) is coming online sooner than expected. The film also involves Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and how he became the man he was in the first film. Also starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, Common and Helena Bonham Carter.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Terminator Genisys is the fifth installment of the franchise, in addition serves a recon that features the main characters from the first two films created by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher, Jr., portrayed by a new cast with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the eponymous character. In addition, Oscar winner J. K. Simmons joined the cast as Detective O'Brien, serving as an ally for the films' protagonists. It was written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, and directed by Alan Taylor. It was made by Skydance Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The story takes place in an alternate reality resulted by a chain of events related to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout the timeline. Prior to the timeline's alteration, on the verge of winning the war against Skynet, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his trusted right-hand officer Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back through time to save his mother's life and ensure his own existence, but Kyle arrives to an alternate timeline where Skynet had never launched its initial attack in 1997, and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was brought up by a reprogrammed Terminator (Schwarzenegger), sent by an unknown party to be her guardian since childhood. Now Sarah, Kyle and the Guardian have to escape the T-800 (Brett Azar with CG-rendered likeness of Schwarzenegger from the first film), the T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) and Skynet's mysterious nanocyte prototype: the T-3000, in an attempt to stop Judgment Day from ever happening; while trying to uncover the secrets behind Cyberdyne Systems' new application software: Genisys. Assisting the trio is Detective O'Brien (Simmons), whose investigation on Terminators and time travels leading him to learn about Skynet, and helps the protagonists of their mission to avert Judgment Day.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009)
A television series titled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles aired on the Fox network, with Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and Thomas Dekker as John Connor. The series, created by Josh Friedman, centers on Sarah and John after Terminator 2 as they try to "live under the radar" after the explosion at Cyberdyne. Summer Glau plays a Terminator protecting the Connors. Executive producer James Middleton said the series would contain a link to Terminator Salvation but that film's director, McG, later said Friedman "was the first to jump on and say we can't chase their story threads."
Cast and characters
- A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role in a flashback scene as a child.
- An A indicates the actor portrayed the role in a flash-forward scene as an older version of the character.
- A V indicates the actor or actress lent only his or her voice for his or her film character.
- A C indicates a cameo appearance.
- A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref(s)|
|The Terminator||October 26, 1984||$38,371,200||$40,000,000||$78,371,200||#1,917||$6.4 million|||
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||July 3, 1991||$204,843,345||$315,000,000||$519,843,345||#152
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||July 2, 2003||$150,371,112||$283,000,000||$433,371,112||#288||#188||$187.3 million|||
|Terminator Salvation||May 21, 2009||$125,322,469||$246,030,532||$371,353,001||#418||#242||$200 million|||
|Terminator Genisys||July 1, 2015||$89,760,956||$350,842,581||$440,603,537||#706||#186||$155 million|||
Critical and public response
|The Terminator||100% (53 reviews)||83 (11 reviews)|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||93% (67 reviews)||75 (22 reviews)||A+|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||70% (201 reviews)||66 (41 reviews)||B+|
|Terminator Salvation||33% (267 reviews)||49 (46 reviews)||B+|
|Terminator Genisys||26% (203 reviews)||38 (41 reviews)||B+|
Seasonal rankings (based on a weighted average total viewers per episode) for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the United States:
|Season||Timeslot||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers
|1||Sunday 8:00 p.m. ET (January 13)||January 13, 2008||March 3, 2008||2008||#36||11.4|
|Monday 9:00 p.m. ET (January 14 – March 3)|
|2||Monday 8:00 p.m. ET (September 8 – December 15)||September 8, 2008||April 10, 2009||2008–2009||#71||5.37|
|Friday 8:00 p.m. ET (February 13 – April 10)|
The series premiere in the United States was watched by 18.6 million viewers during its premiere timeslot on January 13, 2008.
The pilot episode received a rating of 11.1 from Nielsen Media Research on January 13, 2008. The mainstream press reviews were generally positive. USA Today gave the premiere episode 3 and a half stars out of four, calling the series, "smart, tough and entertaining." The New York Times referred to it as "one of the more humanizing adventures in science fiction to arrive in quite a while", while the Los Angeles Times declared the show "has heart and feeling" and "an almost Shakespearean exploration of fate vs. character" that features "plenty of really great fight scenes, and explosions, as well as neat devices developed in the future and jury-rigged in the present." In addition, film industry journal Daily Variety declared the series pilot "a slick brand extension off this profitable assembly line" that showcases "impressive and abundant action with realistic visual effects and, frankly, plenty of eye candy between Glau and Headey." At the start of the second season, Variety praised "Headey's gritty performance as Sarah — managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well" and that the Chronicles "continue to deliver", getting "considerable mileage out of the constant peril" facing the characters. The Connecticut Post placed it on its list of the top 10 TV shows of 2008: "It's smart, with thought-provoking meditations on parenthood, destiny and human nature, and features good performances by Lena Headey, as Sarah, and Summer Glau." On Metacritic, a review aggregator which assigns a normalised score out of 100 to each review, the first season currently holds an average score of 74 based on 24 reviews. The second season has a score of 67, based on only 4 reviews.
The Terminator franchise, most notably James Cameron's original films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, has had a significant impact on popular culture. The film franchise placed #17 on the top 25 greatest film franchises by IGN and is also in the top 30 highest-grossing franchises. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the Terminator franchise is the sixth highest rated franchise on the site behind the Toy Story franchise, the Dollars trilogy, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the Mad Max franchise, and the Star Wars trilogy, but in front of the Indiana Jones franchise.
The Terminator has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "Culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The American Film Institute (AFI) has also recognized both films on a number of occasions: the line "I'll be back" from The Terminator placed as the 37th-best movie quote, while "Hasta la vista, baby" from Terminator 2 ranked 76th on the same list. The Terminator character from The Terminator was voted the 22nd-greatest villain; meanwhile, the T-800 (of the same likeness) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was voted the 48th-greatest hero; this is the only time the same character has appeared on the two opposing lists. In the 100 Years...100 series list, the Terminator franchise was voted the 42nd most thrilling. Finally, Terminator 2: Judgment Day ranked 8th on AFI's top 10 list in the science fiction genre.
Both films are the source of numerous pop culture references, such as the use of "I'll be back" in countless other media, including different variations of the phrase by Arnold himself in many of his subsequent films, and in cameo appearances by Robert Patrick as the T-1000, in The Last Action Hero and Wayne's World. The Simpsons have also spoofed both films, and the T-1000 in particular, on a number of occasions.
Terminator 2 is the only film in the series to garner attention of the Academy Award, with six nominations and four wins). In is rated highly among critics. Additionally, Total Film has rated The Terminator cinema's 72nd best film, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day the 33rd.
All five Terminator films have had very respectable box office gross, though after James Cameron left the series it saw diminishing returns in subsequent films. The Terminator made $78 million worldwide, far surpassing its $6 million budget and becoming a major sleeper hit. Terminator 2: Judgment Day grossed approximately $520 million globally, becoming a major blockbuster and the top-grossing film of 1991. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines did not fare as well, with $433 million, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of 2003. Terminator Salvation grossed an estimated $371 million worldwide, a figure below industry expectations and the lowest of any of the sequels in the series.
Comics and graphic novels
In 1988, NOW Comics published an ongoing series with John Connor as the main character in 2031, after sending Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother. The Terminators in this canon had more human-like endoskeletons, and some issues would deal with subordinates of Connor's in the ruins of certain geographic areas. The seventeen issue series was followed by two limited series.
Dark Horse Comics acquired the rights in 1990 and published The Terminator (titled Tempest in trade paperbacks to distinguish itself), where a group of human soldiers and four Terminators come to the present, to respectively kill or protect the developers of Skynet. One of the Terminators is Dudley, a human doctor with cybernetic implants, and he betrays his group as he feels he can make a difference in the past. In the following year's sequel Secondary Objectives, the surviving Terminator leader, C890.L, is reprogrammed to destroy another Terminator sent to aid him and kill Sarah Connor. In the immediate follow-up The Enemy Within, C890.L rebuilds and modifies himself to become more dangerous than ever, while a team of human assassins attempt to return to the past and kill a Skynet developer. The 1992 Endgame concludes this arc, with human colonel Mary Randall, having lost Dudley and her soldiers in the final battle with C890.L, protecting Sarah Connor as she goes into labor. Sarah gives birth to a girl named Jane, whose future leadership means Skynet is quickly defeated and never develops time travel.
Dark Horse published a 1992 one-shot written by James Dale Robinson and drawn by Matt Wagner. It followed a female Terminator and a resistance fighter battling for the life of another Sarah Connor: Sarah Lang, who has married artist Michael Connor and intends to kill him for his money. The following year they published the limited series Hunters and Killers, set during the war, where special Terminators with ceramic skeletons and genuine organs are created to impersonate leaders in the Russian resistance. Another limited series was published in 1998, focusing on the misadventures of two malfunctioning Terminators in Death Valley. They kill a man named Ken Norden, mistaking his wife Sara and son Jon for the Connors. This set up the following year's comic The Dark Years, where Jon Norden fights alongside John Connor in 2030. In The Dark Years, another Terminator is sent to eliminate John and his mother in 1999.
Terminators have crossed over with RoboCop, Superman, and Alien vs. Predator. In the 1992 RoboCop versus The Terminator and 2000 Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future, the heroes must prevent the war ravaged future. In 2000, Dark Horse also published Alien versus Predator versus The Terminator, where Skynet, who went dormant after Connor defeated them, has returned and are creating an Alien-Terminator hybrid. The Ellen Ripley clone (from Alien: Resurrection) and the Predators join forces to stop them.
Malibu Comics published twin series in 1995. One was a sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where Sarah and John encounter two T-800s and a female T-1000. The other was a prequel exploring how Connor sent Reese and the T-800 back in time, and the creation of the T-1000 (which took its default appearance from a captive soldier). The conclusions of both series were published in one issue.
The 2007 Terminator 2: Infinity comic book series by Dynamite Entertainment (a sequel to Rise of the Machines) depicts Connor on July 17, 2009. Kate Brewster died the year before, and he is aided by a future Terminator named Uncle Bob. They create a homing signal to bring together other human survivors, beginning the resistance. The series is also tied into another one of Dynamite's publications, Painkiller Jane, for two issues. Dynamite are releasing a sequel Terminator: Revolution and at all the same time IDW Publishing are releasing a Salvation tie-in, possible because the former is based on the Terminator 2 license.
Skydance Productions announced in September 2013 that Terminator Genisys is intended to be the first film in a new stand-alone trilogy. Matt Smith's character, the T-5000, is set to appear in all three films of the new series. In September 2014, Paramount Pictures scheduled the release dates of May 19, 2017 and June 29, 2018 for the sequels to Genisys. Franchise creator James Cameron will acquire the rights back in 2019, as copyright reversion takes place after 35 years. Cameron will be the beneficiary of changes to the series.
In October 2015, it was announced that the Terminator sequels were on hold due to the fifth film underperforming at the box office. Skydance chief creative officer Dana Goldberg spoken at The Wrap’s Annual Media Leadership Conference that the franchise is not on Hold, Just ‘Re-Adjusting’.
By December 2013, Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures were developing a new Terminator television series. Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who had worked together previously on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, were named as writers and executive producers. The series will deviate from the franchise's history at a critical moment in 1984's The Terminator, and will also integrate with the continuity of the projected film series reboot. The current working title for the series is Terminator: Project Skynet.
- ^1 Arnold Schwarzenegger's facial likeness was utilized via CGI, applied to Kickinger's body performance. The CGI model was made from a mold of his face made in 1984, scanned to create the digital makeup. Schwarzenegger was unable to appear as himself due to his duties as Governor of California.
- ^2 Michael Biehn reprised his role in a cameo appearance. The scene was cut from the theatrical release, but was restored in the Special Edition of the film.
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