Terminator (franchise)

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Terminator (franchise logo).svg
Created byJames Cameron
Gale Anne Hurd
Original workThe Terminator (1984)
Print publications
ComicsList of Terminator comics
Films and television
Television seriesTerminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009)
Web seriesTerminator Salvation:
The Machinima Series
Video game(s)List of Terminator video games
Theme park attractions
* Ride currently continues to operate without Terminator branding.

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 (Model 101), who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the original film in 1984, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films. As of February 2010, the franchise has generated $3 billion in revenue.[1]


Concept art illustrating the conflicts between Skynet and the Resistance in a post-apocalyptic, futuristic setting, envisioned by creator James Cameron for the 1984 film The Terminator.

The central theme of the franchise is the battle for survival between the nearly-extinct human race and the world-spanning synthetic intelligence that is Skynet. Skynet is positioned in the first film as a U.S. strategic "Global Digital Defense Network" computer system by Cyberdyne Systems which becomes self-aware. Upon activation, it immediately perceives all humans as a "security threat", and formulates a plan to systematically wipe out humanity itself. The system initiates a nuclear first strike against Russia, thereby ensuring a devastating second strike and a nuclear holocaust which it anticipates will instantly wipe out much of humanity. Indeed, it does, with approximately 3 billion casualties – more than half of the total human population at the time – in the resulting nuclear war. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, Skynet later builds up its own autonomous machine-based military capability which includes the Terminators used against individual human targets and, therefore, proceeds to wage a persistent total war against the surviving elements of humanity, some of whom have militarily organized themselves into a Resistance. At some point in this future, Skynet develops the ability of time travel, and both it and the Resistance seek to use this technology in order to win the war; either by altering or accelerating past events in Skynet's favour, or by preventing or forestalling the (present) apocalyptic timeline.

Judgment Day[edit]

In the franchise, Judgment Day (a reference to the biblical Day of Judgment) is referred to as the date on which Skynet becomes self-aware, decides to exterminate mankind, and launches a nuclear attack on Russia to provoke a nuclear counter-strike against the United States. Due to time travel and consequent ability to change the future, several differing dates are given for Judgment Day in different films in the franchise. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah states that Judgment Day will occur on August 29, 1997. However, due to the attack on Cyberdyne Systems in the second film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shows that the Judgment Day holocaust has been postponed to July 25, 2004. In the separate chronology of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the attack on Cyberdyne Systems in the second film delayed Judgment Day to April 21, 2011.

In Terminator Genisys, the fifth film in the franchise, Judgment Day was believed to have been postponed to an unspecified day in October 2017, attributed to altered events in both the future and the past. Sarah and Kyle time travel to 2017 and seemingly defeat Skynet but the system core, contained inside a subterranean blast shelter, secretly survives, thus further delaying Judgment Day.

The real-world passing of April 21, 2011, the date for Judgment Day in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, prompted BBC News to pose the question, "How close were the Terminator films to the reality of 2011?". This television news spot attempted to compare and contrast how far present day technology and society had developed in relation to the predictions of the motion picture franchise.[2]


Film U.S. release date Director Screenplay by Story by Producer(s) Status
The Terminator October 26, 1984 (1984-10-26) James Cameron James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd Gale Anne Hurd Released
Terminator 2: Judgment Day July 3, 1991 (1991-07-03) James Cameron and William Wisher James Cameron
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines July 2, 2003 (2003-07-02) Jonathan Mostow John Brancato and Michael Ferris John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Tedi Sarafian Mario Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna, Joel B. Michaels, Hal Lieberman and Colin Wilson
Terminator Salvation May 21, 2009 (2009-05-21) McG John Brancato and Michael Ferris Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek and Jeffrey Silver
Terminator Genisys July 1, 2015 (2015-07-01) Alan Taylor Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier David Ellison and Dana Goldberg
Terminator 6 November 1, 2019 (2019-11-01) Tim Miller David S. Goyer James Cameron, Tim Miller and David Ellison James Cameron and David Ellison Post-Production

The Terminator (1984)[edit]

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 machines, defeat Skynet and free humanity. With a human victory imminent, the machines' only choice is to send a Terminator back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor, and prevent the boy's birth, thereby handicapping the resistance from ever being founded in the first place. With the fate of humanity at stake, John sends soldier Kyle Reese back to protect his mother and ensure his own existence. Also starring Emmy winner Paul Winfield. It was released on October 26, 1984 to critical acclaim and grossed $78.4 million worldwide.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)[edit]

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the 1991 sequel to the original Terminator film and released by TriStar Pictures. It is co-written, directed, and produced by James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, and Joe Morton. After machines fail to prevent John Connor from being born, they try again in 1995, this time attempting to terminate him as a child by using a more advanced Terminator, the T-1000. As before, John sends back a protector for his younger self, a reprogrammed Terminator, who is a doppelgänger to the one from the previous film. After eleven years of preparing for the future war, Sarah decides to use the same tactics the machines used on her: preventing Skynet from being invented by destroying Cyberdyne Systems before they create it. It was released on July 3, 1991 to critical acclaim and grossed $523.7 million worldwide. Additionally, it also won several Academy Awards, one most notably for its then-cutting edge computer animation. The film was remastered for 3D and re-released in August 2017.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)[edit]

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, released by Warner Bros. Pictures domestically and Columbia Pictures internationally, is the 2003 sequel to Terminator 2 and is written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken. As a result of the destruction of Cyberdyne at the end of Terminator 2, the Skynet takeover has been postponed, not averted. In an attempt to ensure a victory by the machines, a new Terminator, the T-X, is sent back to terminate the lives of as many of John Connor's future lieutenants as is possible, including John Connor himself and his future wife Kate Brewster. In addition, the T-X's second mission is to assassinate Kate's father, General Robert Brewster (David Andrews), who is Skynet's primary creator, along with his staff; it anticipates that John and Kate would attempt to seek the general's help in stopping Skynet. After Connor's future self is terminated by a doppelgänger of his previous protector, Kate reprograms it and sends it back to save them both from the T-X. It was released on July 2, 2003 to mixed reviews and grossed $433.4 million worldwide.

Terminator Salvation (2009)[edit]

Terminator Salvation is the fourth installment of the Terminator film series, and was made by The Halcyon Company and again distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and Columbia Pictures with an original release on May 21, 2009 to mixed reviews and which grossed $371.4 million. It was written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, directed by McG,[3] and stars Christian Bale as John Connor.[4] Following the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, after Skynet has destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, John struggles to become the leader of humanity to which he is destined. In this future, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, who was personally recommended by James Cameron[5]) has somehow altered it, and the T-101 (Roland Kickinger with CG-rendered facial likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger[6]) is coming online sooner than expected. The film also involves Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin[7]) and how he became the man he was in the first film. The film also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Michael Ironside and Helena Bonham Carter.

Terminator Genisys (2015)[edit]

Terminator Genisys is the fifth installment of the franchise, and, in addition, serves as a reboot that features the main characters from the first two films created by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher, Jr., portrayed by a new cast with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the eponymous character. Additionally, Oscar winner J. K. Simmons joined the cast as Detective O'Brien, serving as an ally for the film's protagonists. The feature-length production was written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, and directed by Alan Taylor. It was made by Skydance Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The story takes place in an alternate reality resulting from a chain of events related to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout a previous timeline. Prior to this alteration, on the verge of winning the war against Skynet, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his trusted right-hand officer Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back through time to save his mother's life and ensure his own existence, but Kyle arrives at an alternate timeline where Skynet had never launched its initial attack in 1997, and, therefore, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was brought up by a reprogrammed Terminator (Schwarzenegger), sent by an unknown party to be her guardian ever since childhood. Now Sarah, Kyle and the Guardian need to escape the T-800 Model 101 (Brett Azar with CG-rendered likeness of Schwarzenegger from the first film), the T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) and Skynet's mysterious nanocyte prototype: the T-3000, in an attempt to stop Judgment Day from ever happening; while trying to uncover the secrets behind Cyberdyne Systems' new application software: Genisys. Assisting the trio is Detective O'Brien (Simmons), whose investigation into Terminators and time travelers lead him to learn about Skynet, and helps the protagonists in their mission to avert Judgment Day. The film was released on July 1, 2015 and grossed $440.6 million worldwide.

Future installments[edit]

Terminator 6 (2019)[edit]

Skydance Productions confirmed in September 2013 that Terminator Genisys was intended to be the first film in a new stand-alone trilogy. Matt Smith's character, the T-5000, was 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.[8][9] 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.[10]

In October 2015, it was announced that the Terminator Genisys sequels were on hold due to the film underperforming at the box office. Skydance chief creative officer Dana Goldberg commented at The Wrap’s Annual Media Leadership Conference that the franchise was not on hold, just ‘re-adjusting’.[11][12] In January 2016, it was revealed that a sequel to Terminator Genisys had been removed from Paramount's 2017 release schedule, in favor of a Baywatch film adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.[13] In March 2017, Schwarzenegger stated that a sixth film was still in development.[14]

In January 2017, it was announced that Cameron will return to the franchise and produce the next movie, with director Tim Miller signed on, and the two of them collaborating.[15] In March 2017, David Ellison, CEO of Skydance, stated that the future of the franchise had been figured out and that an announcement of those plans would be coming soon.[16] In May 2017, Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed that he will return in the film and that James Cameron will be integral in developing the future of the franchise.[17] In July of the same year, Cameron stated that the film rights will revert to him and that he and Ellison were planning the future of the franchise, with a three-film story arc being developed.[18] The first draft of the script had a deadline, which was met.[19] Schwarzenegger later revealed the intended shooting date as March 2018.[20] By September, Skydance Pictures officially confirmed that Miller will be the film's director.[21]

On September 19, 2017, during the question and answer session after a special screening of Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D, James Cameron officially announced that Linda Hamilton will return to the series to reprise her role as Sarah Connor.[22] The story treatment was written by James Cameron himself, serving as the outline for the writers' room. Cameron and Miller meet in-person once a week to discuss the film in detail and talk via phone daily to discuss the writing process. Miller stated that the tone will be the same as the first two films. Cameron and Miller jointly acknowledged that the focus of the film is not to create more sequels or generate revenue, but to instead create the proper sequel, with the goal being to just make a good movie. However, there is a plan for a trilogy that would conclude the story should this first film prove successful.

The writers' room consisted of Josh Friedman, creator of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray.[23] The creative team has stated that the new film will feature a young 18 to 21 year-old, who could potentially lead the franchise should the first film be successful. Cameron declined to reveal the nature of the new Terminator villain at the event, stating it would "ruin the surprise", but was referred to by Cameron as "he" and "really cool". The director also made mention of creating a theme park attraction akin to T2 3-D: Battle Across Time should the film prove successful.[24] At a fan event in Birmingham, England, Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed that Linda Hamilton had begun training for the film. He also confirmed that because the series deals with time-travel, the film ignores the premise of other movies and the TV show in the series and will not be titled Terminator 6, but will be a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.[25] The film is scheduled to be released on July 26, 2019.[26] On March 8, 2018, it was announced that Mackenzie Davis had been cast to star in the upcoming film.[27] The intended shooting time has been revealed to have been moved from March to June, Cameron citing the casting for the new lead role as the reason. In April 2018, the film's release date was delayed to November 22, 2019.[28] The same month, Diego Boneta, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna were cast as primary characters in the film.[29]

The film's shooting first took place in Isleta del Moro, Almería[30][31] on June 4, 2018, shooting for a month there, before shooting the rest in America. Jude Collie and Brett Azar have also been cast as a young John Connor and a younger T-800, respectively.[32]


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles logo

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009)[edit]

A television series titled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, created by Josh Friedman, is a direct sequel to the second film and ignores the events of the following installments. The series follows Sarah (Lena Headey) and John Connor (Thomas Dekker) as they try to "live under the radar", after the explosion at Cyberdyne. Summer Glau plays a Terminator named Cameron and Brian Austin Green plays Derek Reese, the brother of Kyle Reese, both sent back in time to protect the Connors and prevent Judgment Day.

Web series[edit]

Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series (2009)[edit]

On May 18, 2009, Machinima released Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series, an animated web series set between the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, comprising six episodes.[33] Set in 2016, twelve years after Judgment Day. The series follows Blair Williams (voiced by Moon Bloodgood) who is fighting the war against the machines in downtown Los Angeles, while tracking down the computer hacker named Laz Howard (voiced by Cam Clarke) and trying to pursue him to join sides with the resistance. The series was created using real-time computer animation from the video game and serves as a prequel to the game. It was distributed by Warner Premiere, produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision and The Halcyon Company and was released on DVD on November 3, 2009.[34]

Cancelled projects[edit]

Terminator Salvation trilogy[edit]

On May 9, 2007, it was announced that production rights to the Terminator series had passed from the feuding of Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar to The Halcyon Company. The producers of the company hoped to start a new trilogy based on the franchise.[35] But due to the box office failure of the fourth film and legal troubles, the Terminator Salvation trilogy was cancelled.

Terminator Genisys trilogy[edit]

During the production of Terminator Genisys, the producers of the film hoped to start a new trilogy of films, with Terminator Genisys being the first of the three films. Due to the film being a commercial disappointment, this idea was scrapped in favor of the direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


By December 2013, Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures were developing a new Terminator television series. Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who had worked together previously on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, were named as writers and executive producers. The series was said to deviate from the franchise's history at a critical moment in 1984's The Terminator, and would also integrate with the then-projected film series' direct sequels to Terminator Genisys.[36] With the rights reverting to James Cameron in 2019, the planned television series connected to Terminator Genisys has since been cancelled.

Cast and crew[edit]


  • A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role of a younger version of the character.
  • An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
  • A V indicates the actor or actress lent only his or her voice for his or her film character.
  • An M indicates the model served as a body double for another actor or actress, with their likeness superimposed onto the model's own.
  • An L indicates the actor or actress lent only their likeness for his or her film character.
  • A C indicates a cameo appearance.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage.
  • A dark gray cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Characters Films Television series
The Terminator Terminator 2:
Judgment Day
Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines
Terminator Salvation Terminator Genisys Terminator 6 Terminator:
The Sarah Connor Chronicles
1984 1991 2003 2009 2015 2019 2008 – 2009
Terminator / T-800
Terminator / T-850 Model-101
Terminator / T-800 / Guardian "Pops"
Arnold Schwarzenegger Roland KickingerYM
Arnold Schwarzenegger CGI Endoskeleton only
Arnold SchwarzeneggerL Brett AzarYM
T-1000 Robert Patrick Lee Byung-hun
Kristanna Loken
Dr. Serena Kogan / Alex / Genisys / T-5000
Helena Bonham Carter Matt Smith
Ian EtheridgeY
Seth MeriwetherY
Nolan GrossY
Marcus Wright
T-H / The Infiltrator
Sam Worthington
T-600 Brian Steele Chris Gann
T-3000 Jason Clarke
TBA Gabriel Luna
Grace Mackenzie Davis
Catherine Weaver
Shirley Manson
Rosie Bonnie Morgan
Cromartie /
John Henry
Owain Yeoman
Garret Dillahunt
Cameron Summer Glau
Sarah Connor Linda Hamilton Linda HamiltonVC Emilia Clarke Linda Hamilton Lena Headey
Willa TaylorY
John Connor Edward Furlong
Michael EdwardsO
Dalton AbbottY
Nick Stahl Christian Bale Jason Clarke Edward FurlongL
Jude CollieYM
Thomas Dekker
John De Vito
Kyle Reese Michael Biehn Michael BiehnA Anton Yelchin Jai Courtney Jonathan Jackson
Bryant PrinceY Skyler GisondoY
Katherine "Kate" Connor (née Brewster) Claire Danes Bryce Dallas Howard
Blair Williams Moon Bloodgood
Lieutenant Barnes Common
Derek Reese Brian Austin Green
TBA Natalia Reyes
Diego Boneta
Dr. Peter Silberman Earl Boen Bruce Davison
Lieutenant Ed Traxler Paul Winfield
Sergeant Hal Vukovich Lance Henriksen
Miles Dyson Joe Morton Courtney B. Vance Phil MorrisC
Daniel "Danny" Dyson DeVaughn Nixon Dayo Okeniyi Shawn Prince
Tarissa Dyson S. Epatha Merkerson Charlayne Woodard
Enrique Salceda Castulo Guerra Tony Amendola
Lieutenant General Robert Brewster David Andrews
Scott Mason Mark Famiglietti
General Hugh Ashdown Michael Ironside
Star Jadagrace Berry
Virginia Jane Alexander
Detective O'Brien Uncredited actor J. K. Simmons
Wayne BastrupY
Perry Afemo Omilami Peter Mensah
Mariam Teri Wyble
James Ellison Richard T. Jones
Charley Dixon Dean Winters
Jesse Flores Stephanie Jacobsen
Riley Dawson Leven Rambin
Savannah Weaver Mackenzie Brooke Smith
Allison Young Summer Glau


Crew Films
The Terminator Terminator 2:
Judgment Day
Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines
Terminator Salvation Terminator Genisys Terminator 6
1984 1991 2003 2009 2015 2019
Director James Cameron Jonathan Mostow McG Alan Taylor Tim Miller
Producer Gale Anne Hurd James Cameron Mario Kassar
Andrew G. Vajna
Joel B. Michaels
Hal Lieberman
Colin Wilson
Derek Anderson
Moritz Borman
Victor Kubicek
Jeffrey Silver
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
James Cameron
David Ellison
Writer James Cameron
Gale Anne Hurd
William Wisher
James Cameron
William Wisher
Screenplay by
John Brancato
Michael Ferris

Story by
John Brancato
Michael Ferris
Tedi Sarafian
John Brancato
Michael Ferris
Laeta Kalogridis
Patrick Lussier
Screenplay by
David S. Goyer
Story by
James Cameron
Tim Miller
David Ellison
Composer Brad Fiedel Marco Beltrami Danny Elfman Lorne Balfe TBA
Cinematography Adam Greenberg Don Burgess Shane Hurlbut Kramer Morgenthau Ken Seng
Editor Mark Goldblatt Conrad Buff IV
Mark Goldblatt
Richard A. Harris
Nicolas De Toth
Neil Travis
Conrad Buff Roger Barton TBA
Production companies Hemdale
Pacific Western Productions
Cinema '84
Carolco Pictures
Pacific Western Productions
Lightstorm Entertainment
C2 Pictures
The Halcyon Company
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Skydance Productions Tencent Pictures
Skydance Media
Lightstorm Entertainment
Distributor Orion Pictures TriStar Pictures Warner Bros. Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures
20th Century Fox
Release date October 26, 1984 July 3, 1991 July 2, 2003 May 21, 2009 July 1, 2015 November 1, 2019
Runtime 107 minutes 137 minutes 109 minutes 115 minutes 126 minutes TBA
Rating R PG-13
R (directors cut)


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget References
North America Other
Worldwide North America Worldwide
The Terminator October 26, 1984 $38.3 million $40 million $78.3 million #1,917 $6.4
Terminator 2: Judgment Day July 3, 1991 $204.8 million $315 million $523.7 million
(includes 3D release)
#136 $94
million[not in citation given]
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines July 2, 2003 $150.3 million $283 million $433.3 million #288 #188 $187.3
million[not in citation given]
Terminator Salvation May 21, 2009 $125.3 million $246 million $371 million #418 #242 $200
Terminator Genisys July 1, 2015 $89.7 million $350.8 million $440.6 million #706 #186 $155
Total $608,669,082 $1,234,873,113 $1,847,442,314 #30 #25 $642.7
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Terminator 100% (59 reviews)[44] 84 (21 reviews)[45] N/A
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 93% (77 reviews)[46] 75 (22 reviews)[47] A+[48]
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines 69% (204 reviews)[49] 66 (41 reviews)[50] B+[48]
Terminator Salvation 33% (273 reviews)[51] 49 (46 reviews)[52] B+[48]
Terminator Genisys 26% (246 reviews)[53] 38 (41 reviews)[54] B+[55][48]

Television ratings[edit]

Seasonal rankings (based on a weighted average total viewers per episode) for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the United States:

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Avg. viewers
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Sunday 8:00 p.m. (1)
Monday 9:00 p.m. (2–9)
9 January 13, 2008 (2008-01-13) 18.36 March 3, 2008 (2008-03-03) 8.29 2007–08 10.8[56]
2 Monday 8:00 p.m. (1–13)
Friday 8:00 p.m. (14–22)
22 September 8, 2008 (2008-09-08) 6.34 April 10, 2009 (2009-04-10) 3.60 2008–09 5.37[57]

The series premiere in the United States was watched by 18.3 million viewers during its premiere timeslot on January 13, 2008.[58]

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."[59] The New York Times referred to it as "one of the more humanizing adventures in science fiction to arrive in quite a while",[60] 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."[61] 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."[62] 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.[63] 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."[64] 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.[65] The second season has a score of 67, based on only 4 reviews.[66]

Cultural impact[edit]

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[67] and is also in the top 30 highest-grossing franchises. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the Terminator franchise is the sixth highest rated franchise on the site behind the Toy Story franchise, the Dollars trilogy, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the Mad Max franchise, and the original Star Wars trilogy, but in front of the Indiana Jones franchise.

The Terminator has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "Culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[68] 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.[69]

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.[70][71][72]

The references are also made when Schwarzenegger was elected as California governor during the recall election, which a newspaper headline said "Davis Terminated."[citation needed]

Terminator 2 is the only film in the series to garner attention at the Academy Awards, with six nominations and four wins {[73]} and is rated highly among critics.[46][47] In 2006 the readers of Total Film magazine rated The Terminator cinema's 72nd best film, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day the 33rd.{[74]}

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.[43]


Comics and graphic novels[edit]

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.[75][76][77]

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.[78] In the following year's sequel Secondary Objectives, the surviving Terminator leader, C890.L, is reprogrammed to destroy another Terminators sent to aid him and kill Sarah Connor.[79] 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.[80] 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.[81]

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.[82] 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.[83] 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.[84] 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.[85] In 2013, Dark Horse released a sequel comic based on the 2009 film Terminator Salvation, entitled Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle.[86]

Terminators have crossed over with RoboCop, Superman, and Alien vs. Predator. In RoboCop versus The Terminator (1992) and Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future (2000), the heroes must prevent the war ravaged future.[87][88] 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.[89]

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.[90][91]

Beckett Comics published three series to promote Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, each consisting of two issues.[92][93][94]

The Terminator: Infinity (2007) comic book series by Dynamite Entertainment (a sequel to Terminator 3) depicts Connor on July 17, 2009. Kate Brewster died the year before, and he is aided by a future Terminator named Uncle Bob. They create a homing signal to bring together other human survivors, beginning the resistance. The series is also tied into another one of Dynamite's publications, Painkiller Jane, for two issues.[95] 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.[96]

The Terminator Collectible Card Game[edit]

The Terminator Collectible Card Game was released in 2000 by Precedence.[97]

See also[edit]


  • ^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.[98]
  • ^2 Michael Biehn reprised his role in a cameo appearance. The scene was cut from the theatrical release,[99] but was restored in the Special Edition of the film.
  • ^3 Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke are not related.[100]


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  3. ^ Kit, Borys (April 14, 2008). "Bale to segue from 'Dark Knight' to 'Terminator'". Reuters.
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  11. ^ The Terminator franchise won’t be back for a while
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  70. ^ Season 5 Episode 16 Homer Loves Flanders
  71. ^ Season 2 Episode 14 Principal Charming
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External links[edit]