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The Terminator timeline

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The Terminator timeline is the timeline that leads to the events in The Terminator.

Paradox issues

The story in The Terminator contains several causality loops, some of which are self-consistent non-paradoxes, and some of which are not self-consistent, and could be considered predestination paradox or bootstrap paradox. A few issues are presented in short here:

  • The most confused and debatable event in The Terminator and the whole franchise concerns the birth of John Connor, the future leader of the Resistance. In the future, John Connor himself sends back Kyle Reese, who eventually meets and impregnates Sarah Connor and later gives birth to John Connor. The question is raised: How can the older John Connor send back Kyle Reese, his own father? It is also revealed that Kyle is the one who mentions the name John as Sarah's future son, which makes her name her son John Connor.
  • The remaining parts of the T-800 created Skynet. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day it is revealed by the T-800 that the parts from Cyberdyne Systems factory were analyzed and Skynet and cyborgs were created through reverse engineering. Miles Dyson stated that the technology in the parts was so advanced that no human would be able to invent the technology. This leads to the conclusion that Skynet created itself by sending back the T-800 in this movie. It can be argued that Miles Dyson's statement may be more of a personal opinion, rather than a true fact. Humans may very well invent the technology, but with the parts, the creation of Skynet and Judgment Day would occur earlier. The actual date of Skynet's creation and Judgment Day is not revealed in The Terminator, so it's still speculation and a debatable issue.
  • Kyle Reese gives Sarah Connor a message that he got from the future John Connor. Sarah Connor made young John memorize the message that the future can be changed, and makes sure he gives this info to Kyle in the future. The movie doesn't reveal where this message came from originally.
  • Another example of paradox is the picture Kyle has of Sarah. This is the very same picture where Sarah is being photographed outside a gas station. The fact the Sarah Connor is chased by a T-800 and protected by Kyle Reese, brings her to this exact place, at this specific date and time, which makes it a paradox.

For the sake of understanding and resolving the story in The Terminator, let's assume in a previous unaltered timeline, Kyle never met Sarah and never fathered John. It may even be that the future leader of the Resistance is not named John. All this does not matter, except that Sarah is the mother of a future leader of the Resistance. That's what triggers Skynet to send back a T-800 to kill her. Beneath are listed several timelines prior to the events of The Terminator in an attempt to resolve some the paradoxes mentioned above:

Alpha timeline

An original and unaltered timeline prior to the events of The Terminator.

  • John Connor was born. (Kyle Reese is not his father.)
  • Cyberdyne developed artificial intelligence.
  • Skynet went online.
  • Skynet became self-aware. War broke out.
  • John Connor became the leader of the Resistance.
  • Skynet decided to send a T-800 back in time to kill Sarah Connor before the leader of the Resistance was born.
  • John Connor sent Kyle Resse back in time to save Sarah Connor.

Original timeline

Main article: The Terminator: Dawn of Fate
1984
  • The T-800 arrived from the future to kill Sarah Connor.
  • Kyle Reese arrived from the future to protect Sarah.
  • Kyle impregnated Sarah.
  • Kyle died while T-800 was destroyed.
  • The wreckage of the T-800 was recovered by Cyberdyne Systems and they reverse-engineered its technology.
1997
  • Skynet (Original timeline) became self-aware and initiated Judgment Day.
Unknown point
2029

The Terminator timeline

Main article: The Terminator
1984
  • The T-800 arrived from the future to kill Sarah Connor.
  • Kyle Reese arrived from the future to protect Sarah.
  • Kyle impregnated Sarah.
  • Kyle died while T-800 was destroyed.
  • The wreckage of the T-800 was recovered by Cyberdyne Systems and reverse-engineered its technology.

Deviating timelines

Notes

Although The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a prequel to the film The Terminator, however, several minor facts are changed, including:

Hence, it is possible that Dawn of Fate timeline is actually the Alpha timeline instead of Original timeline.

See also


Timelines & Theories
The Terminator Alpha timeline - Dawn of Fate - The Terminator - Tempest - Dark Year - 2029 - Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Cybernetic Dawn - T2 Trilogy - New John Connor Chronicles - The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - Kyla's World - T2 Saga -
Terminator Salvation
Terminator Genisys Alpha timeline - Original timeline - Terminator Genisys
Years 1984 - 1995 - 1997 - 2004 - 2007 - 2011 - 2017 - 2027 - 2029 - 2032

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