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What follows is the revised alternate timeline of events as elaborated by the science-fiction/action film Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
As a result of the actions by Sarah Connor, son John Connor and the reprogrammed T-800, the original timeline of T1 and T2 (see Terminator Timeline A1&A2) was heavily altered and reconfigured to an updated, alternative history: both for the past and present. This is an explanation for the many details in T3 that contradict the established canon from James Cameron’s prior two films; the timeline created by Rise of the Machines is the current, official ‘true canon’ of the series, therefore erasing from existence and memory or slightly altering everything that came before…to fit the new specifications of the new timeline.
There are two Timelines: Timeline B1 follows the known series of events as viewed from the future perspective. Timeline B2 follows the timeline through the viewpoint of the action as presented by the film: the actual events in the past which resulted in the future of Timeline B1.
Timeline errors, differences, and details
- In the early 2000s, Cyber Research Systems (the successor of the bankrupt Cyberdyne Systems Corporation) takes over the work originally begun by Miles Bennett Dyson concerning the construction of an advanced super-computer system that could be given complete control of the nation’s missile defense systems.
- During July 2003, a monstrous computer virus begins to rapidly spread through military computers as well as the civilian Internet, cell phone communications, scanner equipment, etc. This results in the Pentagon going into a panic, demanding that CRS upload the near-complete computer defense system named Skynet and connect the AI to the nation’s defenses, effectively giving it full control of America’s military arsenal and allowing it to cleanse the computer networks to destroy the virus. General Robert Brewster, in charge of the Skynet program, is hesitant to hand over the reins to an AI system, but eventually relents, personally pressing the YES button.
Rise of the Machines
- What the humans did not know was that Skynet, which was already active and functional but not yet connected to the national network, had become sentient. The machine comes to the conclusion that humanity was a dying race that was endangering the planet, and that in order to protect its existence Skynet has to put down its masters. The computer spawns a super-virus that is unleashed into the defense network, in the correct assumption that the confused humans will let Skynet have control of the missile programs and defensive decisions so that Skynet can find and eliminate the virus. Seconds after being uploaded to the nation’s command systems, Skynet activates the prototype T-1 Battle Units and the Hunter-Killer flying units, commanding them to slaughter the humans in the building.
- Soon, in a few hours, Skynet launches the entire US Nuclear Arsenal at Russia, anticipating the confused Russians’ counter-attack with their own missiles. 3 Billion human lives instantly end within minutes worldwide, and Skynet’s base of operations, Najavo Mountain, survives the nuclear fire. Soon after, Skynet constructs a vast army of unmanned machine battle units. The T-1 series is disregarded as it is now considered crude and unwieldy, and to replace it Skynet unearths the abandoned, original Terminator plans and blueprints originally designed by CRS as robotic ground troops, in particular the facial scans of Sergeant William Candy, to construct humanoid cybernetic organisms to serve as the primary offensive tool.
Rise of the Resistance
- However, there are human survivors, hiding underground and slowly organizing a rebellion under their brave leaders, the soldier John Connor and his wife Katherine (Brewster) Connor. Thus, The War Against the Machines begins in earnest, with the Tech-Com Human Resistance posing an unexpected threat to Skynet’s existence. In retaliation, the Terminator units are upgraded with synthetic human tissue and blood over their endoskeleton as a human disguise to infiltrate the human bases. The T-800 and slightly updated Series 850 Terminator are the most prominent and effective, with other models such as the Series 600 being much less convincing.
- In the year 2029, twenty-six years after Judgment Day, Skynet reaches a breakthrough in two different scientific areas: mimetic polyalloy “liquid metal” Terminators, resulting in the highly advanced and groundbreaking Series 1000; and time travel, having completed a fully operational Continuum Transporter to send organic (or covered by organic matter) objects backwards in history. Also at this time, the Human Resistance scores a massive victory by liberating and rescuing inmates at the human Orderly Disposal Camps, increasing Tech-Com’s numbers.
Skynet decides to send two Terminator infiltration units, a T-800 and a T-1000, respectively, to two different points in time with the objective of murdering John Connor’s mother and John Connor himself as a teenager, ensuring that if one Terminator failed for whatever reason, the other unit would finish the job. The T-800 is sent back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor before John is conceived with an unknown biological father, and the T-1000 is sent to 1995 to murder John himself as a backup plan.
A Desperate Gamble
- Eventually the Human Resistance discovers this (undoubtedly by odd déjà vu and minor changes resulting from interference in the pre-Judgment Day past), and captures a second Continuum Transporter device; the twin of the one housed in Najavo Mountain. A brave soldier named Kyle Reese volunteers to be sent back through to 1984 to protect Connor’s mother, and surprisingly both Connors agree. Once Reese is sent back, the Resistance then realizes that a second warrior must be sent to stop the T-1000; for this mission, John Connor personally selects a T-800 Series unit to be reprogrammed and sent to protect the teenage John. The deed is done, and when no noticeable changes occur (due to the failure of both Skynet-programmed Terminators) the war rages on, as normal, for three more years…
The Final Move…
- In July of 2032, Skynet invents the most advanced, unstoppable Terminator model yet: the Series T-X, a new machine unit that utilizes the mimetic polyalloy of the T-1000 series as its ‘skin.’ This allows for a new, more deadly feature: the T-X has internal weapons stored within the robot’s arms, covered by the liquid metal alloy, solving the problem of not being able to bring future technology to the past with the organic-based Continuum Transporter.
Also, the T-X Series primarily manifests as an extremely attractive human female, perfectly rendered physically to appeal to men’s sexual nature, giving it a seductive advantage. This model has been constructed purely for the purpose of yet another time-travel mission; a final desperate attempt to murder the pre-Judgment Day John Connor, among other goals, and ensure machine victory. A T-X is sent to the year 2003, July, on the week of Skynet’s takeover and subsequent nuclear attack worldwide. Her (its) mission: to murder the future Lieutenants of the Human Resistance, the head of the Skynet program Robert Brewster (after the Skynet AI has taken control, of course), and if possible John Connor himself along with his future spouse Katherine Brewster.
- Shortly before this, a T-850 unit successfully terminates John Connor, (roughly) age 47, on July fourth, 2032. This Terminator was instantly captured, but too late to save Connor. Kate Brewster decides to reprogram the T-850 and send it back in time to July 2003 to protect the younger John and herself, going off memories that have not even happened (in the past) yet. His (its) new mission: to protect Connor and Brewster from the T-X…
What follows belongs to the same timeline as the one above, but instead covers the events of the past which were created by Skynet and Connor’s sending of Terminators to alter or ensure the future ‘present’…
The New Arrivals
- July 2003. John Connor is in his early twenties; a homeless bum who wanders around aimlessly on his motorcycle. After August 29, 1997 passed without trouble, and the death of his mother due to cancer, John has become disallusioned; rejecting his destiny and believing that he and his mother had prevented the future War. One night, on a highway, Connor crashes his bike after nearly striking a deer, becoming very injured.
John breaks into Emry Animal Hospital to find painkillers and to mend his wounds, not knowing that a former childhood friend, Kate Brewster, is employed here as a vet. His break-in triggers an alarm that sends an emergency summons to Kate, who is asleep with her fiance Scott Mason.
- In Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, the T-X series Terminator unit arrives from the future inside the display window of a fashion store. She quickly murders a hapless rich woman, stealing her clothes and her silver Lexus. After an encounter with a policeman (in which the T-X uses her gender to seduce the man, by inflating the size of her breasts), she also acquires a Sig-Sauer P226 sidearm, and sets off to eliminate her targets: Jose Barrara, William and Elizabeth Anderson, Robert Brewster, 16 unidentified others, Katherine Brewster…and John Connor.
- Simultaneously, in the Mojave Desert, a second time displacement bubble materializes, marking the arrival of the reprogrammed T-850. It arrives in the city, entering a strip club on Ladies Night. On stage, there is a male stripper dancing to “Macho Man” by The Village People. The T-850 forces the man to relinquish his leather clothes, and then leaves in a stolen truck.
- Kate arrives at the hospital. She finds Connor, having accidentally consumed an entire bottle of phenobarbitol (a tranquilizer), dazed and trying to escape. She lies, telling John that he had just consumed a chemical neutering agent. She then locks him in a cage in the kennel, and then recognizes him as the one she made out with in a friend's basement. They briefly reacquaint themselves, with Kate expressing her disgust with what John has become, while John tries to explain why he disappeared the last time they saw one another. At that moment, the T-X arrives, and, while Kate is hiding, the Terminatrix finds a bloody swab from Connor’s attempted self-surgery. She tests the sample for DNA, and discovers John’s presence just as Kate breaks into a run. The T-X corners Brewster by her Emry Animal Hospital truck, and demands John’s whereabouts.
- At that very moment, the T-850 arrives with its stolen pickup, slamming right into the T-X while barely avoiding Kate. The pickup rams into the side of the hospital building, knocking another car into a nearby propane gas tank, triggering a massive fireball. With the T-X temporarily knocked offline, the T-850 locks the stunned Kate in the back of the Emry truck while retrieving Connor. At first, John thinks that this terminator, identical to the one that protected him from the T-1000 back in 1995, is now here to terminate him. But to his surprise the T-850 confirms that he is there to help, and tells Connor to drive away in the Emry truck…just as the T-X revives, and advances on her prey. For the first time, the T-X unleashes her primary internal weapon system, a plasma cannon, on the T-850, blasting the Terminator into another building, stunning it.
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For the fourth and most recent alternate timeline concerning the aftermath of Judgment Day, manifested as the current TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, see Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (timeline).