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The leader of Skynet is Ultron.

No seriously, he hates humans, want to exterminate life to bring order and basicly have sex with computers.

    • Sounds legit

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?

  • Jossed with the additional scene in the Terminator 3 DVD. They were designed to look like Sgt. William Candy.
    • Sgt. William Candy is an alias of John Matrix.
    • Yeah, but it is, you know, Terminator 3.
    • If the scene was deleted, then we can assume it's not canon.
  • The T2 Trilogy novels claims that they look like a former CIA agent Dieter von Rossbach.
    • CIA agent Dieter von Rossbach is also an alias of 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.

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!

  • I must steal this idea. Can I have a user name so that I can credit you?

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 Conner. 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 Conner's 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. It sends the T-X to ensure that John and Kate are ushered to the bunker, ensuring their survival. Why did it kill Kate's father? So he could serve his purpose in the grand plan. The T-800 says that it is through him that John makes contact with the military, and he sends them to the bunker, where John is the only one who can answer the radio when the calls come in from bases around the world. Killing John's future lieutenants was designed to get the attention of the Resistence, so they would send the T-800 to the right time. Really, the whole war was a Xanatos Gambit on the part of Skynet to get humans to unite as a species against a common enemy.

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 Conner's conception in 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.

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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 Backstory 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 22, 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 don’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.

Skynet became the predecessor of Decepticon, while the benevolent programs installed by rebels became the predecessor for Autobots.

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 a T-700, 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 Conner - 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 Conner -- sometimes referred to as John Conner A -- is the villain controlling Skynet.

In the first timeline, John Conner, 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 Conner -- 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 Conner 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 Conner's entourage, and is unknowingly helping to spread the lie that John Conner is a savior. After asking about the photograph, John Conner 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 Conner, and she names her son John. After Kyle is killed, she kills the Terminator, closing the time loop, as per John Conner 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 Conner's presence is a particularly dangerous problem for A, even though A is unaware of how this second John Conner 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 Conner 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 Conner-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.

  • 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.

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.

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 Conner was on in T2...

The first T-800 had a plan B

Essentially, failing to find Sarah Conner it seems too unlikely to be a coincidence to have landed within a day or two of John Conner 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 Conner 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?
    • I can even do myself one better with it being some kind of ferrofluid which is a mind bending puddle of silvery metal goop, not unlike a t-1000
    • This troper finds utility fog to be far more likely. At least it's controllable.

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 Xanatos 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 Bastards and have to be destroyed. Alternately, it might have just wanted to take down Anonymous, but, since they're, well, 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.

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 This Troper thinks 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 Conner 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 Chornicles) 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 Conners 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 Conner'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 Conner 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 Sky Net, 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 Sky Net's creation timetable, moving Judgement Day to a few years later, and creating the timeline at the start of The Sarah Conner 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 Conner'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.

John Conner 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). Conner, 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 Conner. The simulation holds, but Conner begins developing odd powers, rejecting the program in pieces. Skynet, now a conglomeration of smaller A Is (in order to better micromanage), build this into the system, and Conner 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 Conner'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 Conner 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 Conner 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 G La DOS

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.

This Tropers personal favourite is Timeline One.

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 Conner 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.

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 Conner 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 Conner, 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 Conner. 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 Conner before he turned the tide for the war. This leads to the events of the first movie, where Kyle Reese tells Sarah that John Conner led the resistance. The reality was that another person led Reese's cell, but convinced everyone that he took his orders from John Conner. 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.

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.

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