Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

Terminator movie timeline: Where does Terminator Dark Fate fit in the Terminator timeline? | Films | Entertainment

The Terminator is back – and fans are hoping he won’t be saying “hasta la vista, baby” any time soon. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back with co-star Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong in a long-awaited reunion. But the latest film, Terminator: Dark Fate, falls in a slightly strange point in the timeline.

*Warning: Terminator Dark Fate spoilers

Where does Terminator: Dark Fate fit in the Terminator timeline?

This is a tricky question indeed, thanks to director James Cameron.

Cameron directed the first two Terminator films and intended for Terminator: Dark Fate, to become the new Terminator 3.

This means Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys fall in an alternate timeline and are therefore totally disregarded.

If we go with this logic, the first Terminator film, The Terminator, was released in 1984, directed by Cameron and co-written by himself and the movie’s producer Gale Anne Hurd.

Terminator Dark Fate - where does it fit in the timeline?

Terminator Dark Fate – where does it fit in the timeline? (Image: Paramount Pictures)

The movie followed T-800, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton,) whose son John will become a saviour against machines in the future.

Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is a soldier sent from the future to protect Sarah and eventually helps her escape, fathering John himself.

After this comes Terminator 2: Judgement Day, where Schwarzenegger’s T-800 has been reprogrammed to protect John Connor, while a more advanced model, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) has been sent to 1995 to kill Connor.

This time, John, Sarah and the original Terminator work together, rather than apart, to try to help John become the leader of the Human Resistance against Skynet.

This film ends with the Terminator lowering himself into a vat of molten steel, supposedly, killing him.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator in the first film

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator in the first film (Image: 20th Century Fox)

Both of those films were directed by James Cameron and, it seems, he wished to re-write the history of the character with Terminator: Dark Fate.

Despite three other films between Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Terminator: Dark Fate, Cameron decided to make the newest movie a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

This means the events of the following movies are on an “alternate timeline,” and therefore can run concurrently with the events in the Cameron trilogy.

However, if we are to consider all of the movies in the canon, the order certainly is not chronological. 

In fact, the first film in the timeline would be one of the most recent films, Terminator Genisys.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 (Image: 20th Century Fox)

This story retold elements of the first Terminator film, showing John Connor (played by Jason Clarke) as an adult, who sends his right-hand man, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke.)

The audience also sees that a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger) was sent to protect Sarah at nine years old, meaning we see an even older version of There Terminator.

Kyle also meets his own younger self, so while the film created various alternate timelines to what we see in other films, it would technically pre-date the first Terminator movie.

After the first and second Terminator movies, audiences would see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, where John Connor is living off the grid after Sarah Connor’s death.

Skynet decides to send the new Terminator model, the T-X into his present to kill other top members of the future Human Resistance, while the Resistance sends T-101 which is a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger) to protect him and his future wife, Kate (Claire Danes.)

Arnie and Linda Hamilton in Terminator Dark Fate

Arnie and Linda Hamilton in Terminator Dark Fate (Image: Paramount Pictures)

In this film, Judgement day begins and the nuclear holocaust kills billions and is the starting point for the following film, Terminator Salvation.

In this, John Connor (Christian Bale) has become the Human Resistance leader and is trying to protect his own father, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) from being killed, along with himself and the other humans.

While the timeline is a confusing one, Cameron’s original trilogy has been completed with Terminator: Dark Fate, so hardcore fans will want to see this to understand what the character’s creator really has in mind.

Terminator: Dark Fate is in cinemas now.

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