Terminator timeline

For the purposes of this timeline I am using information solely from the movies The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Information from other sources is ignored, since the production of Terminator 4 is likely to do the same.

T3 explicitly acknowledges that there are multiple timelines in the Terminator universe. I have managed to pare this down to a conservative one timeline per movie, plus one initial timeline.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is said to provide an alternate sequel to T2 and therefore occurs in a separate timeline from T3. I'm waiting for more information before incorporating it below.

Timeline A

This timeline is not shown in any movie.

  • Sarah Connor conceives John Connor by an unknown father. [John Connor may not be a genetically identical individual in each timeline; he is, after all, played by a different actor in every appearance.]

  • Skynet is researched and built, from scratch.

  • Skynet becomes self-aware.

  • Judgment Day occurs.

  • 2029: John Connor leads the resistance against Skynet.

  • In a last-ditch attempt to avert its own destruction, Skynet sends a T-800 back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor before John Connor is born. John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time after the T-800. These two temporal incursions create Timeline B. The assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet is defeated?

Timeline B

  • May 12, 1984: The Terminator

    • A T-800 arrives from the future to kill Sarah Connor.

    • Kyle Reese arrives from the future to protect Sarah Connor.

    • Sarah Connor conceives John Connor with Kyle Reese.

    • The T-800 is destroyed in a hydraulic press and Kyle Reese is killed.

  • Skynet is researched and built from the remnants of the T-800.

  • August 4, 1997: Skynet becomes self-aware.

  • August 29, 1997: Judgment Day occurs.

  • 2029: John Connor leads the resistance against Skynet.

  • In a last-ditch attempt to avert its own destruction, Skynet sends a T-800 back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor before John Connor is born. John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time after the T-800. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet sends a T-1000 back in time to assassinate John Connor as a child. John Connor sends a reprogrammed T-800 back in time after the T-1000. These two temporal incursions create Timeline C. The second assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet is defeated?

Timeline C

  • May 12, 1984: The Terminator

    • A T-800 arrives from the future to kill Sarah Connor.

    • Kyle Reese arrives from the future to protect Sarah Connor.

    • Sarah Connor conceives John Connor with Kyle Reese.

    • The T-800 is destroyed in a hydraulic press and Kyle Reese is killed.

  • Research begins on the remnants of the T-800.

  • May 12, 1995: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    • A T-1000 arrives from the future to kill John Connor.

    • A reprogrammed T-800 arrives from the future to protect John Connor.

    • Both Terminators and the remnants from the original T-800 are destroyed. This does not avert Judgment Day, it is merely postponed.

  • 1997: Sarah Connor dies of leukemia.

  • Skynet is built from scratch.

  • Skynet becomes self-aware.

  • July 24, 2004: Judgment Day occurs.

  • 2029: John Connor leads the resistance against Skynet.

  • In a last-ditch attempt to avert its own destruction, Skynet sends a T-800 back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor before John Connor is born. John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time after the T-800. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet sends a T-1000 back in time to assassinate John Connor as a child. John Connor sends a reprogrammed T-800 back in time after the T-1000. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The second assassination attempt fails.

  • 2032: John Connor is killed by a T-850.
  • Skynet sends a T-X back in time to assassinate John Connor and his future generals as young adults. Katherine Brewster reprograms the T-850 and sends it back in time to protect him. These two temporal incursions create Timeline D. The third assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet is defeated?

Timeline D

  • May 12, 1984: The Terminator

    • A T-800 arrives from the future to kill Sarah Connor.

    • Kyle Reese arrives from the future to protect Sarah Connor.

    • Sarah Connor conceives John Connor with Kyle Reese.

    • The T-800 is destroyed in a hydraulic press and Kyle Reese is killed.

  • Research begins on the remnants of the T-800.

  • May 12, 1995: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    • A T-1000 arrives from the future to kill John Connor.

    • A reprogrammed T-800 arrives from the future to protect John Connor.

    • Both Terminators and the remnants from the original T-800 are destroyed. This does not avert Judgment Day, it is merely postponed.

  • 1997: Sarah Connor dies of leukemia.

  • July 24, 2004: Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

    • A T-X arrives from the future to kill John Connor and his generals.

    • A reprogrammed T-850 arrives from the future to protect John Connor.

    • Skynet becomes self-aware.

    • Both Terminators are destroyed.

    • Judgment Day occurs.

  • 2029: John Connor leads the resistance against Skynet.

  • In a last-ditch attempt to avert its own destruction, Skynet sends a T-800 back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor before John Connor is born. John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time after the T-800. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet sends a T-1000 back in time to assassinate John Connor as a child. John Connor sends a reprogrammed T-800 back in time after the T-1000. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The second assassination attempt fails.

  • 2032: John Connor is killed by a T-850.
  • Skynet sends a T-X back in time to assassinate John Connor and his future generals as young adults. Katherine Brewster reprograms the T-850 and sends it back in time to protect him. These two temporal incursions do not create a new timeline but reinforce a causal loop in this timeline. The third assassination attempt fails.

  • Skynet is defeated?

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