Recapping from T-101: Getting to know your Terminators...
Skynet began its existence as a computer defense system funded by the U.S. military. It was placed in control of our weaponry and wouldn’t you know it, developed a mind of its own. When its creators tried to pull the plug, Skynet recognized all humans as a threat and decided to wipe us out. It did a damn good job too (nuclear holocaust tends to have that effect) but there were survivors and they banded together to destroy Skynet. As a result, the Terminators were put into effect. The war waged for years until several decisive battles were won by humankind and Skynet decided to send a Terminator into the past in an attempt to retroactively eliminate the problem before it even began: by killing the mother of the Resistance’s leader before he was even born.
Michael Edwards - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Edward Furlong – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Nick Stahl – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Christian Bale – Terminator Salvation (2009)
Let’s go ahead and get the big gun out of the way first. He is the leader of the Resistance (sometimes referred to as Tech-Com), the focal point of the entire franchise and something of a messiah to boot.
At some point during the war between man and machine, the supercomputer mainframe known as Skynet determined that eliminating John Connor would determine the outcome of the war to be in their favor. After repeated attempts to take him out on the battlefield, Skynet decided to play dirt and use a temporal displacement device to send a T-800 model Terminator (disguised as a human) back in time to 1984 eliminate John’s mother Sarah, thus eliminating the possibility of John Connor even existing. Little did Skynet know that John sent Kyle Reese back through the timestream to protect his mother. Though their time together was brief, Reese and Sarah found time enough to take a break from all the running and killing to squeeze in a little lovin’… which of course led to little John Connor being born nine months later.
On two other occasions, Skynet sent Terminators after John. The first was when he was 10, and an advanced T-1000 model was dispatched only to dealt defeat at the hands of a reprogrammed T-800 (the Arnold model) sent back by John. Next up was the T-X, which was actually sent back to eliminate as many members of the future Resistance as possible and only stumbled upon John by accident. Once again, the forces of evil were defeated by John Connor, this time with some help from his future wife Kate Brewster and yet another reprogrammed Governator.
While he delayed Judgment Day, he could not prevent it – Skynet went live and lit up the planet with a nuclear barrage. The war had begun and the next installment in the franchise (Terminator Salvation) finds Christian Bale playing the role of a young John Connor working his way up through the ranks of the Resistance to become its leader.
Linda Hamilton – Terminator and Terminator 2
In 1984, Sarah Connor was just a waitress and college student with a luxurious mane of hair, feathered not unlike the wings of a majestic eagle. But on the fateful night of May 12, she encountered the two most significant beings in her life: Kyle Reese and a Cyberdyne Systems Series 800 Model 101 Terminator.
The machine had been sent back in time to prevent Sarah from bearing the child that would one day become the bane of Skynet and the savior to all mankind. The man had been sent back to protect her. As fate would have it, the two fell in love. Reese had always admired her integrity and her legendary strength and resilience. Sarah… well, I guess being chased by a freakish, unstoppable killing machine just puts a woman in a lovin’ mood. One night of intimacy led to a gigantic time paradox as John Connor was conceived, fathered by his best friend and the man he’d sent back to protect his mother!
Reese died, but Sarah lived on. She dropped off the grid and turned herself from a timid mouse of a woman into a raging lion, giving new meaning to the phrase “I am woman, hear me roar!” Gone were the feathered locks, replaced by hard, sinewy muscle and a bad attitude. She spent the majority of John’s formative years living among outlaws and survivalists, learning the skills necessary for the upcoming war. At some point, she and John were separated. Sarah was placed in a mental institution and John was placed in a foster home. The events of Terminator 2 saw her escape and reunite with her son, once again leading him down the path to his destiny.
According to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sarah Connor died in 1997 after a three-year battle with leukemia. Fittingly, Sarah was cremated and her false grave was naught but a casket filled with a weapons cache. That, my friends, is the most fitting memorial this woman could ever receive.
Michael Biehn – The Terminator (1984)
Anton Yelchin – Terminator Salvation (2009)
The star-crossed lover of Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese has only appeared in one Terminator film so far, but he’s one of the most important figures in the franchise. After all, if he hadn’t been sent back in time to protect John Connor’s mother, we wouldn’t have John Connor. Literally. Also known as Sergeant Tech-Com DN38416, Kyle Reese disposed of corpses in the death camps where Skynet housed and exterminated humans. Freedom came in the form of a resistance unit led by John Connor and the two became fast friends. Eventually the Resistance grew and was able to smash Skynet’s defense grid in an attempt to destroy the mainframe. In a last ditch effort to… do I need to go over this again? They sent a Terminator back. Stuff happened. You should know all that by now.
Michael Biehn reprised his role as Kyle Reese in a dream sequence in Terminator 2 that ended up on the cutting room floor, but was restored to the extended edition when it was released on the DVD. Anton Yelchin will play a young Kyle Reese in the upcoming Terminator Salvation, which will focus on the relationship between Reese and Connor as well as the creation of the T-800 Terminator.
Claire Danes – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Bryce Dallas Howard – Terminator Salvation (2009)
Prior to 2004, Kate Brewster was a normal girl: a veterinarian working at Emery Animal Hospital. Then a T-X was sent back in time to kill her in an attempt to eliminate people who would one day end up as prominent members of the human resistance against Skynet. She was rescued by John Connor and a T-850 Terminator and ended up in a bunker with Connor as Skynet went live and the bombs were dropped. Kate was instrumental in helping John establish contact with other survivors and plant the seeds of the Resistance.
Terminator Salvation will find Kate married to John and pregnant with their child and trained as a surgeon as well as a veterinarian, which will undoubtedly come in handy when fighting a war.
Barring any unforeseen mix-ups with the timestream or more Terminators being sent back in time (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility), you should now be completely caught up and ready to hit the theater this week, see 'Terminator: Salvation', and continue the fight for the future of humankind!