Terminator Timeline


If you’re like me and a terminator junkie, you’ve probably at some point tried to figure out all the different timelines.  Each time the terminators go back to hunt John Connor the future is changed, creating branching futures all related to one another. 

Seems that the nature of time is cyclical in this universe and the only way John Connor is going to change anything is to keep sending things back in time to change the future until there is a desirably outcome. 

Anyway, the awesome geeks over at io9 have been making sense of this and one of their readers sent in the above whiteboard, which lays out pretty clearly what’s going on in the terminator mythology.  Leland Rzepecki writes:

That scribbling at the bottom is from when I realized that time in Terminator must be cyclical, because that’s the only way to explain how Derek and Jessie can be from different futures but be in the same timeline now. The slash in the middle of the line is Judgement Day. Some of that stuff at the bottom was showing my roommate how Derek would have had to skip a timeline using my linear “domino” model, and I couldn’t think of a reason why that would happen.

As for the 12:00, 2:00. I was explaining how we could be seeing both futures in the show. The analogy I was using is that at 12:00 (the clock times are just to make everything relative, if that makes sense) Derek goes back in time, and causes changes to the timeline at 1:00. Then at 2:00, after Derek makes changes like killing Andy Goode, Jessie travels back in time. So even though Jessie came from the same time as Derek, she came later, in more than one way. Does that make sense?

The color coding: Black is pre-Judgement Day stuff I’m sure of, green is Future War stuff I’m sure of, and red is the blurry stuff I can’t really prove, but makes sense to me.

My major is Game Design, and I don’t recommend it, haha. I’ve always been a lot better at “fake” science than real science. I love movies like Primer where you have to keep a lot of timelines straight in your head though, so all of this came pretty naturally to me.

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