Terminator Genisys - Timeline Infographic

Terminator Genisys - Timeline Infographic

Terminator Genisys - Timeline Infographic

How do the events of Terminator Genisys fit in with the rest of the Terminator series? Click here to find out!

Warning - The following article contains SPOILERS for all five Terminator movies, including Terminator Genisys.

This weekend I went to see Terminator Genisys, and whilst I won’t get into any critical review here (other than to say it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be) I will say that after a few minutes I was quickly thinking “I’m really going to need to google for a timeline after this!”.

Having done so however I found that most of the timelines I came across either did not yet include any of the new Terminator Genisys material, or had too much or too little detail to meet my needs. I therefore quickly decided to knock together a timeline of my own in PowerPoint (I lack the technical skills nor the will to do anything more complex) cribbing together bits and pieces of information from various sources.

The end result you should be able to see linked and/or embedded below:

Or click here to view in Full Size!

Whilst it started out being a strict “timeline” it quickly deviated towards being more of a general process flow for the five movies so far. Partly this was because the movies seem to be somewhat inconsistent with their models of time-travel and causality.

The time travel in Terminator 1 for example is pretty much a closed loop in which John Connor and Skynet both cause their own existence - I don’t believe for instance there is a version of the timeline in which John Connor was born without the presence of Kyle Reece, nor do I believe there was a version in which Skynet was created without the aid of the T800 arm (though I’d be willing to accept arguments for the latter) which creates for quite a neat poetic paradox with both Connor and Skynet to be the architects of their own creation. Terminator 2 however indicates that the future can be altered, with Sarah Connor setting into motion events which will stop Judgement Day from happening (or at least, as it turns out, delaying it by 7 years) causing the timeline to split off in an alternate direction, rather than looping back round to where it started. Terminator Genisys takes this even further having all sorts of time travel shenanigans and alternate timelines going on.

For the sake of simplicity therefore I focused on simply representing the movie series in terms of three main timelines – the Terminator 1 timeline in which Judgement Day occurs in 1997 (which forms the middle row of this diagram), the Terminator 2/3/4 timeline (running along the bottom) in which Judgement Day occurs in 2004, and the Terminator Genisys timeline(s) in which a third 2017 Judgement Day is featured (running along the top).

The individual movies are also colour coded (Red for T1, Blue for T2, Green for T3, Yellow for Salvation and Purple for Genisys) and I’ve also tried to focus on just a few of the key events from each, rather than throwing in every single event (99% of the events in Terminator Salvation for example are covered by a single box).

I’ve also tried not to double up on like-for-like events (even where they technically occur more than once but in multiple alternate timelines) in order to create a clearer and more aesthetically pleasing diagram, and I’ve glossed over many of the little inconsistencies and errors between the movies (Terminator 3 i’m looking in your direction) to create a more coherent flow. That said, you could probably argue that all five movies occur independently within their own unique timelines and that attempting to reconcile them is a pointless endeavour, but what is the internet for if not pointless endeavors ;-)

If you have any thoughts or opinions please leave them below! There are of course still many un-answered timeline questions left by Terminator Genisys (for example, who sent the 3rd T800 back in time to 1973? What timeline did Matt Smith’s character originate from?) but hopefully you will find this diagram to be at least somewhat useful!

If anyone else has come up with any timeline diagrams of their own I’d love to see them – especially if anyone can manage to fit in the events of the Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show which I have conveniently ignored here!

Thanks for reading!

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