Terminator Salvation
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Terminator Salvation can be found here.

In 2018, 14 years since Judgment Day (July 25, 2004) started the world war between humans and Skynet machines, Resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale) is searching for his father, Kyle Reese, the man whom John must send back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), from being killed by the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg sent by Skynet to prevent Sarah from ever giving birth to John. Meanwhile, teenage Kyle (Anton Yelchin) has joined forces with the criminal Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), the only one to have survived a nuclear attack on Skynet's Cyberdyne Systems base. Soon their paths are going to cross.

Terminator: Salvation is the fourth movie in the Terminator series, preceded by The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). The screenplay for Terminator: Salvation was written by American screenwriters John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris. The movie was subsequently novelized by American scifi writer Alan Dean Foster in 2009. Terminator Genisys is in the works with a release date in 2015.

All trailers for the Terminator Salvation feature film can be viewed here.

(Click on the names to see what they look like.) Hydrobot, T-1 Unit, Aerostat, Harvester, Mototerminator, Aerial Hunter-Killer, Transport, Ground Hunter-Killer, T-600, T-700, T-800, T-R.I.P. (Resistance Infiltrator Prototype), and Marcus. Dr. Serena Kogen was originally scripted to be a Terminator, but the idea was scrapped in rewrites.

Who is Marcus?

Marcus was a criminal who was executed in 2003. He donated his body to Project Angel, which was involved with Skynet. They take his body and make him into a Terminator; Marcus is probably the most human cyborg Skynet created, a prototype endoskeleton, the frame is not mentioned (he is NOT a T-800, the chest plate when shown is completely different as well as his hand seen in the end, also he is smaller in height) Marcus still possesses his heart and brain with a chip at the base of his skull that wirelessly connects him directly to Skynet.

Marcus believes he is human, and everyone he meets does not even suspect he is a machine. It's possible that Skynet anticipated this while building him and created a special type of metal alloy that is extremely light weight but near indestructible in order for him to appear as human as possible. It's stated that he is the only one of his kind, so it's possible his metal endoskeleton weighs no more than a human skeleton would, or perhaps just slightly heavier. Therefore, he has the ability to float and run much faster. He also feels pain, making him even more unusual and may have been a deliberate design characteristic used by Skynet to make him seem more human. According to the book, he walks on the bottom instead of swimming. In the film, he appears to be swimming as he leaves Connor, but only using his right arm. Also, the water didn't seem to be very deep to begin with. One thing to counter-argue about the metal of his skeleton being light weight: when he's being carried into the infirmary of Connor's command center one of the people carrying him says "this guy weighs a ton" so he obviously weighs more than a human of his size and build.

When Marcus was built, Skynet made use of at least part of his human brain, which is vulnerable to trauma. Though it was well-protected in his cyborg skull, it probably still could be knocked around inside the casing, and Marcus blacked out when Barnes hit him.

In The Terminator, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) stated that the resistance mostly fought at night, but they still had to be very cautious moving around due to the HKs' use of infrared. This movie takes place in 2018, not 2029. Tactical plans could have changed between those two time periods. Perhaps they started out doing missions in the day and later realized it would be more beneficial if they fought at night. Another theory suggests that it's General Ashdown (Michael Ironside)'s decision to fight during the day, since John Connor (Christian Bale) isn't the leader of the resistance just yet, and Ashdown is a very arrogant and headstrong leader. Even with Connor's advice, Ashdown would likely ignore it. In this film, Reese (Anton Yelchin) says that they fight during the day because machines have infrared technology, making them more dangerous at night time, seeing as how infrared would be harder to lock onto a target during a hot sunny day than on a cool dark night. (this may have been switched from the original film and this film because the technology surrounding infrared has improved significantly since 1984, thus making it more effective at night.)

In the first film, Kyle Reese, who arrived from 2029, mentioned that "the 600 series had rubber skin, but these [T-800s] are new." However, in the movie, which takes place in 2018, John Connor says, "But this is not the future my mother warned me about," which can be applied to any inconsistency within the franchise. This is not the same future from the one seen in the first two movies. Judgment Day was postponed in T2, and this film follows T3, where Judgment Day took place in 2004 and not 1997. The time-travelers from the first three films have provided John with prior knowledge that he normally would not have known until much later. In this case, John already learned before Judgment Day from his mother and his Terminator protectors that Skynet was going to make T-800s with human skin. Knowing this, he could actively search out where the prototype was, and destroy it, delaying their production until mid-2020. Had no one traveled back through time, he would not have known beforehand and he would have encountered them in 2018. Likewise, since Judgment Day was postponed until 2004, the state of technology had advanced much more before the war as compared to 1997, enabling Skynet to produce T-800s with human skin much earlier, as well as many other types of Terminators (Hydrobots, Harvesters and Mototerminators). The subsequent time-travels have given John (but also Skynet) a closer look at things to come, and in that way altered the time-lines to some extent.

Some of them did. The one that attacked Marcus and Kyle had a little bit from what had either deteriorated or had been lost in battle; it even had clothes on, as did the sentry at the Skynet processing center. Seeing as how the machines don't groom themselves, their rubber skin either deteriorates with wear or from battle, as does their clothing. Also, the T-600s appeared to be common soldiers and not infiltration units, which is why they had rubber skin instead of the highly advanced human tissue of the T-800. From a distance the rubber skin would make them look human, so one might expose oneself long enough for them to kill you...like almost happened to Marcus.

Perhaps, but it was also a different model of terminator, probably a T-600. The T-800 isn't referred to until a few minutes later when the Resistance downloads the information on it from the computer they find. Up until that time, Skynet might have been using different alloy to construct the T-600s, and it may not have been dense enough to be bulletproof or resistant. It's probably safe to say that Connor and other Resistance fighters had been able to get hold of armor-piercing ammunition. Keep in mind, this was in 2018 and the Judgement Day war had been raging for almost 20 years by that point. While the weapons look like regular, current military weapons, they could be modified to fire special ammunition invented specifically to fight machines.

If you watch closely, Reese never comes into contact with the T-800 Model 101 prototype while it had its skin. John fires his grenade launcher at the T-800 fairly quickly, destroying its flesh. Therefore, even when Reese saw the T-800 with its skin, it was obscured briefly before it was destroyed. Also, the adrenaline and overall stress of the situation probably would be enough for him not to remember the face in the brief shot he would have had to look at it. He got a good look only at its endoskeleton. Another possibility is that Kyle knew what the Terminator looked like, but he didn't know which model was the one that would try to kill Sarah Connor. In The Terminator, Kyle said the Terminator was "Cyberdyne Systems model 101" and the model 101s are the Terminators with Schwarzenegger's face and there are different models with different features, so he knew what the Terminator looked like. He may not have known which one would be sent back to kill Sarah until he saw him in the past.

According to director McG: "Kyle Reese must be kept alive, so he can be sent back in time from 2029 to protect Sarah Connor, impregnate her, and she'll give birth to John Connor, who will save us all. And the simplest way to understand that is to protect the triangle of Kyle, John and Sarah. Any deconstruction of that leads to more headache than satisfaction." (TerminatorChronicles.com) In other words: Skynet already knows Kyle will travel back in time and become John's father. It also knows that in the near future, as a desperate measure, it will try to alter the past in its own favour. But in 2018, Skynet may not be ready yet to change the time-line, thinking it can still win in the traditional way. According to chaos theory, a chain of events is an extremely complex process, making the effects of altering the past impossible to predict: with Kyle dead and Connor completely removed from the time-line, perhaps someone else will become the leader of the Human Resistance, someone who might be even smarter and tougher than Connor. Skynet obviously didn't consider this when it sent the Terminators back to eliminate him, given that John & Co. had breached its inner defenses and it was about to be destroyed anyway.

In one way of thinking, the best strategy for Skynet to win in 2018 is to lure Connor when he is rising to power, kill him and the Resistance leaders then, and leave the resistence in disarray. Another theory is that Skynet probably didn't want to cause a time paradox that would endanger itself: if it killed Kyle, the future of 2018 would be reset; John would not have been born and he wouldn't rise to be the Resistance leader, giving Skynet no reason to kill Kyle; the "predictable" future would cease to exist, and Skynet would have to start all over again and might even destroy itself in the process. It would be easier to kill Connor now and Skynet would win the war in 2018, instead of killing Kyle, resetting the future, and starting all over again. A third theory is that three different theories of time travel are used. In The Terminator, they introduced the idea that time is static, like a train track. Everything that happened was meant to happen, and the outcome would be the same, no matter what the characters did. T2 introduced the idea of alternate realities. In this reality, Skynet was destroyed and then the characters could pick and choose their own futures, and the future of Kyle Reese would never exist. The third film used the idea that time is fluid, like a river. The events of the 2nd film changed history, but couldn't rewrite it. Future events would still happen; they could be delayed, but never eliminated. The fourth film tries to go back to the idea of alternate realities, in that this future is different than Kyle Reese's original future, but it appears that there were so many plot holes, they're actually back to using the "time is fluid" idea.

If you look back at the events of Terminator 1 and 2, not only does John Connor send back his dad, to ensure his birth, but Skynet by default jump-starts its creation. If the Terminator was not sent to 1984, then Cyberdyne would never have gotten the Arm and the CPU, and would not have started work on it. Skynet's creation was probably inevitable, like Judgment Day. The risk of no Connor runs the risk that the Terminator will not have had the influence on Cyberdyne and, therefore, no Skynet.

There is another theory is that it is not a paradox as such, more an alteration of the timeline and some clever writing by James Cameron. It is possible that, in 1984, the man who cancelled a date with Sarah Connor (a message on her answering machine) was indeed John Connor's 'original' father. With Skynet sending the T-800 back in time, altering Sarah's traditional timeline, and in turn John sending Kyle Reese back in time - these events inadvertently altered John's birth father to become Kyle, rather than the unknown cancelled date. In effect, Sarah Connor would have become pregnant either way, John would have been born either way, and he still would have sent back Kyle (father or not). In Salvation, Connor does not know about an alternate father, but for his own version of time to exist, he *must* send back Kyle. Skynet killing Kyle will help the Salvation 2018 timeline, but not eliminate John in any event. The same Cyberdyne didn't need the Terminator arm and the CPU, as it would have eventually come to be, without T-800 or Kyle being sent back.

The year is 2018; the future scenes in the previous films took place in 2029. Therefore, it's likely the machines hadn't invented the technology yet, which is referred to as "phased plasma", and the resistance hadn't captured the technology. The Harvester, Moto-Terminators, and HKs are the only machines that have the plasma firing weapons, and Skynet probably hadn't figured out a way to scale them down or develop them into hand-held weapons to be used by the infiltrator units like the T-800. The T-600 used a MINI gun.

When Marcus is talking with the Skynet simulation of Dr. Kogan, she states that Skynet tricked the Resistance into thinking they're going to win the war by supplying them with a signal that would deactivate any terminators within range. The Resistance believed that they should have an all-out assault on Skynet with the use of this signal. Also, the machines captured Kyle Reese in order to lure John Connor into Skynet's headquarters. The whole point of Marcus being created was to get Connor to believe Marcus actually wanted to help him rescue Kyle. The best way for a machine to convince John Connor? Make him human and truly want to rescue Reese. This was all unknown to Marcus who believed he was actually doing this of his free will, but the scenario was already planned by Skynet and was programmed in Marcus' subroutine to help Connor. So when Resistance Command gave the order to attack, Skynet was able to trace their signal and destroy their base. The next phase was to create pressure on Connor with the knowledge that Kyle Reese is in Skynet and the Resistance is planning on bombing it, thus luring Connor into Skynet to rescue him with Marcus' help and have Connor killed by the T-800. (possibly because as stated in Terminator 3, that because of his boyhood connection to that model it allowed him to get close enough to kill him. But Connor knew better) This part of the plan backfired when Marcus resisted his programming and rescued Connor and Kyle Reese.

No. John fires his M4 at the Terminator, hitting him in the chest and stomach, and it clearly causes damage. Then, John fires his grenade launcher at it, burning & melting off its skin. The ensuing hand-to-hand combat between John/Marcus and the T-800 was with no weapons, except a few scraps of metal. Molten metal is poured on the T-800 as well, but because that type "was an earlier steel process [of molten steel] after it had been separated from the coke" and because "it was frozen quickly enough by the [liquid nitrogen],"* the T-800 didn't melt. *MTV Another possibility on why the molten steel didn't affect it was because there wasn't enough to melt it. In T2 the Terminator sat in a large pool of molten steel for a few minutes to melt. It's also possible the T-800 was an advanced prototype. Perhaps this T-RIP (Resistance Infiltrator Prototype) was built stronger than the others specifically to kill Connor, or, because Connor destroyed the Terminator factory, Skynet's research was set back and their later productions were less advanced, which may explain how it had better scanners. Also, John fires at a steam line, puncturing it and releasing gas (it isn't known if it's supercooled or simply just air or some other gas) that rapidly cools the molten steel. The cooling effect could have been fast enough (in a strictly Hollywood sense) to prevent major damage to the T-800's endoskeleton.

How does the movie end?

While Reese and Star (Jadagrace) take the elevator up to the transport, John heads back into the Skynet base to continue the fight. He is joined by Marcus, now under his own control having torn out the hardware at the back of his head that links him to Skynet, and together they take on a new T-800 model 101 Terminator. Marcus is 'terminated', but John manages to get his heart started again by fashioning a makeshift defibrillator. However, the T-800 impales John with a shaft of metal, mortally wounding him. After taking out the T-800, Marcus helps John out to the waiting transport, which Kate orders to take them to the nearest safe zone. While in flight, Star hands John the detonator for the Terminator fuel cells that he rigged together earlier, and he blows up the Skynet base. Later, on the ground, Kate determines that John's heart is too badly wounded and that he will surely die. 'Take mine,' Marcus replies, offering his living heart to John. As they prepare for the transplant, John says (in a voiceover): 'What is it that makes us human? It's not something you can program. You can't put it into a chip. It's the strength of a human heart...the difference between us and machines.' In the final scene, John radios to the Resistance fighters that, though this battle has been won, the war is far from over.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's face was scanned from a previous movie and placed on a stunt double's body using CGI. The result is the T-800 that appears at the end of the movie. Other than that, Schwarzenegger does not appear in any other way and didn't actually shoot any scenes for this movie.

In a recent interview, Arnold Schwarzenegger said the following: "I'm open to all those things, if it's True Lies, Terminator, a well-made Terminator... the last one was awful. It tried hard, not that they didn't try, the acting and everything. It missed the boat."

No. Director McG has cited the impracticality of integrating plot elements from the show:[quote]McG confirmed that he's remaining true to the mythology set up in the first two James Cameron movies, but can't possibly include things introduced during Fox's series "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." "Hats off to the third movie, but we paid attention to the first two pictures, and I'm buddies with Josh and everybody who runs 'Sarah Connor Chronicles' but from my experience in one-hour episodic television, those guys are in the writers' room banging out stories left, right and center, and for us to chase those story threads, I think, would be a disservice to our picture. We honor Judgment Day timing, we honor the 2029, we honor the coming of the T-800." Source: Comingsoon.net. They are however both canon. The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Salvation take place in alternate timelines that are far removed from each other.

McG talked to James Cameron in New Zealand when the latter was filming Avatar. There, Cameron told him about how when he was making Aliens, following Ridley Scott, and how people were skeptical of him, much like McG. They later had several phone calls, talking at great lengths about the story, and Cameron suggested Sam Worthington, the star of Avatar, to be the Marcus character.

Yes. Terminator Salvation Director, McG, has stated that there will be many references to the previous three films (the first two especially), including quotes. Here are some quotes used in the film:

"I'll be back." - The Terminator (T-800)

"Come with me if you want to live." - Kyle Reese

"What day is it? What year?" - Marcus Wright

"Drive."- Marcus Wright

"There is no fate but what we make."- John Connor (final line)

"Get out!"- Marcus Wright to Star (but in a more aggressive and high tone, and not the traditional way).

Danny Elfman wrote new themes for this film, but based them on the theme from the previous Terminator movies. He did, however, utilize Brad Fiedel's original, and now famous, pounding 5-note "Terminator" motif during the opening credits, during the appearance of the Arnold Schwarzenegger model Terminator in the climax, and at the close of the movie right before the end credits.

Nick Stahl: In regards to the soon-to-shoot Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, Stahl said he had been told some time ago that his considerable talents would not be required for the fourth movie, although he is scratching his head over rumors that Bale will be 30 years old in the flick. "They said it would be a 50-year-old man, but I guess they reduced the age a little bit," Stahl said of how the franchise producers had explained the plot to him. "That's what they told me very early on [in development of the 'Salvation' script]. That it was gonna take place further in the future, and I probably wouldn't be on." - MTV Movies Blog. When asked whether she'd be interested in coming back to the franchise, Claire Danes didn't seem too intrigued. "I don't think so," she said. Of course, that's not much of a surprise, considering she was a last-minute replacement in the last installment of the franchise. "I felt sort of kidnapped by the production," she recalled. - MTV Movies Blog

"The Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails. It can be heard on the fourth studio album The Fragile (1999).

The directors cut has been released exclusive on Blu-Ray in several countries. It offers some new scenes of violence and nudity which had to be cut in order to obtain the PG-13-Rating. You can find a detailed comparison between the theatrical version and the directors cut (with pictures) at movie-censorship.com


I also asked McG if there will be an extended Director's Cut of Terminator Salvation when it hits DVD. And if so, how much more will be included in that cut. "Substantially more," he said. "Substantially more. I'll have to look at that cut, and decide if it's ultimately better than the theatrical release. I have a great partner, who is a wonderful sounding board, in Conrad Buff. Conrad cut Titanic and won the Academy Award, and he cut T2. He's the antithesis of who I am. We talk about what we want to do, we sort of concur, and we've got the Director's Cut going on over here, and then we've got what is likely to be the theatrical release over here. So we'll see."
Whether the cut footage will be added as an extra or incorporated into the film on home video has yet to be decided. However, McG thinks that he'll "include all the extra scenes." Fearnet.com | Sci-fi Wire

So far, there are four. The Terminator (1984) was the first, followed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), and Terminator Salvation (2009). There was also a short-lived TV series, 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' (2008-2009). Terminator Genisys, the first of a new trilogy is in post-production, with a release date of July 1, 2015.

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