Terminator: And Time Travel


Two Time Travel blogs in a row from me, sorry.

So I was watching a review of Terminator Dark Fate and they were making a point of how Dark Fate is a direct continuation of Terminator 2 which implicitly negates 3, Salvation, and Genysis.

And this made me noodle a bit. In a previous.. maybe even the last article I listed the Terminator franchise as a Multiverse type of Time Travel.

To recap, in a Multiverse type time travel a new universe is created when a time traveler arrives. Or, that universe always existed and this is the point where the traveler arrives. For your famous example, Avengers: End Game is multiverse style but because Hollywood gonna Hollywood Hulk had a meeting with the Ancient One to give an extra wrong explanation of how time travel works. This scene was added after focus groups were confused.

Anyway, the idea of negating 3, Salvation, and Genysis had me thinking… what if the Terminator franchise wasn’t a Multiverse. What if it was Deterministic Time?

In Deterministic Time, there are certain events that will happen no matter what because “something” wants it to happen. Fate, God, Executive Producers; whatever. The example I gave was the Time Machine where no matter how many times Wells tried to change the past his fiance always died.

In the Terminator franchise a killer always arrives, a hero allows follows, jugement day always happens, and John Connor always rises to fight back.

For the first 5 movies this was always John Connor. But in Dark Fate that changed. The Terminators won and John Connor was killed. But in this reality Dani Ramos is the leader of the resistance in the future. Showing that the killer always arrives, a hero follows, judgement day always happens, and a savior will always arise to lead humanity; even if it isn’t John Connor.

This change is what prompted me to move Terminator from Multiverse into Deterministic. Because now something critical has changed, and yet the result remains the same. And looking back previous multiverse jumps make more sense. Dates change, details change, but the result remains the same. Obviously, Dark Fate is the biggest departure, but in the end the status quo is maintained.

Deterministic time is my least favorite version of time travel usually, but spread across now 6 films and a TV show I can appreciate the elegance of this change. I makes me think of all of the other what ifs in our life. Star Wars with Christopher Walken as Han Solo? Does Indiana Jones still happen? Wild.

Maybe this happens…

Anyway, short term musing on time travel. At least no white boards were harmed in the making of this blog.

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