“God, a person can go crazy thinking about all this…”
In the Terminator Films, Judgment Day is the day the machines took over, Skynet becomes self-aware and starts a nuclear war killing three billion people. It is mentioned in the original film but a date is not referred to until the second film; Terminator 2: Judgment Day when it is said to be August 29, 1997 02:14 am Eastern Time. Sarah and John destroy all the remains of the original 1984 Terminator, these remains formed the basis for Miles Dyson’s research that resulted in the development of Skynet. This results in a change in the future, by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines it had been pushed back to July 25, 2004 6:18 pm Eastern Time. However in the original film Skynet already existed before a Terminator travelled back to influence the future. So is as is stated in Terminator 3, is Judgment Day is inevitable? In the TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles we are originally told Judgment Day is now set to occur on April 21, 2011. The character Derek Reese (Kyle Reese’s older brother) travels back in time to help Sarah and John. When he meets people from the future who have travelled back, he asks them when Judgment Day happened for them. This date is constantly changing as both Skynet and the resistance are constantly trying to influence the future.
To expand on the quote at the top “Should I tell you about your father? Boy, that’s a tough one. Will it affect your decision to send him here, knowing that he is you father? If you don’t send Kyle, you can never be. God, a person can go crazy thinking about all this..” Sarah’s words are spoken into a tape recorder for her son to hear in the future, this also serves as a closing monologue for the film. It is never explained who Johns farther was prior to the events of The Terminator, was it someone other Kyle Reese or was it a Predestination Paradox (also known as a Casual Loop or ontological paradox) – an event that occurs when a future event is the cause of an past event, due to time travel, with the past event then causing the future event, that in turned caused/causes the past event. The events have no independent origin thanks to the loop, no conclusion. (check out the movie Predestination (2014)) Terminator Genisys (2015) sees Sarah and Kyle travel forward in time to 2017, there is never a mention of the possibility of them travelling back to 1984. Therefore if John’s conception must have moved forward by at least 23 years. If indeed he is ever conceived. Where will that leave John? Is as he suggests their presence in 2017 locked in time and a change in the past/future will not affect them? There is no suggestion in the constantly changing future that this could be the case. This move forward in time could break the loop thus preventing the birth of John and negating the events of all the films, including the first one. If there is no John Connor, there is no need to send a terminator back to prevent his birth.
Then we have the possibility that the film universe exists in a multiverse (or meta-universe where there are infinite possible universes, therefore all the time travel will make no difference to those in the future. By sending people or machines back to change the past they are simply creating new alternate universes, or are they? In one interpretation of the Multiverse Theory, all possible alternate universes already exist. There is no suggestion of this as we see a constantly changing future and people / machines are only ever sent back from the single changeable future. But this takes us back to the original paradox of the first movie. Not the often quoted that if John hadn’t sent Kyle back to save his mother that he would never have been conceived, but what if the terminator had succeeded? Had the Terminator killed Sarah in 1984, John would have never existed therefore, there would be no need to send the Terminator back. Therefore, Sarah would survive. “God, a person can go crazy thinking about all this…”