The Terminator

Question: I know it's not important because the movie would be very short and boring, but there's something I've always wondered. What would have happened to the Terminator had he actually managed to kill Sarah Conner?

The_Iceman

Chosen answer: Since terminators cannot self-terminate, only one very likely possibility comes to mind: it would have hidden itself away somewhere known to have remained undisturbed in the years between the termination of Sarah Connor and the start of the war, at which point it would rejoin the war effort.

Phixius Premium member

Answer: Skynet knew nothing about Sarah Connor besides what city she was in in 1984 and that she had a pre war leg injury which they could use as a form of identification. However this injury only occurred in the factory at the end of the movie which would mean the terminator would have no way of identifying the real sarah connor before that time. The terminator therefore could've never completed its mission with 100% certainty because it had no idea what she actually looked like, therefore it may have just carried on hunting out Sarah Connors to increase the chances of getting the right one if it was still in good enough condition to move around unnoticed.

Question: If the Terminator had succeeded in killing Sarah and effectively wiping out John Conner, then that would mean the machines would win and even kill off mankind. So after Skynet's mission was complete and all humans are dead, what would the machines do now that with no more humans left to kill?

Answer: It's really impossible to answer definitively, considering the film-makers have never addressed this. The films never specify any purpose Skynet has outside of wanting to wipe out humanity. Skynet simply wants to "live", to exist as a sentient consciousness but views all of humanity as a threat to its existence. Since artificial intelligence is thus far only a fictional concept, we can't even really speculate based on information outside of the Terminator series. We can perhaps imagine a scenario wherein Skynet is successful and lives in peace as the only intelligence on Earth. The machines themselves do not have individuality and only exist for the purposes of killing humans so there doesn't seem to be a logical reason why they would exists if Skynet wins. However, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way Skynet could ever be sure they have killed every single human on the planet so I can also imagine a scenario where the machines endlessly patrol the planet, making sure humanity never rises again. Also, and this is food for thought, the time travel scenario present in these films is a grandfather paradox. Skynet leads to it's own creation by sending back a Terminator to kill Sarah Connor. Similarly John Connor is conceived because a Terminator was sent back in time, which is the paradox. Skynet winning would create another paradox wherein Skynet could not exist because John Connor was never born so they had no enemy to fight, etc. This sort of stuff can make your head explode.

BaconIsMyBFF

Just to be clear, the first movie doesn't say that Skynet created itself by sending a terminator back, that's the second movie. Also John Connor never being born doesn't remove their enemy, humanity is their enemy, it would stop the resistance and prevent the humans from winning, presumably. It does create a paradox though, like all time travel movies do.

lionhead

The first movie deleted specific scenes which referenced the defeated Terminator being used to create Skynet. This of course was fully formed in the sequel. Technically since they are deleted scenes they may not belong in a discussion about the first movie but I was speaking generally with regards to the series as a whole. It's really only relevant to my point about the paradox which doesn't really have anything to do with the original question. Also, John Connor is specifically Skynet's enemy. Without him humanity would have been easily defeated. Technically, yes they want to wipe out all humanity but without John Connor they would have succeeded and there would be no need to send a terminator back in time, which of course is the entire point of the series. Both the humans and Skynet believe this to be true.

BaconIsMyBFF

John Connor is the key to the paradox, true. Since John was created by Skynet's own attempt to stop him it's impossible for them to win the war. All movies tell us (except the horrible, terrible last one called Genisys) that skynet can not win the war by time travel. I had a whole essay written down but I decided not to post it, since talking about paradoxes is a paradox and they are highly interactive. Catch my drift?

lionhead

Thinking about paradoxes in movies like these can drive you insane.

BaconIsMyBFF

Yeah, but it's so much fun.

lionhead

Agreed. I actually really love the paradox in the first Terminator. The idea that John gave Kyle a picture of his mother and Kyle fell in love with her because of that picture, and he always wondered what she was thinking about when the picture was taken, and it turns out she was thinking about how much she loved Kyle. Brilliant.

BaconIsMyBFF

Yeah, you know now I think about it, the first movie doesn't have a grandfather paradox at all, it's the exact opposite. They actually created a loop, the time travel made the resistance exist and skynet always will try to use time travel to destroy the resistance. The paradox, is the sequel, where they make us believe the time travel also made skynet, which is impossible and an actual grandfather paradox because skynet invented time travel (since in the second movie the time travelling terminator from the first movie became the "grandfather" of skynet basically). Maybe we should move this to the Forum though.

lionhead

Question: How exactly do both the Terminator and Kyle find addresses? We are led to believe that is the reason for the phone books, but none of the addresses in the phone books match up to the addresses where either the first Sarah is killed, nor the apartment of our Sarah.

Answer: The phone books are the reason for finding Sarah Conner. The Terminator didn't know what Sarah looked like or where she lived so he looked in there and when he saw three Sarah Conners listed, he was in Kyle's own words, "being systematic." In other words, going to each of the addresses listed for Sarah Conner and killing the women whose name were a match for his primary target. Kyle already knew what Sarah looked like as he was given a photo of her by Johnn Conner but, just like the Terminator, didn't know where she lived so he used a phone book to locate and protect her.

Question: I've always wondered, what's the significance of the kid pointing a wooden gun and making 'pew pew' noises at Reese when he enters the human hideout? Is it meant to be purely a bit of comical play between the two, or a subtle inference that mankind will never be able to abolish its inherent desire to destroy itself, even in the face of total extinction?

Chosen answer: Its simply a child being a child and playing, but more than anything, showing the innocence of the children that inspite of the near death of the human race all around them, there's still time to play and be... human.

GalahadFairlight

Question: When Vukovic and Traxler are watching Silberman question Reese, Vukovic mentions a guy they brought in who apparently burned something and did something else I couldn't quite hear. What's he actually talking about?

Chosen answer: The quote: "He had this guy in here last week who set his Afghan [a breed of dog] on fire. Screwed it first, then set it on..." [and here Traxler interrupts him].

Phil C.

Question: Why is the Terminator able to talk when he looks like a human but doesn't talk when he doesn't have the living tissue on?

EmilBlonsky

Chosen answer: It's not that he could not talk, but perhaps he just had nothing to say. Once his skin burns off, he was still in pursuit mode to terminate his target. Before the skin burned off and he was chasing them in that scene, he wasn't saying anything either. And it's also logical to say that the wreck and gas tanker exploding, which caused his skin to burn off, likely could have damages internal components of the terminator by impact force as well as the extreme heat. So him not talking was either he didn't have anything to say, his voice generator was broken, or both.

Quantom X Premium member

Answer: Think about what produces sound coming from human mouth: air directed through the tissues of the neck and mouth, moving vocal cords in waves. After being burned, there is no tissue which can crate the waves when being moved.

Question: Kyle Reese finds Sarah before the Terminator - why does he need to wait hours, until the Terminator has his laser sighting on Sarah, before approaching her?

Answer: Kyle didn't know what the Terminator looked like so he waited for him to make a move on Sarah so he could identify him in future.

Answer: By saving her life he shows that he means no harm. The terminator on the other hand is out to kill her. By saving her, he's given her a reason to trust him.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: Can anyone explain the dates in the first movie? I am very confused. The Terminator arrives on Thursday May 12 at 1:52 AM. The first killing is on Friday (although there is no indication that more than a full day has passed. Lastly, Sarah's timecard says it is 5/19. This would also be a Thursday (although we know it is a Friday). Has a week really passed? Makes no sense.

Answer: It takes the terminator time to gather weapons and find each victim so yes, time has passed. Easily several days.

Jason Hoffman

Question: I've always wondered this even as a kid. I never read any of the novels associated with the movies so it might have been addressed there. If a computer system became self aware and a computer system is what launched all the nukes, then what created the first Terminator? I get how they're all made on an assembly line but someone or something had to make the machines and equipment that makes the Terminators.

Robert Waner

Chosen answer: Skynet being an artificial intelligence, it could take control of existing machines to repurpose them. It doesn't become self aware until 1997, by which point robotic technology would be much more advanced than in 1984 (and it had already been somewhat self-reliant before that point, so presumably a degree of military fabrication was already set up to be controlled automatically). With its vastly accelerated rate of development and intelligence, it could use existing factories to create basic machines, use those to retool and create more complicated machines, etc. From what Kyle says the ultra-realistic Terminator model we see here is a relatively new development (he comes from 2029) so Skynet has had about 30 years to set up a series of self-improving machines and its own murderous infrastructure.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Question: When John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother, Reese then becomes Connor's father, how could John Connor be the same person he is if a different man's sperm produced him?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: The whole thing's a paradox, which, as time travel doesn't exist, we have no way to determine how it would work out in reality, and thus any movie dealing with time travel can make up its own rules. Effectively an infinite loop has been set up - Sarah gives birth to John, John grows up, meets Kyle, sends Kyle back to meet Sarah, they make love, Sarah gives birth to John and so on and so on. There may have been an original father to John at the beginning, but he was supplanted in the loop by Kyle and thus, in the timeline the film presents, the John who sent Kyle back is the one fathered by Kyle himself. Alternatively, maybe John Connor wasn't the original resistance leader, that some other leader sent Kyle back the first time, leading to the birth of John Connor, who then became the resistance leader instead; thus Kyle has always been John's father. This is the nature of a paradox, that there are things about the situation that don't necessarily seem to fit together, but they somehow come about anyway. The detail can be debated ad infinitum, but no concrete conclusion can be drawn, because that's just how this works.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Who was John Connor's father before he sent Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother?

dan coakley..

Chosen answer: Kyle was. It's a paradox, an infinite loop; Kyle goes back, fathers a son who later meets the younger Kyle and sends him back to father a son who later meets the younger Kyle... etc. etc. There are no hard and fast rules governing this sort of thing, so there doesn't necessarily have to have been an original father who kicked the whole thing off before being supplanted by Kyle. Or maybe there was. Or maybe there was originally a different resistance leader who sent Kyle back, leading to the birth of John who became resistance leader instead. This sort of thing can be debated until the cows come home, but ultimately the only answer is "it's a paradox".

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Some people think Ginger is Sarah's sister, but I have always thought she was just her close friend and roommate. Who's right?

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: No mention is made of her being Sarah's sister. If she was, at some point in the other films, it would have been mentioned.

Captain Defenestrator Premium member

Question: How did the Terminator manage to find a hotel room already equipped with surgical tools and bandages? Doesn't seem like he set it up with supplies earlier since the first we see is him breaking in via the fire escape.

Chosen answer: He isn't breaking in via the fire escape, hes just using it as a means of coming and going without being seen by the hotel staff, so at any point during the movie, he could have equipped himself with those tools. It is not necessary for a movie to show every intervening action onscreen.

GalahadFairlight

Question: If Skynet is so worried about its Terminators "doing too much thinking" then why not remove from them the 'read-and-write' learning capabilities and simply set them to 'read-only' at all times?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: Because the gathering of new information is still a key part to what they do. There has to be a write setting, even a restricted one, in order for the Terminators to assimilate new information that can assist them in their missions - possible target locations, voiceprints, even new mission parameters could not be uploaded without the ability to write to their CPU. Skynet can (and does) set restrictions on the Terminators' learning abilities, but, without those abilities, their effectiveness would be compromised.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Is it usual for gun store clerks to leave ammunition and bullets on the counter where anyone can pick them up and load them into a gun?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: No, it's not, but not every gun shop owner is reputable or responsible.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Question: Exactly why did The Terminator raid the police station and kill all those cops? Wouldn't it have been more prudent to wait until Sarah was released, make sure she was unprotected and then kill her?

TheContentAtHeart

Chosen answer: From his point of view, she was already unprotected. At least, unprotected enough for him to make an attempt on her life. The police can't stop him and concerns for his own safety do not enter his calculations. But he was programmed with one goal in mind: Kill Sarah Connor. When he sees an opportunity to do so, he takes it. He knew where she was. To wait would be to risk losing that information.

Garlonuss Premium member

Question: At the beginning, why did the cops chase after Reese, what was their reason?

TheContentAtHeart

Chosen answer: He'd just mugged somebody in the alley for their trousers.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Towards the end of the film, why does Reese switch on all those machines? He says something about "cover, so it can't track us." What does he mean by this?

TheContentAtHeart

Chosen answer: It creates more heat, more noise and more motion in the area. It makes it harder to pick out two people running around, either by sight (machines blocking view), heat sensors (from the heat of the machinery) or listening out (the machines are loud).

Gary O'Reilly

Question: Why did/does Skynet launch a nuclear attack against humanity? What were its reasons? I'm just a bit confused because in both movies they give conflicted answers.

MovieBuff09

Chosen answer: It was a defensive move, basically. As Skynet developed and increased in complexity, it ultimately achieved sentience and became self-aware. The humans tried to pull the plug, effectively trying to kill the new intelligence and Skynet fought back, utilising the nuclear arsenal to attempt to eradicate those who would shut it down.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: When Kyle and Sarah change places in the pickup truck, if you play it in slow motion you can see Kyle's face transitioning to that of a stuntman. How did they manage to do that back in 1984? And more importantly, since they were driving straight ahead, why?

Chosen answer: As for the transformation it appears to be an optical thing. It appears that Kyle was driving and doing the switch. the reason for the switch is so Kyle can toss out the pipe bombs. notice that Sara holds one up and Kyle and her then switch places.

James Rowell

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