All the ‘Terminator’ Movies in Order, Ahead of ‘Dark Fate’

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Warner Bros.

It might be a little confusing to follow where everything has gone in the 35 years since director James Cameron’s original The Terminator movie came out; there have been multiple reboots, alternate timelines, and pretty much any sci-fi plot device you can imagine. With the coming release of Terminator: Dark Fate, the series is looking to return to basics, with Cameron and Linda Hamilton joining Arnold Schwarzenegger in the series for the first time since 1991.

With Dark Fate on the horizon, that makes six proper Terminator films, and for the sake of this list, we’re throwing in a pair of bonuses as well. The movies aren’t all classics like Cameron’s original two, but for any fan of the series, they’re all watchable and should quench the futuristic, post-apocalyptic thirst that you find yourself with.

Without further ado, here are all the Terminator movies (and other forms of entertainment) ever made, in order:

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The Terminator (1984)

The movie that started it all. The original Terminator film wasn’t super high budget, and Arnold wasn’t even originally going to play the titular character—he was first tapped to play Kyle Reese, sent back to save human kind. Instead, he was convinced to play the (villainous) Terminator, and the rest is history.

The classic line “I’ll be back” was born here, as were the superstar careers of both Schwarzenegger and Cameron. In 2008, this movie was added to the Library of Congress.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Judgment Day, with its bigger budget, is considered by most to be an improvement upon the original Terminator. With Arnold’s super-powered cyborg from the future now a hero rather than a villain, he’s here to protect young John Connor (Edward Furlong) from Robert Patrick’s killer shape-shifting cyborg from the future. Linda Hamilton sticks around from the first film as well, with a totally different look and vibe—she’s learned her lesson from the first movie, and is now in complete badass mode.

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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

After a 12-year break, the franchise returned for Terminator 3 in 2003. This movie had a lot of hype behind it, but generally speaking didn’t live up to the heights of the first two films in the franchise (Terminator 3 sits at a respectable 69{2cd18394f0f2784983637ae88264d75aeb42ee3c1c38e0595404ebb0ed3a0a93} on Rotten Tomatoes as of now). The movie keeps Arnold’s Terminator as a good guy, while Kristanna Loken plays the villain, the first female Terminator.

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Terminator Salvation (2009)

Six more years passed before the next Terminator movie, Teminator Salvation. With Christian Bale playing John Connor, Salvation seemed like it had the potential to be one of the best in the franchise; in fact, it was planned as the first in a new trilogy. With Bale on board, along with Sam Worthington and the late Anton Yelchin, it seemed like it had potential. This was the first look at Connor as the war-against-the-machines hero he’s endlessly hyped as within the franchise.

But when the movie flopped (only 33{2cd18394f0f2784983637ae88264d75aeb42ee3c1c38e0595404ebb0ed3a0a93} on Rotten Tomatoes), the sequel plans were dropped. Schwarzenegger turned down a role in Salvation, and seems happy with his decision: “It sucked,” he said about the movie.

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Terminator Genisys (2015)

Another attempt at a reboot came with 2015’s Genisys, which saw Arnold’s return to the franchise. With Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke added to the cast as Sarah Connor, once again the movie seemed to have potential, and once again it failed to please critics or audiences. The movie clocked in at only 26{2cd18394f0f2784983637ae88264d75aeb42ee3c1c38e0595404ebb0ed3a0a93} on Rotten Tomatoes, and the plans for future sequels were canceled.

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Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

The latest hope in revitalizing the franchise, Dark Fate will serve as a direct sequel to Terminator 2, writing the other movies in the franchise off as alternate timelines. In conjunction with that, the movie will see Arnold return again, along with Linda Hamilton and James Cameron being involved for the first time since Terminator 2. Director Tim Miller was behind the first Deadpool, so he’s got some nice experience in the action drama recently.

Additional cast members include Gabriel Luna as a new Terminator, and Mackenzie Davis as a cyborg who is not even certain she’s a cyborg. Davis has been an exciting actress in the sci-fi space in the last few years, with roles in The Martian, Blade Runner 2049, and the “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror, regarded by most as perhaps the series’ best.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)

Technically set after the events of Terminator 2, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles aired for a pair of seasons on FOX in 2008 and 2009. It was actually a fun series, but the serial nature of the show in a pre-Netflix/binging era made it difficult for the show to sustain a fanbase. Lena Headey—of course best known as Cersei on Game of Thrones—starred as Sarah Connor, while Summer Glau, a TV sci-fi veteran from Joss Whedon’s cult classic Firefly played another female Terminator.

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T2-3D: Battle Across Time (Over 13 years in California and over 20 years in Florida)

Sure, this isn’t technically a movie, but it was a really special experience for fans of the franchise who got the chance to experience it. This meta ride experience—located at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando—was a psueudo-sequel to Terminator 2, and was also directed by James Cameron.

Many of the actors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong, appeared in the attraction, which saw their filmed segments combine with live on-stage performers. It was very cool—unfortunately, the ride concluded in 2012 in California, and in 2017 in Florida. If you’re interested, though, the ride still lives on through YouTube videos.

Watch it Here

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