Time Goofs in the Terminator movies
Date: August 7, 2005
By: Tomás Vyskocil
Nobody is perfect. But this isn't an article about reflections in the camera or problematic special effects. You can find some huge time mistakes in Terminator franchise, especially the third one made lots of goofs. Be the best nitpicker you can be and see if you can find others ;).
When did the first Terminator take place?
No doubt its the year 1984. We can clearly see it in the beginning: "The final battle wouldn't take place in the future, but tonight..." and after this, there's a sign "1984". Also when Sarah Connor uses her work-card, we can see the paycheck time - 19.5.1984. But there is a time paradox after all. When Reese points his gun at the cop, he asks what the day is. The cop answers that its "May 12th... Thursday". This is wrong, because May 12th 1984 was a Saturday. This mistake was probably made during the writing of the script a year ago, because May 12th 1983 really was a Thursday. If the first Terminator took place in 1983, there wouldn't be a problem with the age of John Connor (see below).
When was Sarah Connor born?
According to James Cameron's script, Sarah Connor is 19 years old in the first Terminator. But you wouldn't know that from the movie. If you accept a real theory, where Terminator 2 take place 10 years after first one (see below), her age is OK, because Dr. Silberman speaks in the beginning of T2 about Sarah like "A 29-year-old female". We can see the T-800 with her students card in the first Terminator (with no further details) and if they kept to the original script, we would have seen several university scenes. So, if Sarah Connor was 19 in 1984, she bas born in the year 1965. Unfortunately... T3 steps in with a sign on Sarah's coffin stating a "1956-1997" date. And one more thing; when the first Terminator was shot, Linda Hamilton was actually 28. No offense.
When was John Connor born?
The LAPD computer in the T2 movie shows us the exact day - February 28th 1985. It wonderfully fits to first Terminator movie, which took place in May 1984 - nine months exactly. If T2 took place in 1994 (see below), he would be 9 years old. We can live with the script notes ('ten years old boy') and computer facts ('Age: 10'). A much worse fact comes around when you look at Edward Furlong - he was like 13 during the shooting of T2. And the pieces fall apart alltogether in T3, when John Connor speaks about himself like "thirteen years old" and Kate Brewster remembers he disappeared in 8th grade (age 13-14).
When did Terminator 2 take place?
This is the mother of all questions. All facts lead to the year 1994, probably around the end of the year, but you couldn't find this anywhere in the script, nor in the movie. In the script John is 10 (but looks like a teenager in the movie) and Sarah is 29 (played by thirty-four year old Linda Hamilton). When the T-800 tells the story about Cyberdyne, he describes it like a company who "Will become the largest supplier in three years". This statement fits with Judgment Day (August 29th 1997). The theory of 1994 also favours dialogues like "Ten years ago" or "She fought for 3 years" in T3. But you can find the year 1995 in several other places, like lots of webpages or comics.
When is the original Judgment Day?
August 29th 1997 - no doubt. A lot of mentions in T2 and of course - a very well known key to unlock the Easter Egg in the T2 Ultimate Edition DVD. This date isn't nonsense. Its the memento of the first Soviet test of a nuclear bomb (August 29th 1948). Here comes the question: "Why didn't James Cameron put Judgment Day exactly fifty years after that date, 1998?" If he did it, there wouldn't be a problem with John's age or the 1994/1995 conflict in T2. And he wouldn't be mistaken with the joke about Michael Jackson. We can see Sarah Connor telling a story about Judgment Day in the alternate ending of the Special Editon, talking about "Michael Jackson turning 40". But the king of pop was born August 29th 1958.
When did Terminator 3 take place?
In T3, the T-850 checks its date on a watch found in the first car he aquires. We've got the year 2004, with no doubt. But why does the official material tell us the story about "A twenty-two year old John Connor" and Connor himself is describing moments from T2 with the sentence "When I was thirteen"? These two facts are probably the two biggest mistakes in the Terminator franchise!
When did the Future War take place??
Interesting goof. After being arrested, Kyle Reese is telling the police about his mission and about the future from which he was sent, the year 2027 (Wrong! See editors note below). In T2 we see a reference to the year 2029? Of course, you can say that the first Terminator was sent from the year 2027, the other one two years after. But it makes no sense. First of all - Silberman describes Sarah in T2 like "A patient whos afraid of the future. The year 2029 - if I remember correctly" and Kyle Reese also tells about the war situtation, when Skynet is almost defeated. The Machines probably couldn't keep defending themself for another two years.
A theory of "one year" is also in the T2 script, which begins with the victory of the Human Resistance and breaking through the Skynet mainframe. The time machine is found together with notes about the Terminator sent back. Reese is sent back, but right after that another record is found about an older T-800 model sent back. The theory of 2029 has strong assistance when the T-800 meets young John Connor and he tells him "I was sent 35 years through time". The line 1994-2009 is set.
© Tomás Vyskocil - www.hastalavista.cz
TerminatorFiles editors note (September 10, 2007)
The '2027' mentioned in the article above has stirred some debate over at our forums. Appearently the article was not entirely correct and our screening of it failed to date. To correct it, below is a little reference that should clearify this mentioned problem.
Our moderator 'HopeOfTheFuture' says...
"Here's a Terminator history lesson for you: Reese was from 2029. Not only does T1 definately say Reese is from 2029, other sources do say this like the T2 novel, script, etc."
"So. You're a soldier. Fighting for whom?"
"With the One Thirty Second under Perry, from '21 to '27--"
- SILBERMAN (interrupting)
"The year 2027?"
- REESE (through speaker)
- VUKOVICH (quietly, to Traxler)
"This is fucking great."
"Then I was assigned Recon/Security, last two years, under John Connor."
"So Reese fought from 2021 'till 2027 under Perry, then his last 2 years under John Connor himself, which in my calculation makes it 2029 (2027 + 2 = 2029 ;)."