Five movies is a remarkable run for any franchise.
Especially one with a central premise — futuristic warrior sends a trusted ally back in time to protect and impregnate said warrior’s mother so he can be born — that makes zero sense.
First off? If John Connor had never been born, he wouldn’t have been in the future in the first place. Secondly? Gross. You just sent your buddy to knock up your mom.
“The Terminator” was a surprise hit in 1984, and 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” was the rare sequel that improved upon the original. But the failure of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003) and “Terminator Salvation” (2009) to measure up to the first two hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying to get the lightning back in the bottle.
With “Terminator Genisys” opening Wednesday, here’s your A-to-Z guide to the first four movies (disregarding the TV series and all the graphic novels and other media) in the “Terminator” franchise:
“A person could go crazy thinking about this”: Sarah Connor’s remark about time travel and her son, John’s, parentage.
Big Jeff’s: Restaurant that employs Sarah in T1.
Biker and a stripper, A: People the T-850 roughs up to steal their leather pants and jackets in T2 and T3.
Brewster, Kate: John’s former classmate and future wife. Portrayed by Claire Danes (T3) and Bryce Dallas Howard (T4).
Connor, John: Messianic figure — he even has the right initials — who is prophesied to lead mankind to victory in the war against the machines. Portrayed by Edward Furlong (T2), Nick Stahl (T3), Christian Bale (T4) and Jason Clarke (T5).
Connor, Sarah: Waitress-turned-warrior mother of John. Portrayed by Linda Hamilton (T1, T2) and Emilia Clarke (T5).
Cyberdyne Systems: Corporation that develops the villainous Skynet.
Dyson, Miles: Cyberdyne scientist whose creation of a revolutionary microprocessor, based on the T-800’s arm and central processing u located after the events of T1, would eventually lead to the development of Skynet.
Eighteen: Number of sentences Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks in T1, four of which are “All,” “Wrong,” “Get out” and “Sarah Connor?”
Fate: A central theme of the franchise, taken from the quote, “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” It’s the belief that the future can be changed, and it has been — so many times that it’s difficult to keep all the time lines straight.
Ginger: Sarah’s big-haired roommate in T1. She’s killed by the T-800, who mistakes her for Sarah. Ginger would have heard the commotion made by the T-800 and had plenty of chances to escape, if only she weren’t listening to her stupid Walkman while fixing a late-night snack.
“Hasta la vista, baby”: What John teaches the T-850 to say in T2 as a way of blending in. Man, 1991 was weird.
Hunter-Killers: Artificially intelligent war machines manufactured by Skynet. In addition to humans, they can come in the form of everything from tanks to airplanes to motorcycles.
Infiltration prototype: Also known as a hybrid, it’s a human who’s been modified into a Hunter-Killer to blend in with The Resistance. Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) was the first of these, debuting in T4.
Judgment Day: The day Skynet becomes self-aware and launches a nuclear war that kills 3 billion people. Originally taking place on Aug. 29, 1997, the date has changed several times as a result of time travel. It can be delayed but never prevented.
Kogan, Serena: Cyberdyne scientist whose work to prolong human life ultimately leads to the infiltration prototype. Portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter (T4), who provided a dash of esteem to the franchise.
Leukemia: Disease that does what the Terminators couldn’t by killing Sarah in 1997, according to T3.
Modem, Dial-up: Primitive means of accessing the Internet that the T-X is able to use, by mimicking its awful screeches and static, to access the L.A. school district database and track her prey in T3.
Naked: The only way people and Terminators can travel through time.
Nicaragua: Where Sarah ran guns between T1 and T2.
One-handed shotgun pump: One of the iconic scenes of the franchise, the maneuver allows Hamilton to showcase her newly ripped physique in T2.
120 years: How long the T-850 says he can live, with his existing power cell, in T2. This, and that 31 years have passed since the first movie, may explain why the Terminator looks so old in T5.
Pescadero State Hospital: Mental facility where Sarah is held, heavily medicated and occasionally licked by creepy guards in T2.
Phone book: How the T-800 and Kyle Reese find Sarah in T1. For you kids out there, phone books were these massive accumulations of landline telephone numbers and addresses that people made do with in the days before Google.
Quicksilver: Common name for mercury, which was used to create some of the effects for the T-1000 in T2.
Reese, Kyle: John’s trusted ally and time-traveling baby daddy. Portrayed by Michael Biehn (T1), Anton Yelchin (T4) and Jai Courtney (T5).
Resistance, The: Rebel alliance, led by John, that battles Skynet in an effort to preserve the human race.
“Riding around in helicopters, learning how to blow (excrement) up”: How John spent his formative years, according to T2.
Skull: Part of the skeletal system that litters the ground in the future and is constantly being crushed by Hunter-Killers. It’s the only bony structure that seems to exist after Judgment Day. Whatever happened to all the ulnas, tibias and phalanges, we may never know.
Skynet: The automated defense network that decides humans are a threat to its existence and declares war on mankind. It’s the ultimate villain in the “Terminator” franchise.
“Talk to the Hand”: Something the T-850 actually says in T3. If 1991 was weird, 2003 was just awful.
T-800: Portrayed by Schwarzenegger, it’s Skynet’s first generation of cybernetic organisms and the model Skynet sends back in time to kill Sarah in T1.
T-850: Also portrayed by Schwarzenegger, it’s the slightly upgraded model that John sends to protect his younger self in T2.
T-1000: Portrayed by Robert Patrick, it’s the first shape-shifting model, made out of a mimetic polyalloy, that Skynet sends to kill a young John in T2.
T-X: Portrayed by Kristanna Loken, it’s the first female Terminator, designed to kill Terminators as well as people, and the model Skynet sends to eliminate John’s lieutenants in T3.
Twinkies: Junk food that a young Kyle Reese snacks on in an abandoned 7-Eleven in T4, some 14 years after the nuclear annihilation of Judgment Day, proving once again that the snack cake is indestructible.
Uncle Bob: The T-850’s cover identity when he’s hanging out with John and Sarah in T2.
Victorville: California city where Sarah is supposedly interred. Her casket really contains a weapons cache, as discovered in T3.
“White light. Pain. It’s like being born, maybe.”: Kyle’s description of time travel in T1.
Xanax: One of the multitude of drugs that was no doubt pumped into Sarah at Pescadero.
“You Could Be Mine”: Guns N’ Roses song John listens to on a boombox in T2 and uses to draw the attention of a Hunter-Killer in T4.
Zygote: Stage of development John would have been in at the end of T1, after his comrade successfully gets it on with Sarah. Which still makes zero sense, and is still fairly gross.
Your A-to-Z guide to the ‘Terminator’ movies
Five movies is a remarkable run for any franchise.