With three little words and a pair of sunglasses, Arnold Schwarzenegger turned a movie character into a pop-culture icon. The original 1984 “Terminator,” now considered a modern classic, catapulted the careers of the body builder-turned-actor as well as now-Oscar winning director James Cameron with its story of time travel, cyborg assassins and memorable one-liners, including the often-imitated “I’ll be back.”
And he was true to his word. Returning again. And again. And now once again this week with “Terminator: Genisys.” Here is a quick look at the four previous “Terminator” films and the television series.
A killer cyborg is sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill the future mother of John Connor, the leader of the resistance and the savior of humanity in a war against an artificial intelligence network called Skynet. John sends soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) back to protect his mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a meek and terrified young woman. On the run from the seemingly indestructable T-800 cyborg (Schwarzenegger), they fall in love and set in motion events that affect the future.
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
This action-packed sequel is perhaps most memorable for the transformed buff and tough Sarah, a character who opened the way for more strong film heroines. Sarah’s ramblings of an impending apocalypse (set for Aug. 29, 1997) lands her in a mental hospital, while her son is newly targeted for death by the arrival of a very cool shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Showing up to save the 10-year-old whiner John (Edward Furlong), and his mom, is a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger).
“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)
Picking up less than a decade after the second film ends, Sarah has since died from leukemia and Judgment Day has been averted, but John still anticipates an attack from Skynet – for good reason. The company sends a sexy new advanced Terminator, the T-X (Kristanna Loken), to kill members of the resistance. Another reprogrammed Arnold arrives to help yet again. (This was his last role before going into politics.)
“Terminator Salvation” (2009)
The battle between the human resistance and Skynet is at its peak in this stylish film from noted director McG set in a post-apocalyptic desert landscape of the future. Failing to stop John Connor’s birth in the past, Skynet now targets John and a young Kyle Reese for death. The film benefits greatly from the intensity of the two lead actors: Christian Bale as John and Sam Worthington as Marcus, a death row inmate from 2003 whose appearance is shrouded in mystery.
“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (TV, 2008-09)
Setting: 1999, 2007
A goth-looking Sarah (Lena Headey) and her teen son, John (Thomas Dekker), are hiding out in New Mexico when their location is exposed to Skynet. John’s life is saved by a terminator named Cameron (Summer Glau), who has been sent back from 2029 by an adult John to save his own life. Cameron takes Sarah and John to 2007 on a mission to stop Skynet.