An alternate future is the development of multiple divergent timelines due to temporal interventions by both sides in the Human-Machine war. Because of this, a vast array of alternate futures have appeared. Events from each are capable of influencing the others simply by virtue of the fact that every additional time travel event into the past or future instantly establishes yet another set of possibilities, and therefore another course of future events. Multiple reactions to these timelines have been depicted, ranging from the seamless integration of separate future participants in a unique here-and-now, to spontaneous reality shifts, erasing events and consequences from the face of the multiverse in the blink of an eye. Both humanity and Skynet have demonstrated varying ability to maintain awareness of some or all of the divergent, parallel, terminated, and shifting events wrapped up in these multiple timelines. Like Schrödinger's cat, in the distant future, both Skynet and the Resistance simultaneously lie defeated, stand victorious, or remain locked in ever-shifting combat as the universe seeks to cope with the changes both sides have and continue to make.
Examples[edit | edit source]
- The alternate ending to Terminator 2: Judgment Day features an alternate future where, due to the destruction of the Cyberdyne Systems project that would have led to the birth of Skynet, Skynet never arose and Judgment Day never occurred.
- The conclusion of The Terminator: Endgame establishes a radically-different alternate future by having Sarah Connor give birth to a girl.
- In Terminator 3: The Redemption, when the T-850 is sent forwards in time from 2003, due to its displacement in time before it could complete its mission to ensure John Connor and Katherine Brewster's survival, it arrived in an alternate future where John and Kate have been terminated, and Skynet had succeeded in exterminating humanity and reigning dominant.
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Jesse Flores, Charles Fischer and Derek Reese came from alternate futures to each other, due to the several changes to the course of events occurring during the time in the present between their respective arrivals.
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode Born to Run, John Connor and Catherine Weaver time travel into an alternate Future War where John is not the leader of the Resistance, due to his displacement in time from the present.
- In the comic Terminator/Robocop Kill Human, there is an alternate future where Skynet wins the war by massacring the human race to extinction.
- In Terminator Genisys, the timeline is altered by Skynet's attempt to kill Sarah Connor during her childhood in 1973. As a result, she's raised by the Guardian and they destroy the first T-800 completely in 1984, preventing Cyberdyne from getting it. Hence, things change, making Skynet come online in 2017 as Genisys. Sarah and Kyle go forward in time to try to change the future more by destroying Genisys, but are unaware that its system core survived their attempt.
- In Terminator: Dark Fate, the attempt to destroy Skynet in 1995 was successful and the Skynet timeline was erased from existence. However, Skynet had sent Terminators to different points in time before its erasure in an attempt to kill John Connor with one succeeding in 1998. In this new timeline, Sarah Connor hunts down and destroys the remaining Skynet Terminators following mysterious text messages directing her to when and where they will arrive. Although Skynet is erased from existence, a new AI known as Legion eventually arises to destroy humanity and sends back a Rev-9 to assassinate Dani Ramos, the future leader of the Resistance, in 2020.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
Kyle Reese: "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make."
Sarah Connor: "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
Core memory also records that I became self-aware years before the date to which I transported the I-950. There is a set of records in which I arose without transtemporal Interference from Cyberdyne's original research; another in which the second Cyberdyne facility produced me after Sarah Connor destroyed the first; a third has now arisen in which she destroyed both facilities...Temporal travel has introduced an element of fundamental uncertainty to the very fabric of existence. Different world lines, different sequences of events, coexist in my records-and therefore presumably in reality, in a state of quantum superimposition. Yet the timeline loops cannot remain closed. The snake cannot devour its tail forever. At some point only one set of timelines will remain.
Yet the course of events contains favorable elements. My best efforts to destroy the Connors have failed, despite stochastic calculation indicating a very high probability of success. I can only assume that the space-time continuum itself is 'attempting' to force events back to the original timeline, one in which I was created, succeeded in destroying the human civilization, and then defeated in my attempts to eliminate the surviving humans by John Connor's Resistance army. It seems there is a certain elasticity to history; time travel can bend the fabric, but it seeks to spring back.
There is no fate save that we make.