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Carl asking Sarah Connor if she believe in fate.

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Do you believe in fate, Sarah?
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Fate, also known as destiny, is a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual.

In Terminator universe, several events can be fated to happened and it cannot be avoided by only postponed, such as the development of Skynet and Judgment Day, as well as Sarah Connor and John Connor, who are destined to become the leader(s) of Resistance.

Fate in Terminator[edit | edit source]

Terminator 2: Judgment Day[edit | edit source]

As predestination paradox appears to be non-existent in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the theme of the franchise turned away from fate and towards the concept of choice. A key quote from The Terminator was retconned to include the phrase, "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

Sarah Connor, her son John, and the T-800 made an effort to prevent Judgment Day by destroying headquarters and it lead to an alternate future that shows Sarah Connor as a grandmother, proving that the future had been altered.[1] However, in the end, director James Cameron went with the more ambiguous ending that shows up in the theatrical release. Cameron explained his reasoning in an interview: "But there was a sense that, why tie it up with a bow? If the future is changeable, then the battle is something that has to be fought continuously. And you can't do it with a single stroke. That it's the dualism, the dynamic between good and evil that's eternal."[2]

T2 Trilogy[edit | edit source]

The T2 Trilogy posits that there is an original timeline without temporal intervention that saw the rise and fall of Skynet before any time travelers interfered. Once temporal interference created multiple parallel realities, the space-time continuum pushed back and continuously sought to realign with the original unaltered timeline as closely as possible. Here, predestination paradox was not enacted by causal loops requiring time travel to become reality, but rather as a force to resolve paradox by re-establishing a specific end state, intervening differences being irrelevant.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines[edit | edit source]

The theme of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is fate as Judgment Day is destined to happen and nothing John Connor does can stop it.

T3 does establish that the timeline has been changed by the events of T2 as the development of Skynet was delayed by the destruction of Cyberdyne Building, but the fate is eventually inevitable as Judgment Day can not be prevented, only postponed.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles[edit | edit source]

See also: The Sarah Connor Chronicles timeline

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles embraces the mindset of T2: "There is no fate but what you make" as it is possible to change the timeline. Predestination paradox has been put aside again, while Sarah Connor and her son John Connor themselves travel through time in an attempt to change the future.

According to the Voiceovers in Season One, Sarah and company are fighting to stop Skynet from ever being created. If they were to succeed in this mission, then it would stand to reason that John Connor would disappear from existence. If Skynet never existed, then Kyle Reese would never have been sent back in time to father him, Sarah probably would have married someone else, and Derek and Kyle would probably be baseball players.

In a return to the tropes of the franchise, during the events of "Complications", it is revealed that Charles Fischer is yet another character embroiled in the Skynet creation myth and the problems of predestination paradox. Charles Fischer (future) is a member of the Grays faction of Skynet, instrumental in the instruction and improvement of the T-888 infiltration protocols. He is sent back in time to install future-tech based programming back doors into numerous government and Defense Department computer systems, to ensure the ability of the rising Skynet to seize control. By his future-self actions he directly incriminates his past-self for crimes he had not committed and was responsible for his own incarceration and sentencing to life imprisonment as a domestic terrorist. This is the only reason he was then able to survive Judgment Day and become a captive of and tutor for the machines.

Interestingly enough, as a result of the interrogation techniques used by Derek on the captured Fischer (younger and older), Derek may have further embroiled himself in a paradox resulting in his capture and torture by the elder Fischer in the alternate future that Jesse Flores comes from, but apparently the TSCC Derek does not.

Terminator: Dark Fate[edit | edit source]

In Terminator: Dark Fate, though the creation of Skynet is prevented due to the destruction of Cyberdyne Building, a rogue AI, Judgment Day, and the rise of Resistance are all destined to happen.

Quote[edit | edit source]

  • Carl: "(To Sarah Connor) Do you believe in fate, Sarah? Or do you believe that we all can change the future every second by every choice that we make? You chose to change the future. You chose to destroy Skynet. You set me free. And now, I'm going to help you protect the girl, because I choose to."
Terminator: Dark Fate

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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