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Terminator Salvation is the fourth film in the Terminator series. The film was directed by McG and starred Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Bryce Dallas Howard and Moon Bloodgood. The film follows John Connor and the human Resistance fighting against Skynet after Judgment Day instead of the formula from previous films (and that of the series), involving a Model 101 Terminator (portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) time traveling to the present day to protect or kill someone of future importance. The film was released on May 21, 2009.


In 2003, a death row inmate named Marcus Wright at the Longview Correctional Facility in Texas meets with representative Dr. Serena Kogan from Cyberdyne Systems Genetics Division to donate his organs and tissue for what she believes will be a noble cause (the future of humanity). He agrees to do so in exchange for a kiss. Afterward, he is put to death by lethal injection. The last image he sees is Dr. Kogen standing over him.

In 2018, John Connor participates in a major Resistance assault a Skynet VLA network in order to obtain classified data vital to the machines and rescue the prisoners there. Connor would leave after having infiltrated the base to try to rescue several prisoners being taken to the Skynet Central in San Francisco. However, he discovers computerized schematics for a new enemy to the Resistance — the Series 800 Terminator, which should've been produced in the year 2026. Connor is ordered to the surface to check on the troops guarding their transportation and finds they've all been killed. He sees a large Skynet Transport taking off and flies after it in a helicopter. A large explosion occurs right where he and his unit entered the holding facility and his chopper crashes. John sees a large mushroom cloud over the holding facility and realizes his entire unit is dead. He is suddenly attacked by a damaged T-600 and barely destroys it before it can kill him.

John is picked up a short time afterward and requests to be taken to Resistance Headquarters. He is denied a meeting with the Resistance leaders, but jumps out of the chopper and swims down to the Resistance Headquarters — which is located on a submarine. While there, he meets with General Ashdown and tells him what he'd found and that Skynet was more advanced than it should be. The leaders are unhappy with him but tell him they have discovered a hidden frequency that could potentially shut down Skynet for good. John volunteers to test the signal on progressively more advanced machines. The Resistance has also intercepted a transmission from Skynet: a kill list warning that all the Resistance leaders will be dead in four days. John himself is second on the list, with Kyle Reese as their Number One target.

In the meantime, at the VLA installation shortly after Connor is picked up, Marcus wakes up 15 years after his execution, dazed and confused at his surroundings. After taking clothes from a dead Resistance fighter, Marcus makes his way through the desert and into Los Angeles, only to discover the city is in the ruins, and the only human survivors there are a young Kyle Reese and his young, silent companion, Star. After rescuing Marcus from the onslaught of a T-600, Kyle explains how the Judgment Day happened as he knows it and that he is working to become a full-fledged Resistance member. So far, though, Kyle and Star haven't had much luck finding others to join their branch. Marcus, determined to help, fixes an old shortwave radio, which, by chance picks up a broadcast from John Connor, whose daily broadcasts are secretly focused on finding Kyle, his future father, as well as giving hope and providing advice on how to fight Skynet's forces to the Resistance and human survivors around the world.

As Marcus and Kyle leave the city behind to meet John Connor they are detected by one of Skynet's small probes, which scans Kyle's face. They are able to destroy the probe and continue north, into the desert. They encounter a 7-11 housing humans who, instead of actively sabotaging Skynet activity, "keep their heads down" to avoid attracting the attention of the machines. They deny the travelers gasoline at first, but an old woman, Virginia, asks them to stay, offering something to eat. During this, the 7-11 suddenly comes under attack by a Harvester, taking several prisoners. The three try to escape, first trying to destroy the Harvester with fuel from a large fuel tanker and then speeding up a highway with two Moto-Terminators in pursuit. Despite their combined efforts, Kyle and Star are still captured. Marcus attempts to follow but is knocked off by the Harvester on the Transport, landing in a river.

Meanwhile, Connor and his lieutenants, including his right-hand man, Barnes, and his second-in-command and wife, Kate Connor have never heard of Skynet taking human prisoners, and he is determined to discover the reason. They pick up machine activity in the Los Angeles Basin and dispatch two A-10 Warthogs to intercept the Hunter-Killers trying to escape the area. However, two attackers were shot down by the machines. Blair Williams, one of the pilots, successfully ejected and later rescued by Marcus, while the interception fails and Connor is ordered to follow through with a Skynet infiltration attack.

Face Off

John Connor and Marcus Wright

Blair and Marcus bond over a two-night trip back to her base, during which Marcus saves Blair from a group of survivors who attack her. When they arrive at the perimeter, Blair leads Marcus on a safe path to avoid magnetized mines laid out to destroy terminators that breach the boundary. As they make their way inside, a mine suddenly attaches itself to Marcus' leg and explodes. He's carried to the infirmary where Kate Connor examines him. A terrified look crosses her face and she tells Barnes to hit Marcus, knocking him out. When Marcus comes to, he's chained up over a ballistic missile shaft, being studied intently by John Connor and Kate. Kate explains that his brain and heart are the only organs left. John asks Marcus who built him; Marcus insists he's human. John releases the chain holding Marcus' head upright and Marcus looks down at his own body, letting out an agonized scream when he sees he's a cyborg. Connor tells Marcus that he won't die at the hands of a Terminator and orders that he be kept restrained.

Blair, unable to accept that Marcus is part of Skynet, releases him after which the Resistance chases them down, with Blair being captured to allow Marcus to escape. Connor chases after him in a Huey, but suddenly gets brought down into a river by Hydrobots. Before Connor is killed by a swarm of Hydrobots, Marcus saves him. Connor makes a deal, and with his permission, allows him to enter the heart of Skynet Central, in exchange to get Connor into the base, so he can free Kyle. Marcus makes his way to Skynet and shuts down the turrets guarding a huge wall, and Connor is able to enter the facility.

While Marcus is deactivating the security, his machine circuitry syncs with the Skynet mainframe and causes him to blackout. When he comes to, he is completely repaired, and Skynet, taking on the appearance of Dr. Serena Kogan, reveals his true purpose. Skynet tells him that he is only a Trojan horse of sorts, whose intent was to identify Connor and Reese and lure them into Skynet, where they could be killed. With his mission fulfilled, Skynet expects him to accept he is now a machine and will continue fighting alongside Skynet. Choosing to be a human, Marcus rips out his uplink chip and helps Connor locate Kyle. Skynet warns that fighting is useless and that he cannot save John and Kyle. Marcus snarls "Watch me!" before smashing Skynet's monitor, escaping the chamber.

Meanwhile, General Ashdown and the other Resistance leaders discover that the signal they had implemented to destroy Skynet was really a location beacon. An HK-Aerial tracks the sub they're in and drops a depth charge, destroying it.

While John is searching for Kyle Reese at Skynet Central, he discovers a T-RIP with the mission to kill John Connor and Kyle Reese above all — and chases them throughout the Terminator Factory beneath the complex. Kyle is captured by a T-600 but escapes by jamming a rod into the Terminator's motor cortex before it can kill him. As the T-RIP enters the room in pursuit of John and Kyle, it easily destroys the damaged T-600 blocking its path. John fires several "Hellhound" 40mm grenades at the T-RIP, slowing its pursuit and burning off its flesh covering. They escape by blowing a hole in a nearby wall.

The T-RIP catches up with John and a fight ensues but their battle is interrupted when Marcus intervenes, allowing John to get Kyle to safety. The T-RIP battles Marcus in single combat with neither gaining a distinct advantage. However, Marcus is defeated by the T-RIP, who discovers that his human heart is vulnerable and delivers a devastating blow to his chest. Marcus collapses and the T-RIP resumes its chase of Connor. John fires a grenade at a vat of molten metal, which pours out over the T-RIP. Because the molten metal can't stop the machine, John then fires at a coolant line with his pistol, which freezes the T-RIP solid. Before the T-RIP is stopped by the cooled steel, it claws at the left side of Conner's face, giving him his trademark scar.

John then tries to revive Marcus with a few solid thumps to his chest. Failing that, he rips away electrical conduits and shocks Marcus several times to bring him back to life. However, this gives the T-RIP time to break free and, while he is distracted, impales John through the chest with a steel bar. Marcus grabs the steel bar and thrusts it through the neck of the T-RIP, decapitating it with ease. He carries John to a waiting helicopter, where Kate and Barnes having assembled an evac force for the human survivors. Star hands Connor the detonation controller.

Once they are airlifted from the blast site, Connor detonates the detonating cord that he had previously wrapped around several nuclear fuel cells in the Terminator Factory and destroys the Skynet Central before falling unconscious, due to the mortal wound to his heart from the T-RIP. In a base camp, Marcus resolves to give up his human heart to save John. He explains to Blair and Kyle that everyone deserves a second chance at life, including Connor, and willingly undergoes a heart transplant. Before the procedure begins, Marcus gives his Resistance coat to Kyle.

When Connor wakes up, he is on a helicopter flying towards the horizon along with a fleet of Bell UH-1 "Huey" Helicopters.

The film ends with John quoting his mother, "There is no fate but what we make." He warns the Resistance and other survivors across the world that while they have won this battle, the war is by no means over Skynet's forces still remain strong, and humanity has a long way to go before it achieves ultimate victory over the machines.

Characters and Machines[]

Resistance and affiliates Skynet & Cyberdyne Systems

Continuity notes[]

  • The date of Judgment Day is not specifically given during the film.
  • The T-600 is operating as the primary foot soldier with an Infiltrator version consisting of rubber skin. Kyle Reese described the T-600 to Sarah Connor in The Terminator.
  • John Connor notes that the T-800 is coming online a full ten years before 2026.[1]
  • Tech-Com, John Connor's Resistance group which is mentioned by Kyle Reese in The Terminator, is mentioned again in this film.
  • Sarah Connor's audio tapes, as seen in The Terminator and a deleted scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, despite being stolen by the T-1000, are mysteriously included in the film with a scene where John Connor is reviewing one for information on Terminators like Marcus. Linda Hamilton recorded these voiceovers.[2]
  • It should be noted that in this film, Kyle Reese says that Hunter Killers hunt better at night with infrared, which is a bit contradictory to what he told Sarah in The Terminator. However, this could be because of the alternate timeline.
  • Marcus Wright teaches Kyle Reese how to strap a shotgun to his arm with a cord to prevent losing it, a skill which he demonstrates with a shotgun upon his arrival in 1984 in The Terminator.
  • John Connor still listens to "You Could Be Mine" by Guns N' Roses, just like young John in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • John uses his hacking skill, just like what he did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Skynet seems to be apparently developed by Cyberdyne Systems instead of Cyber Research Systems.
John connor scar

Detail of John Connor's scar in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (left) and Terminator Salvation (right)

  • The origin of Future John Connor's facial scar from the opening of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is depicted at the end of the film.
  • In this film, Kyle is captured and brought to the Skynet Work Camp as previously mentioned in The Terminator. Kyle is later rescued by John Connor just like he did in other media such as T2: Future War.
  • In The Terminator, Kyle mentioned that John gave him Sarah's photo upon their first meeting. This scene is filmed in Terminator Salvation but deleted from both theatrical and extended versions. However, the scene can be seen in the Maximum Movie Mode while McG is commenting within Terminator Salvation Blu-ray Disc.
    • In Terminator Salvation, John Connor gives his jacket to Kyle. After burying Marcus, Kyle finds the photo in the pocket of the jacket.[3]
    • However, the photo in Terminator Salvation looks different from the original version.

Sarah's photo in Terminator Salvation

T2 sarah polaroid

The original version of Sarah's photo. (For comparison)

  • Although the original quote is "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves," the Terminator Salvation quote misses the last two words, making it "There is no fate but what we make."
  • Operating machines which cause noise in the factory seems to distract the Terminator hunting John Connor, and produces an error in the Terminators processing. Kyle Reese used this error in programming in a factory on the T-800 near the end of The Terminator.



Terminator Salvation Official Poster (earlier version)

  • This film is dedicated to the memory of Stan Winston.
  • This is the first Terminator movie to be rated PG-13 instead of R. However, the Director's Cut is re-rated to R for some violence and brief nudity.
  • This is the first film where the Series 800 Model 101 Infiltrator is not credited as "The Terminator," but "T-800."
  • A remix of "The Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails was created for the trailers of the film.
  • 20 new machines, including the Harvester, Moto-Terminator, and Hydrobot, were introduced with this film.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to lend his face (from The Terminator) to the film as a CG model, used in conjunction with Roland Kickinger's body by digital makeup.[4]
  • Special promos for this film aired on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Rescue Me.
  • Chrysler Automotive Group serves as a sponsor of the film with their Jeep brand represented.
  • McG partially believes that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles lessened the impact of a new Terminator film and may have harmed its performance.[5]
  • In the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles timeline, it is John who takes Kyle's jacket "Born to Run"; while in Terminator Salvation timeline, John gives his jacket to Kyle.

Deleted and Alternate scenes[]

  • Scenes were filmed with actor Terry Crews playing Captain Jericho, the brother of Barnes, but these were cut due to time constraints.[6]
  • Scenes of a Resistance Soldier, played by Stan Winston, fighting a Hydrobot were filmed but cut from the film.[7]
  • Marcus' infiltration of Skynet Central was originally longer and involved an HK-Tank destroying a church.[8]
  • The humans escaping from the Skynet Work Camp was filmed for use in the film and could be seen on the trailer; however, for an unknown reason, these scenes were cut from the final film.[9]
  • In the trailer, the T-RIP picks up and uses the Series 600 Terminator's minigun. The scene is not featured in the film.
  • Serena Kogan appears as a Hybrid and has a conversation with Marcus, but the scene is replaced with Skynet talking to Marcus.
  • Several scenes involving actors cast to play Hybrids working at Skynet Central were cut following the removal of the Project Angel subplot.[10]
  • A scene was filmed involving Kyle Reese burying Marcus after the surgery, which response to Kyle's line to Marcus "Nobody will bury you" early in the film.
  • A scene of John telling Command about the Series 800 at the USS Wilmington.
  • Kate Connor had a subplot of being pregnant, but this was cut from the theatrical edit.[11] Kate instead discovered she was pregnant shortly before the battle at Skynet Central, at a point where it wouldn't impact the plot.
  • This is an alternate scene John shoots the T-800's face off. The scene is created in case Arnold Schwarzenegger refuses to lend his likeness to the film.
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Scenes featured in the Extended version[]

The Extended version, also known as "Director's Cut version," featured in the Blu-Ray release and limited Target release of the DVD, restores several scenes.

T1 Stalking

The T-1 in the Skynet VLA.

  • A scene where a T-1 pops out of the water in the Skynet VLA trying to trap Resistance fighters in a flooded chamber was cut from the theatrical version. A portion of this scene could be seen in the original trailer and the Director's Cut version.
  • The scenes of John Connor at USS Wilmington were originally longer and featured Ashdown holding a gun to John's head.
  • The racetrack scenes were initially longer and involved Marcus searching for firewood while Blair Williams treated her wounds. These scenes were cut because they featured Moon Bloodgood topless and Marcus attacking one of the humans with a screwdriver to the shoulder.[12]

Terminator references[]

  • Classic quotes: Kyle Reese says "Come with me if you want to live." again, while John Connor says "I'll be back.".
  • Both Marcus and the T-RIP get smacked on the faces but turn their faces to the attackers slowly, just like the T-800s did in both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Marcus wears a leather jacket as his second costume, much like those the Terminators, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who always wears a leather jacket as the costume.[13]
  • The T-RIP uses a voice impersonation just like the T-800s did in both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • The final battle occurs in a factory, just like both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The Terminator[]

  • The opening sequence is an homage to the opening sequence of The Terminator.
  • A paragraph of words tells what happened, such as Judgment Day, the War against the Machines, in the opening.
  • A T-600 is smashed by a helicopter, just like Sarah used the hydraulic press to smash the T-800.
  • John is chased by a damaged T-600 with the only upper body left, much like Sarah being chased by a T-800 with the only upper body left near the end of The Terminator.
  • Marcus asks Kyle about the date, just like Kyle did in The Terminator.
  • Marcus uses a tank lorry to attack the Harvester but failed. This is similar to T-800, who was driving a tanker truck when Kyle put a bomb in it before the explosion.
  • The T-RIP loses its living-tissue sheath, just like the T-800.
  • The T-RIP rises from the molten steel, just like the T-800 who rose from the flame and the wreckage of a tanker truck.
  • John mentioned a storm is coming at the end of the film, just like Sarah does.
  • John steps back while T-RIP step on stair much like Kyle and Sarah step back from T-800.
  • Marcus beat T-RIP with a metal pipe like Kyle does with T-800.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day[]

  • Moto-Terminator drive from the bridge in a manner much like T-1000 does when pursuing John.
  • Marcus has to destroy truck window when an attempt to destroy Moto-Terminator, much like T-1000 did when pursuing John.
  • The living tissue on Marcus' left hand is burned out, much like the T-800, who ripped out his living tissue on his left arm.
  • John uses a grenade launcher to make way for escape through the wall like T-800 did in CSM building.
  • Marcus uses a steel bar to beat the T-RIP, just like what the T-1000 did to the T-800.
  • Marcus gets hit in the chest by the T-RIP with a heavy object, just like the T-800, who got hit in the chest with a column by the T-1000.
  • Marcus was temporally terminated, just like the T-800.
  • John tried to reach the grenade launcher, just like the T-800, who was beaten on the ground and tried to reach a grenade launcher.
  • The T-RIP keeps walking until completely frozen, just like the T-1000, who was frozen by the liquid nitrogen.


  • Q: Does the advanced timeline indicate that Skynet used the additional time traveling missions outside of established canon in order to advance its own development?
    • A: Possibly not, since the TDE doesn't seem to be developed at this point in 2018. The development becomes more advanced in Terminator Salvation timeline could be due to the fact that Skynet is online in early 21st century instead of in 1997, thus it has the more advanced technology to develop its machinery troops.
  • Q: Where was Marcus Wright "stored" after his execution?
    • A: Marcus was used in the experiment for Project Angel at Cyberdyne Systems Genetics Division, headed by Serena Kogan. Presumably, the project was about building hybrid cyborg, a Terminator with real human parts. Finally, he was present in the Skynet VLA that was destroyed at the beginning of the film. He is briefly shown lying on a gurney as John and his team pass by. If his flesh was sufficiently supplied with nutrients, it is entirely possible he was there the whole 15 years.
  • Q: Why do the T-600s only have a rubber skin on their faces, as opposed to their entire body? And why are they dressed in rags which clearly expose their cybernetic components? Wouldn't it be obvious to Skynet that such a careless disguise would never fool a human?
    • A: It can be simply due to the weathering, which causes the rubber skin or clothes to wear out, or possibly battle damage.
  • Q How come to the machines attacked Marcus before he met Blair, but when he was in Skynet Central, nobody attacked him?
    • A1: It is possible that only the machines guarding several strongholds such as Skynet Central are able to scan and recognize other machines, including Hybrids such as Marcus.
    • A2: Skynet had, most likely, cut his connection in order to assist with his infiltration. It is possible that his connection to the artificial intelligence wasn't reestablished until after he had been discovered as a machine or until he had been scanned at Skynet Central's perimeter.
    • A3: Skynet could also have just ordered the machines to attack (but maybe not to "shoot to kill") since if no machines attacked Marcus, that would obviously look suspicious.
  • Q Why does John not trust Marcus, even though he trusted the T-800 and the T-850?
    • A: In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 10-year-old John did not immediately trust the T-800 until they were attacked by the T-1000. The T-800 grabbed John and used it's body to shield him. It was after they had talked about was the T-800 came from and how it got there that John entrusted the machine with its safety (note that the T-800 gave him no choice). In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, John was attacked by the T-X and was saved only in the nick of time by the T-850. John realized he needed a protector, so trust in this machine was earned again. In Terminator Salvation, John Connor is older and battle-hardened. He has come to trust himself with his life and safety. Plus, he sees all machines as enemies due to Judgment Day having already occurred. Marcus had to prove his usefulness first to John by infiltrating Skynet, but it wasn't until being attacked by the T-RIP that the two began to feel any deep trust.
  • Q: How come the molten steel melted the T-800 in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but it doesn't in Terminator Salvation"?
    • A: It is possible that the molten steel did not have enough time to act on the endoskeleton (which has also been suggested by McG[14](This can be supported by the fact that the T2 T-800 lasted long enough to give John a "thumbs up" in the molten pool.); though it is also possible there wasn't enough molten steel to do any damage.
  • Q: How "advanced" are the medical capabilities of the Resistance, considering they were able to successfully complete a heart transplant surgical procedure under "Third World" medical conditions?
    • A: Hot, dry environments are fairly sterile most commonly, and impromptu transplants and major surgeries are performed quite frequently in desert environments without too many complications. We must also assume that the medics involved were most likely applying "First World" techniques as best they could and that patients had a very strong will to live.
  • Q: Skynet's goal is the extermination of all humans. Why, then, do they bother with Prisoner Camps at all? It would be far more efficient (and thus, "machine-like") to simply shoot on sight, instead of capturing prisoners and killing them later on.
    • A: Skynet needs to use those prisoners as experiment subjects for certain reasons. In the original script, Skynet used those prisoners to create the neural net AI database of human brains, which will allow the Terminators to better act like humans and as such, better infiltrate human encampments.[15]


  • At the beginning when Marcus is getting the lethal injections injected into him, Serena Kogan leans over Marcus with the light behind her. However, when the camera switches back to Marcus you can see the light shining on his face, but there is no shadow of Serena's head.


Terminator Salvation was to serve as the first film in a new trilogy of films. This, however, has been put into doubt following financial backers for the film filing a lawsuit for a return on their investment. McG confirmed that Terminator 5 was planned for a 2011 release.[4] On August 23, 2009, it was revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger was considering purchasing the rights to the series.[16]

Home Video Release[]


The DVD and Blu-ray Disc of the film will be released on December 1, 2009. The former will contain the theatrical cut of the film with a featurette on the Moto-Terminators. The Blu-ray, however, will feature both the theatrical cut and the director's cut of the film, which is three minutes longer, and includes bonus material including Maximum Movie Mode, a video commentary in which director McG talks about the film while it plays, featurettes, a video archive, and a digital comic of the first issue of the official movie prequel comic. Both will come along with a digital copy of the theatrical cut for portable media players.[17] It was announced on Sunday, November 29, 2009, circular that Target stores in the United States and Zellers stores in Canada will carry an exclusive DVD of the Director's Cut.


The knife of T4
Original Soundtrack
Video Games


John Connor: "I knew it. I knew it was coming. But this is not the future my mother warned me about. And in this future, I don't know if we can win this war. This is John Connor..."

Marcus Wright: What day? What year?
Kyle Reese: 2018.
Marcus Wright: What happened here?
Kyle Reese: Judgment Day happened.

John Connor (To Marcus): You and me. We've been at war since before either of us even existed. You tried killing my mother. You killed my father. You will not kill me.

John Connor: I knew it was coming. I thought I knew our enemy. But I don't know if we can win this war. We are outnumbered by machines. And we've all lost so very much. But this is not the future my mother warned me about.

Kyle Reese: Who are you?
John Connor: John Connor.

John Connor: Something's changed. The devil's hands have been busy. What is it?

Kate Connor: If you saved us once in another future, you can save us in this one.
John Connor: If we stay this course we are dead! We are all dead!

Kyle Reese: [To Marcus] Come with me if you want to live.

Kate Brewster: [To John] What should I tell your men when they find out that you're gone?
John Connor: [Turns to her. A pause] I'll be back.

John Connor: Do It! You Son of a Bitch!

John Connor: There is no fate but what we make.



Extended Terminator Salvation gallery

Screen captures[]

Extended screenshot gallery of Terminator Salvation

Concept Art[]

Extended concept art gallery of Terminator Salvation



External links[]

Early and Original Scripts related[]