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Terminator 1, 2, 3, Salvation
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Terminator 1, 2, 3, Salvation

The Terminator series is a franchise encompassing a series of science fiction films and ancillary media concerning battles between Skynet's artificially intelligent machine network, and John Connor's Tech-Com forces and the rest of the human race. Skynet's most well-known products in its genocidal goals are the various terminator models, such as the original "Terminator" character, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in three Terminator films.

The Terminator is a 1984 science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Michael Biehn. It is the first work in the Terminator franchise. In the film, machines take over the world in the near future, directed by the artificially intelligent computer Skynet. With its sole mission to completely annihilate humanity, it develops cyborg assassins called terminators that look exactly like humans. A man named John Connor starts the Tech-Com resistance to defeat them and free humanity. With a human victory imminent, the machines' only choice is to send a terminator back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah, before he is born, preventing the resistance from ever being founded. With the fate of humanity at stake, John sends Kyle Reese back to protect his mother and ensure his own existence.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the 1991 sequel to the original Terminator film, written, directed, and produced by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, and Robert Patrick. After the machines failed to prevent John Connor from being born, they try again, this time attempting to kill him as a child with a more advanced terminator, the T-1000. As before, John sends back a protector for his younger self, a reprogrammed Terminator, identical to the one from the previous film. After ten years of preparing for the future war, Sarah decides to use the same tactics the machines used on her: prevent Skynet from being invented by destroying Cyberdyne before they create it.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the 2003 sequel to the record breaking Terminator 2, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, and Kristanna Loken. As a result of the destruction of Cyberdyne at the end of T2, the Skynet takeover has been postponed, but not averted. In a last attempt to ensure a machine victory, a new terminator, the T-X, is sent back to kill as many high ranking resistance officers as possible, including John Connor and his future wife Kate. After the future Connor is terminated by an identical model to his previous protector, Kate reprograms it and sends it back to save them both from the T-X.

Terminator 4 is expected for release in either 2009 or 2010. According to an interview on February 1, 2005, Nick Stahl and Claire Danes will not be returning for Terminator 4. On May 9, 2007, it was announced that rights to The Terminator series had passed hands from producers Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar to the Halcyon Co., a privately funded company formed by entrepreneurs Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson. In the Variety article detailing the purchase, it states the fourth film is now earmarked for a Summer 2009 release and will focus on a 30-year old John Connor in what the producers hope will be a new trilogy. Series creator James Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger are currently not involved with the project. On May 29, 2007 Comingsoon.net revealed model/actor Marcus Schenkenberg has signed on for Terminator 4. It also mentions that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will have a 30 second cameo. It has been confirmed that T4 will take place after the events of T3, and will focus mainly on the war between man and Skynet.

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