Description: The Terminator series is a science-fiction franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. It encompasses a series of films, comics, novels, and additional media concerning battles between Skynet’s synthetic intelligent machine network, and John Connor’s Resistance 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 T-800 (Model 101), who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first film, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films.
The central theme of the franchise is the battle for survival between the nearly-extinct human race and the world-spanning synthetic intelligence that is Skynet. Skynet is positioned in the first film as a U.S. strategic “Global Digital Defense Network” computer system by Cyberdyne Systems which becomes self-aware. Upon activation, it immediately perceives all humans as a “security threat”, and formulates a plan to systematically wipe out humanity itself. The system initiates a nuclear first strike against Russia, thereby ensuring a devastating counter strike and a nuclear holocaust which it anticipates will instantly wipe out much of humanity. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, Skynet later builds up its own autonomous machine-based military capability which includes the Terminators used against individual human targets and, therefore, proceeds to wage a persistent total war against the surviving elements of humanity…some of whom have militarily organized themselves into a Resistance. At some point in this future, Skynet develops the ability of time travel, and both it and the Resistance seek to use this technology in order to win the war; either by altering or accelerating past events in Skynet’s favour, or by preventing or forestalling the (present) apocalyptic timeline.
In 1988, NOW Comics published an ongoing series with John Connor as the main character in 2031, after sending Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother. The Terminators in this canon had more human-like endoskeletons, and some issues would deal with subordinates of Connor’s in the ruins of certain geographic areas. The seventeen issue series was followed by two limited series.
Terminators have crossed over with RoboCop, Superman, and Alien vs. Predator. In the 1992 RoboCop versus The Terminator and 2000 Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future, the heroes must prevent the war ravaged future. In 2000, Dark Horse also published Alien versus Predator versus The Terminator, where Skynet, who went dormant after Connor defeated them, has returned and are creating an Alien-Terminator hybrid. The Ellen Ripley clone (from Alien: Resurrection) and the Predators join forces to stop them.