**Some spoilers ahead** After this weekend’s rather wobbly box office showing for “Terminator Genisys,” Paramount‘s planned trilogy of new movies remains in doubt. I can only imagine there will be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking around the studio about what went wrong with this installment, but perhaps that conversation could start with the convoluted timeline jumping of ‘Genisys.’ Not only does the new movie retcon what happened in the first two “The Terminator” flicks (while pretending the third and fourth chapters didn’t happen), it introduces the idea of multiple timelines that these characters can exist upon. It’s a bit head-spinning, but director Alan Taylor reveals that while there are seven timelines alone in ‘Genisys,’ he hoped audiences would just roll with the movie.
“We start in 2029 during the Future War, then go back to… 1984, jumping into…2017. So that’s three,” he outlined to The Daily Beast. “But when we start the movie we’re actually pre-Judgment Day, because we’re watching a happy beautiful world that was lost. And then Judgment Day happens. Then we cut ahead to…Post-Judgment Day. So that’s actually two more time frames, just within the prologue. Which brings us up to five. Then when we time travel with Kyle he’s remembering an alternate timeline, which was his 13th birthday in the happy time-verse, which would be 2012 seen in two different ways. And the seventh is when we flash back to the 1970s when Sarah is saved by the Guardian [Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800]. That’s my favorite, because that’s my 11-year-old daughter playing the young Sarah Connor.”
Geez, caught all that? However, Taylor didn’t expect ticket-buyers to understand all the intricacies. “Arnold has one of the most unpronounceable, impenetrable expositional lines in the movie when he says, ‘It’s possible to remember two time frames when you enter the quantum field during a nexus moment,’ and nobody has any idea what he’s talking about,” the director explained. “But yes, it makes sense. We don’t expect anybody to get it — then Kyle turns to Sarah and says, ‘Can you make him stop talking like that?’ It’s a way to say, you don’t really have to get this. If you want to nerd out, it’s all there, I think it’s coherent. But hopefully we can move on.”
“My favorite part is using humor to sort of skate over it,” Taylor added. “It’s a way of saying, ‘You may not get this, but who cares? Keep going!’ There’s a scene where J.K. Simmons [who plays a detective] comes in and says, ‘What you’re doing seems really complicated.’ And [Sarah Connor] says, ‘We’re here to save the world!’ And he says, ‘I can work with that.’ Basically, that’s what we’re telling the audience: Go with it, we’re saving the world.”
Whether you got all the sci-fi, time-jumping mumbo jumbo, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Chatting with Crave, writer Laeta Kalogridis reveals that Matt Smith’s Skynet baddie, who infects John Connor, was in fact from a different dimension himself. “You see in the beginning. [Matt Smith] grabs John. He’s not from this timeline. He’s from an alternate universe, in the multiverse. Another of the many universes that exist. That Skynet is not from that timeline,” she said. “This Skynet has been to this universe, and this universe, and this universe. That’s why he says, ‘I came a very long way to stop you.’ He’s not from here. So he’s watched it. He’s watched it happen a bunch of different times, and each time he’s seen it there is a different result but the same result.”
This is all enough to make anyone crazy, except James Cameron, with the filmmaker lending his face and support to the ‘Genisys’ in the run-up to the film’s release. However, as much as he appreciates it, Schwarzenegger believes the movie can stand on it’s own. “I do not like the idea that the studio went out and used it as a promotional material for the movie because I always felt that if you do that, it looks kind of like you need James Cameron to say something good about the movie. Which we don’t, because the movie is a straight 10, it’s a fantastic movie,” he told Collider.
However, critics disagreed with that last notion, and audiences certainly weren’t compelled, Cameron or not. Is this it for “The Terminator” franchise? Was all this timeline noodle soup for naught? Let us know below.