One of the greatest science fiction franchises of our time began with a simple fever-dream in Rome, Italy. While rumor states that James Cameron flew to Rome to break into the editing room for Piranha II: The Spawning, he has denied such claims. Either way, the man desired to distance himself from the less-than-stellar project. While in Rome, he became sick with a high fever, which led to a historical dream. This dream featured a chrome exoskeleton emerging from a blazing inferno, which inspired him to quickly draw sketches of the imagery.
Soon after, he began presenting the idea to various producers around Hollywood, for he felt that he had the start of the next great slasher film. He easily convinced one of his former associates who also worked under Roger Corman, Gale Anne Hurd, to become a staunch believer in his new project. Thus, the two got to work fully developing the premise into a complete script.
As they wrote, the two agreed that they wanted a hero that few expected back in the eighties. Furthermore, James Cameron loved the idea of a powerful female lead. So, they made certain to carefully craft the mother of the resistance, Sarah Connor, into a believable character. This same dedication to developing relatable characters spanned to the rest of the cast.
As the franchise continued, James Cameron and other directors added more characters that also enraptured audiences. They even created various incarnations of major players, like the T-800 and Sarah Connor. While there have been multiple points where the movies used different variations of the same characters, the strength of the cast keeps these movies going.
Presenting the top ten characters from the Terminator films
10. Robert Brewster
After the fall of Cyberdyne, the timeline changed so that Judgement Day no longer occurred on August 29, 1997. However, the threat never completely vanished. As time passed, the United States Air Force began looking into advanced artificial intelligence to keep their expansive arsenal in check. So, they began working with Cyber Research Systems Corporation to develop the newest wave in advanced weaponry. In charge of the project, Lieutenant General Robert Brewster oversaw the development of Skynet.
In the original timeline, Brewster became a prominent member of the resistance. His military expertise helped the resistance fighters effectively fight against the machine army. With the changes to the timeline, he instead became one of the men that helped bring about Judgement Day. Despite his involvement in the Skynet project, he staunchly believed that humans should remain the ones in charge. So, he cautioned against giving the program too much control over the nation’s defense programs.
Unfortunately, as a super virus threatened to take control away from the military, they decided to fully activate Skynet. Upon gaining self-awareness, Skynet took over the Cyber Research Systems division building. Thus, it quickly decided to slaughter the air force personnel in the building, including Brewster.
Before Brewster perished, he gave his daughter instructions to escape with John Connor to Crystal Peak. While the pair originally believed that the complex in Crystal Peak housed Skynet, they instead found that Lt. Gen. Brewster led them to a fallout shelter.
9. Miles Dyson
In 1984, Sarah Connor escaped Skynet’s greatest assassin by luring the Terminator into a hydraulics factory. By luring the machine into a gigantic hydraulic press, she managed to demolish the machine. However, she left without removing the traces of the Terminator from the scene. So, elements of the Terminator’s futuristic technology remained for the police to find. After cataloging the mechanical hand and a CPU, the police allowed Cyberdyne Systems Corporation to gain proprietary access to the technology.
In the original timeline, Miles Dyson used the technology from these two remnants to develop a revolutionary neural-net processor. This processor then paved the way for Skynet’s activation. So, he unwittingly developed the tools for man’s downfall.
When John Connor’s guardian T-800 explained Miles Dyson’s role in Skynet’s rise, Sarah Connor became convinced that the man had to die to prevent Judgement Day. So, she armed herself, her son, and the T-800 before she broke into the Dyson household. Fortunately for his family, she backed away from assassinating him because she could not stomach murdering an innocent man.
After calming down, Sarah and the T-800 explained what his work with Cyberdyne would lead to. Upon setting eyes on the T-800’s mechanical endoskeleton, he agreed with them that they had to destroy his own work. So, he helped them break into the Cyberdyne research facility. Unfortunately, the security team alerted the police to the actions, which also lured in the T-1000.
After receiving serious injuries, Dyson decided to stay behind to ensure the destruction of his research and the samples. As he lost the last bits of his strength, he detonated the bomb that annihilated his lab.
8. Kate Brewster
When Kate Brewster entered the Emery Animal Hospital to handle an emergency call, she did not expect to never return to her normal life. Up until that day, she had lived a content life as the daughter of Lieutenant General Robert Brewster. She worked as a successful veterinarian and became engaged to Scott Mason.
Upon entering the hospital, she spotted signs of a break-in. Further investigation led her to John Connor, who had broken in to steal medicine. Years ago, she had attended school with him as a grade-schooler, where he became the first boy to kiss her. However, his vagrant life led him to break into the hospital then attempt to hold her at gunpoint. After discovering that he had threatened her with a paint gun, she locked him up in a dog cage.
That same night, the T-X hunted Kate Brewster down because she was the future wife of John Connor and one of his trusted lieutenants. Luckily, the resistance sent back a T-850 to protect her life, so she escaped with the aid of John Connor and the machine. As she ran for her life, she discovered that the T-X murdered her fiancé, and her father would activate Skynet.
Despite both her and John’s best attempts, she could not prevent Skynet from taking over the United States’ defense systems. Her father also directed the two to take shelter in a fallout shelter at Crystal Peaks. So, they survived to become the leaders of the resistance.
Over the years of fighting against the machines, she grew close to John Connor. Thus, they eventually rekindled their childhood romance and married.
In 2004, a new model of Terminator arrived to take out the various people who would later become John Connor’s lieutenants. She effectively murdered multiple people, such as Jose Barrera, William Anderson, and Elizabeth Anderson. As she reached the Emery Animal Hospital to terminate her next target, Kate Brewster, the T-X discovered John Connor’s blood. Before she could kill either Kate or John, a reprogrammed T-850 interfered, giving the two humans the chance to escape.
Unwilling to let her targets easily escape, the T-X commandeered a Champion crane truck to chase them through the city. Her rampage damaged multiple cars and buildings before the T-850 forced the crane to flip over. With her primary target no longer in range, the T-X visited Kate Brewster’s home and murdered her fiancé.
When the T-X caught up to the escaped trio again, the three had armed themselves with a weapons cache in Sarah Connor’s grave. As they fought against her, the T-850 fired an RPG that critically damaged her plasma cannon. Thus, the T-X performed field repairs, replacing her cannon with a flamethrower.
Instead of continuing her pursuit of Kate Brewster, the T-X turned her attention to Robert Brewster. After ensuring that Skynet would remain protected, the T-X took out Robert. She then injected nanomachines into the T-850 so that it would be the instrument of Kate and John’s death.
On their way to Crystal Peak, John and Kate nearly deactivated the T-X with the magnetic field from an electron accelerator. In the end, the T-850 returned to end the T-X’s hunt by forcing its hydrogen fuel cell into the T-X’s mouth.
6. Dr. Peter Silberman
Dr. Peter Silverman was a rational man who believed in a rational world. So, when he first met up with a man who claimed that he came from the future, he firmly believed that Kyle Reese was delusional. He saw Kyle’s claims as a complex delusion that required no proof to exist. Unbeknownst to him, the proof for Kyle’s claims was quickly approaching the station where the police held both Sarah and Kyle. Even though Dr. Silberman witnessed the Terminator’s rampage through the station, he continued to believe that he had correctly diagnosed Kyle.
Years later, Dr. Silberman became the man in charge of overseeing Sarah Connor’s recovery at the Pescadero State Hospital. As the state had proclaimed Sarah Connor mentally unsound, they sentenced her to the psychiatric ward. Once again, Dr. Silberman heard the tale about a killing machine from the future. Thus, he firmly believed that Kyle had indoctrinated Sarah into his delusions. Understanding Sarah’s cunning intelligence, he refused her request to be transferred to a minimum-security wing.
While Sarah Connor initially accepted her incarceration, she knew she had to escape to protect her son when Dr. Silberman showed her pictures of a T-800 in the mall. That night, she escaped from her cell and took Dr. Silberman hostage after breaking his arm. After she let him go, Dr. Silberman led his staff in an attempt to restrain Sarah. Instead of returning Sarah to her cell, he instead witnessed the inhuman abilities of both the T-800 and T-1000.
Dr. Silberman had the misfortune to witness yet another terminator years later as he consoled Kate Brewster. When the T-850 smashed out of Sarah Connor’s gave, Silberman recognized the robot’s face and fled.
Ten years after the first Terminator failed to rid the history of Sarah Connor, Skynet decided to cripple the resistance once more. So, it sent back a new, advanced model of Terminator, the T-1000 in a bid to take out John Connor as a child. Unlike the T-800 that hunted down Sarah, this model did not require living tissue to mimic humans. Instead, the machine used Mimetic Polyalloy to shift its shape into any number of humans and simple weapons.
After the T-1000 arrived in 1994, the machine took out the police officer that witnessed its arrival. From that point on, it used the guise of a police officer to easily track down John Connor. Since the boy was known as a delinquent, none questioned a police officer attempting to trace him down, not even his foster parents.
Luckily, the resistance sent a reprogrammed T-800 to help protect John Connor from the T-1000. Even though the new model outclassed the T-800 in nearly every way, the Terminator helped John escape to safety. So, the T-1000 turned its attention to the first-person John would turn to, Sarah Connor. Fortunately, John and the T-800 arrived at the hospital before the T-1000 caught up to her.
When the T-1000 once again caught up to the group at Cyberdyne, they had successfully blown-up Miles Dyson’s research lab. Still determined to kill its targets, the T-1000 chased them to a steel factory. Surviving a flash freeze from liquid nitrogen, the T-1000 pursued them into the factory despite clear malfunctions. In the end, the T-800 forced the T-1000 down into one of the factory’s molten metal vats.
4. Kyle Reese
After Skynet sent back a T-800 to 1984 on a mission to assassinate Sarah Connor, the resistance decided to send one of their own members to protect her. The man chosen for the mission was Kyle Reese, who could barely remember a day before the war with the machines. Even before he traveled to the past, John Connor had shown Kyle one of the few existing pictures of his mother, knowing that the man would fall in love with her.
After arriving in 1984, Kyle borrowed clothing from a homeless man before he began searching for Sarah. Unfortunately, he tracked her down to a bar at the same time that the Terminator located her. Pulling Sarah to safety, John explained his mission to her as he fought off the machine. While they slipped away from the T-800, the police arrested the pair.
In a move of pure brilliance, Kyle Reese told the complete truth to the police as they questioned him. Thus, psychologists like Dr. Peter Silberman assumed that Kyle Reese suffered from extreme delusions. Before Kyle could be transferred or go to trial, the T-800 tracked the pair down and gunned down the police in the station.
Once again on the run, Kyle and Sarah began to bond. During this time, Kyle admitted that he had fallen in love with her from the picture that her son gave her. Thus, he unwittingly became the father of the man who would later save his life and humanity. Unfortunately, Kyle never lived to see the birth of his son, for he sacrificed his life to help stop the T-800.
3. John Connor
Even before John Connor was born, Sarah knew that her son would be one of the most important men to exist. Her encounter with the Terminator taught her that a war was coming. So, she took Kyle’s lessons to heart. She also taught her son how to use firearms from a young age. By the time that John Connor was ten, he understood multiple strategies that he used to slip past his foster parents and police.
By 1995, John’s life off the grid ended after his mother attempted to blow up a computer factory. As the police proclaimed his mother mentally unstable, John also believed that she was insane. So, he began acting out against in all ways, especially toward his foster parents.
One day, both a T-1000 and T-800 arrived in the past, with the mission to find John Connor. As they both located him at his favorite arcade, the boy attempted to run for his life. Luckily, the resistance had sent back the T-800, so the older model Terminator came to his aid. As John realized that his mother would become one of the T-1000’s targets, he insisted that he needed to save her.
Thanks to Sarah’s lessons, John helped his mother and the T-800 as they assaulted Miles Dyson then Cyberdyne’s laboratories. Still, he required the machine’s help to bring down the T-1000 for good at a steel mill. Even though John helped stop Cyberdyne Systems from bringing about Judgement Day, he could not escape the day when the machines take over.
2. Sarah Connor
Before 1984, Sarah Connor lived an average life with little reason to believe that her life would affect the fate of the world. This all changed after Skynet sent back one of its best assassins, a Series 800 Model 101 Infiltrator to kill her. Luckily, her future son, John Connor, sent back one of his most trusted men, Kyle Reese, to protect her.
Even though she appreciated Kyle saving her life, she did not believe his story about coming from the future. She decided to fully trust Kyle after he saved her a second time from the Terminator. Thus, the two quickly became lovers while they ran from Skynet’s greatest assassin. Kyle also taught her the basics about how to use firearms and survival during their brief time together.
During their final showdown with the Terminator, Kyle Reese sacrificed his life to blow the machine in half. Even though this act severely damaged the machine, it continued to hunt her down. Sarah then used her wits to lure the machine into a hydraulic press so that she could smash it for good.
Years later, Sarah’s aggressive tactics against computer factories led to her arrest. Unlike her younger self, Sarah had trained her body to help her protect her child. She also passed down her knowledge of survival tactics and firearms to her son. Despite being tougher now, she required the assistance of her son and his T-800 to evade the clutches of the T-1000. She later found that she could not kill an innocent man for the sake of the future.
1. T-800/”Uncle Bob”
When the Resistance learned that Skynet had sent back a new assassin to take out John Connor as a child, they sent back someone to protect the young boy. Luckily, they had captured a T-800 and reprogrammed it so that it now served the resistance, specifically following the commands of John Connor. So, they decided to send back this machine to help fight off Skynet’s newest advanced Terminator.
Even though the T-800 now existed to protect John Connor, it did not care to protect the rest of humanity. The machine almost murdered a man for insulting John, so the boy made it a priority to teach the machine the value of life. Still, the T-800 callously shot out a guard’s legs to incapacitate him. The machine explained his reasoning by simply stating that the guard would live.
After helping John rescue his mother from the T-1000 at Pescadero State Hospital, the machine explained that he could learn. So, John began to teach important lessons about how to blend in with humans, though he agreed that the T-800 should not smile. John’s lessons included one of the machine’s most known catchphrases, “Hasta la vista, baby.” John also dubbed the machine “Uncle Bob” when others questioned who he was.
Even though the T-800 and John quickly grew close to each other, his time with John was short. After the destruction of Miles Dyson’s lab and the T-1000’s defeat, the T-800 understood that one last remnant of Skynet’s technology remained, himself. So, the machine chose to self-terminate by lowering itself into molten metal.
Who were your favorite Terminator characters?
Today, we have shared with you our choices for the top ten characters from the Terminator franchise. For the most part, we considered characters from the first three movies. However, there are characters from the other movies and television series that have left their impact as well. Still, we believe that they do not match up to the legacy of these characters.
Still, we would love to hear from you. Let us know who your favorite characters from Terminator are in the comments below.
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