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View Poll Results: Was there ever a timeline where John Connor was not fathered by Reese?
Yes. John Connor cannot independently create himself. He had to come from somewhere. 18 20.93%
No. The first film is a closed loop predestination paradox. 68 79.07%
Voters: 86. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 28 2009, 01:40 AM   #31
The Borgified Corpse
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

^That's kinda how I was going to put it.

This reminds me of a bit in a (non-sci-fi) book I read recently. (It was one of the Robin Hudson mysteries by Sparkle Hayter, The Last Manly Man, I think.) In it, she says that time travel must be impossible, otherwise murderers of the future would realize that the past is a pretty good dumping ground for dead bodies and we would keep seeing all of these anachronistic corpses showing up. Not to mention, if timetravel were possible, why hasn't someone killed Hitler already?

One of the things that makes The Terminator relatively unique is that it's a time travel story told from the perspective of observers in the past and not the travelers from the future.

If we accept the inevitability of the existence of time travel, then it follows that the past would see the effects of future events. SOMEONE always traveled back in time. This individual then did things that helped to form the past & future that he already recognized. The present only happens once.

Take a step back and look at events from the linear perspective of time.
1.) On Thursday, May 12, 1984, Kyle Reese suddenly blinks into existence, seemingly from nothing.
2.) Kyle Reese impregnates Sarah Connor, then dies.
3.) John Connor is born.
4.) Skynet declares nuclear war on all humanity. Judgment Day.
5.) Kyle Reese is born.
6.) In 2029, Skynet invents a time machine.
7.) John Connor's human resistance takes control of the time machine. Kyle Reese suddenly blinks out of existence.

This is all that ever happened. None of these events are changable. The universe doesn't care why Kyle Reese suddenly blinked into existence in 1984, he just did. The fact that this would ultimately create the circumstances that would lead to his getting sent back in time in the first place were inevitable.

And here's another thing to consider. Why, of all dates, did Skynet choose May 12, 1984 to try to kill Sarah Connor? Why not try to kill John Connor at a later date, when it's less likely that their Terminator will cause collateral damage to the timeline that might endanger Skynet's own existence? It's because May 12, 1984 was the last date where Skynet could be reasonably sure of Sarah Connor's whereabouts. Why? Because that was the date that the T-800 started hunting her and forced her into hiding. Unbeknownst to Skynet, they were already constricted by their own mess.
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Old May 28 2009, 02:48 AM   #32
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

I went with yes because it reminds me of Futurama and Fry. "You're your own grandpa!!!"
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Old May 28 2009, 03:31 AM   #33
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Since the theme of this thread seems to be choosing the particular mechanics of fictional iterations of timetravel we like best and declaring them THE TRUTH, I choose this guy's:

http://www.mjyoung.net/time/terminat.html

While fairly complicated, this take makes the most sense to me and its also pretty cool, which is all the better. He only covers the first two films, but following his logic, both T3 and TS can be included. It also has implicatins for TSCC and how the shifting timelines were hinted at there. Hopefully he'll get to them all at some point. He dissects a whole bunch of other timetravel movies on the site, the latest being Deja Vu.

Oh, and I voted yes, there was an original timeline where someone related to Sarah Connor was enough of a pain in something resembling Skynet's ass that it whipped out timetravel as a not too completely insane solution to the problem. Whackiness ensued.
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Old May 28 2009, 04:01 PM   #34
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

That writeup makes a good amount of sense, works for me.

Has the added benefit of agreeing with most of what I was saying

One of the better parts of what he does is describing how they can do the "terminator goes back, and then the good guy goes back" scenario. Terminator fails to kill John, but accomplishes something else that John doesn't like. John then sends the good guy back NOT to save him (he's alive, therefore doesn't need saving in the past), but to protect Sarah.

Following his logic, T3 is still kinda tough to explain. In each case, Skynet has to fail at the main objectives, but still do something that John wants to prevent. In T3, what did the terminatrix accomplish that Brewster was trying to prevent? Has to be bad, but not so bad that it would wreck the rest of the future. Arnie is there to stop whatever that is, but could have screwed things up worse, because he tells John that he kills him prior to being sent back. Now John would be less likely to trust the T-800 that ended up killing him, so created another shitty loop where he DOESN'T get killed by Arnie, thus Brewster doesn't send him back, so he gets killed by Arnie, etc.

T3 was pretty much crap anyway, so not so worried...
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Old May 28 2009, 04:10 PM   #35
Base_Delta_Zero
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

I liked all the Terminator films, myself. I'm sure this guy could figure it out, anyway.
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Old May 28 2009, 04:30 PM   #36
Ryan8bit
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Scout101 wrote: View Post
One of the better parts of what he does is describing how they can do the "terminator goes back, and then the good guy goes back" scenario. Terminator fails to kill John, but accomplishes something else that John doesn't like. John then sends the good guy back NOT to save him (he's alive, therefore doesn't need saving in the past), but to protect Sarah.
The only problem is that there's no way Sarah would've ever gotten away from the Terminator without Kyle's help considering what we see in the movie. Plus, it clearly wasn't intended to be that way.

MJ Young's theory has plenty of holes in it, and is mostly just an attempt for him to sell books. Notice he does say that T3 doesn't work with his theory. T4 wouldn't either, since the movie itself has very little to do with logic.
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Old May 28 2009, 04:45 PM   #37
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Can't speak for T4 at the moment (haven't seen it yet), but he DOES have a page with follow-up for T3 that would pretty much work. I don't entirely get the motivation for Brewster to send Arnold back, but the rest more or less flows.

His reasoning behind Sarah survivng without Kyle's help would be that in the itteration before Arnold came to kill her, Arnold's parts can't be found because they aren't there, so Skynet is created later in the timeline, and the terminator they sent the first time may have been less advanced. It looked like, in that timeline, she escapes the initial attack, and survives to give birth to a child before the Terminator catches up and kills her. That all seemed to mostly survive his explanation...
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Old May 28 2009, 05:14 PM   #38
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Was there ever a timeline where John Connor was not fathered by Reese?
No. But there is a time line where Reese is sent back by someone other than John Connor because John Connor does not yet exist.
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Old May 28 2009, 06:22 PM   #39
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

^ Ah, so there is a timeline where John Connor isn't fathered by Reese, as John Connor was never fathered at all!

But then, why would the Terminator be sent back, and how would this result in Reese getting jiggy with Sarah?
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Old May 28 2009, 06:35 PM   #40
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

As I see it, in the First Time Line, Reese was sent back by some unknown person for some unknown reason which had nothing to do with Sarah. Or maybe it did. We can't know this. But we know it had nothing to do with protecting someone who didn't yet exist. In any case, Reese ends up with Sarah, John Connor is born, leads the Resistance, then the "protect Sarah/John" cycle of time lines begin.
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Old May 28 2009, 07:21 PM   #41
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

It could very easily have happened that way, but that's all gone now and we're stuck in the loop.

The question I have is, doesn't John have to send Kyle back before Skynet sends the T800? Otherwise, the machines would succeed and John Prime would never exist. Connor has to find the time machine before Skynet decides to use it. He's literally bound to do it. Skynet is also bound to make more Terminators before this is all over. We've seen a couple of them show up in the past. This would all have to be resloved at some point if there are going to be more movies.

Assuming John is successful in getting Kyle out in time, anything that happens after the T900 and the T-X (and any others I may not be aware of because I haven't watched all of SCC) are sent is outside the loop and thus fair game, especially if the break the time machine.

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Old May 28 2009, 08:29 PM   #42
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Nah, check that link from the last page. The gist would have to be:

Sarah has a kid (boy or girl, name not important) who grows up to be a leader in the resistance. Skynet sends someone back to kill her before the kid grows into the leader. For Connor to send someone back in time to oppose the Terminator, it has to have already failed. Most likely, it *kinda* failed. It came back to 1984, made an attempt on Sarah, and she got away, and had a kid while in hiding. Eventually, the Terminator finds her and kills her, but the kid still grows up to lead the resistance. follow THAT future back to 2018 (or 2029, or whenever), and Connor (but not OUR Connor) sees the Terminator go back to do that again. He (or she) now decides to try and send someone to protect their mother, and sends Kyle. This is where the train goes off the rails, and into the loop. Kyle, in the process of saving Sarah, replaces Connor's father with himself, and that creates John. Also creates a future where Skynet comes into existance earlier than they normally would.

In this loop, Skynet decides to try and kill Sarah, and John knows that he has to send Kyle to save her, because she's already told him that's how it happens. Round and round we go.
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Old May 28 2009, 08:33 PM   #43
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

why does everybody assume that as soon as the Terminator goes back, it succeeds in its mission and kyle can't go back? Kyle and the T-800 clearly arrive within minutes of each other.
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Old May 28 2009, 08:42 PM   #44
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

I love the theory of multiple timelines. Did you know there is even a Terminator reality where Sarah Connor gave birth to a Daughter instead of a son? Her name was Jane Connor.
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Old May 28 2009, 08:43 PM   #45
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Because once the Terminator disappears into the past, the result is known in the future. Kyle isn't 5 minutes behind him, for all intents and purposes, he's 40 years late.

If I go from 2009 to 2006 and kill you, you'll have a tough time coming from 2009 to try and stop me, having died in 2006.

That's the only way ANY of it works. Essentially, the T-800 has to fail before you can try to stop it. And in that case, stopping its primary mission can't be yours, because you already know it failed.

That's what is talked about in the T2 discussion, for example. Arnold isn't sent back to save John, no matter what he says. John sent him from the future, so we know John survives. It's more likely that he's sent back to save Sarah, who probably died protecting John the last time through the loop. When the t-1000 goes back, and John doesn't disappear, he knows the T-1000 didn't kill him (and remembers the circumstances of the attack). Logically, Arnold has to be there to do something else, the most likely of which is to protect Sarah...
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