11 Big Questions Left Unanswered By Terminator Genisys

By  · Published on July 3rd, 2015

Paramount Pictures

Terminator Genisys has only been in theaters for a few days now, but it’s already led to an excessive amount of disappointment, frustration and laughter. We’re of the belief that it’s a passable summer action movie – no more, no less – but even though we landed on the positive side with our review there are still more than a few questions and issues worthy of further discussion.

We’ll get the ball rolling with a big question that the film’s characters actually want an answer to as well.

1) Who sent the T-800 to 1973 to save Sarah when she was nine years old?

This new film is the beginning of a planned trilogy, so this question – so blatantly teased in the movie – is most likely meant to be answered in part two or three – but judging by early box-office results there’s every possibility those sequels won’t happen. It can’t be John because he still thinks his mom is a waitress in the ’80s – unless Sarah and Kyle get busy in 2017 and little John Jr. grows up to be a hero too – and it can’t be Kyle as he’s now trapped in a peaceful, Skynet-free 2017 (plus he probably couldn’t operate a control panel). The options are fairly limited when it comes to known players which leaves us stumped. They could go the lazy route and just have Sarah do it much later once Skynet bounces back, but we’re hoping the filmmakers have something a bit more thought-out planned for this one. The fact that Pops knows about Kyle being John’s father adds a wrinkle too…

2) Speaking of 1973, who sent the T-1000 and is it the same one chasing Sarah in 1984?

One of the many surprises in ’84 is the appearance of a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun), but his presence raises questions. If it’s the same one sent to kill Sarah when she was a child that would mean it’s been trying to kill them for eleven years. Eleven years chasing a cyborg and a little girl across the country and continually failing to kill either of them! If it’s a different T-1000 then it’s unclear who sent it to the same day in ’84 as the original T-800.

3) Why is Skynet so dumb?

No one’s denying that when it comes to enslaving and murdering the human race Skynet has proven itself a capable villain, but its efforts to terminate Sarah and John Connor have shown otherwise. Why not send back multiple Terminators at once? Why not send one back to the ’60s or ’40s to kill Sarah’s parents or grandparents?They would have garbage weapons, slow cars and zero chance of defeating a killer robot! And perhaps most indicative of Skynet’s stupidity, why not program your time machine to reset the counter after each jump so the resistance can’t see where/when you went thereby enabling them to then send their own fighter to stop you each and every time? You get the idea. If this was just one film instead of several it would get a pass, but again and again Skynet ignores the premise of its own creation and refuses to learn.

4) Why does the world care so damn much about an app that links your devices?

We have cloud-based storage now, and the film doesn’t give anything approaching a compelling reason as to why over a billion people would have anxiously pre-ordered such a program. It’s not like Kingsman: The Secret Service where the madman is offering free phone service – people are actively purchasing this app and seem legitimately excited for its debut. Why?

5) What in the name of all that’s holy did humankind do to piss off the Dyson family?

Miles Dyson famously created the intelligent CPU in Judgement Day that led directly to Skynet, but this film’s new events in ’84 prevent that from happening. Instead though we get Miles’ son, Danny, whose new cloud-based operating system, Genisys, is about to do the same thing. Seriously. Why are the Dysons so angry? I’m guessing this is no more than a fun nod to fans, but what are the odds a father and son in two different timelines would create completely different products destined to destroy the world?

6) Why travel through time and arrive just one goddamn day before your super important deadline?

When Sarah and Kyle jump from 1984 to 2017 they’re doing so to prevent the launch of the Genisys program. I’m no Time Lord, but instead of getting there mere hours beforehand and automatically putting yourself in a serious time-crunch why not arrive a month or so in advance to give you more time to plan and execute your incredibly important attack you dumb shits. Better yet, don’t risk the jump at all and instead take the next 33 years to relax, take a vacation and come up with a foolproof plan to stop Genisys. This is another one that bears repeating throughout the film series as even the first movie saw Kyle get sent back to the same moment the T-800 arrives. It’s time travel! Why not send your guy back a bit earlier to give yourself a fighting chance?!

7) Does Cyberdyne not do background checks?

Their tech department is clearly top notch, but the Dysons may want to look into hiring a whole new HR department – they employed not one, but two Terminators without even knowing it! Pops got a job working construction with enough access to see the entire complex and add a safe room to the blueprints, and John is brought on to consult on some extremely sensitive projects, and presumably neither of them have social security numbers.

8) Does Skynet / John Connor actually believe that Sarah and Kyle will agree to join its master plan for human extinction?

When John meets them at Cyberdyne he spends some time sharing his vision for the future and suggesting they have a place in it. This isn’t a throwaway line – this is evil John’s actual plan – this is him seriously attempting to persuade them to put down their weapons and join Skynet. There’s nothing in their past behaviors to suggest they would just give up like that, so why spend valuable minutes even trying?

9) Why doesn’t the resistance just use a Mac computer to upload a virus into Skynet’s mainframe and “kill” it where it lives?

Look, I’m just saying it worked when we were fighting aliens in Independence Day.

And now, a couple bonus questions from our very own Jack Giroux!

10) Why does John Connor still exist?

Since Sarah Connor and the gang “successfully” stopped Skynet here (and at the end Terminator 2: Judgement Day), how does John Connor still come into existence? Without Skynet, there is no future in which the leader of the resistance sends his dad back in time. This isn’t so much a plot hole as it is a paradox – one of many in the films – and when dealing with time travel, a paradox is bound to happen. Apparently. – JG

11) Why does Sarah get upset when she hears that “Pops” isn’t time traveling with them to the future?

He’s a robot that’s not going anywhere, so what’s the big deal? Pops will be there waiting for them. Plus, based on how the T-800 acts with Kyle in the future he’s keeping a secret from Sarah in that he’s falling apart. Is she upset because she knows the machine could go obsolete before her and Kyle arrive in 2017? The relationship between Sarah and the T-800 is well-handled and the heart of the movie, but this brief conflict is a little clunky. – JG

Have the answers? Have more questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.