How Many Terminator Movies Are There, In What Order Should You Watch?

What would come to be one of the most interesting and followed film franchises began with the first of the Terminator movies in 1984. Also marking the first big break of James Cameron as a movie director, the franchise has come to enjoy massive following through the years. The sci-fi action film has evolved through time with a number of sequels down the line. While the first was released in the 1980s, the newest film in the franchise is expected to be released in November 2019.

How Many Terminator Movies Are There?

Thus far, there are six Terminator films, although the sixth is yet to be released. The movies have been built with the central theme of time travel with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who portrays the Terminator as the main cast.

After the first two films that were directed by James Cameron and which also happen to be the most successful films in the franchise, the ace director would leave the franchise for many years before finally coming back more than two decades later.

In What Order Should You Watch Terminator Movies?

Terminator Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator – Image Source

Like most other franchises, the best way for one to watch the Terminator movies is to follow them on the order of release. This will give one a better understanding of the events and also follow the plot. There is, however, a little twist.

The sixth film is coming as a direct sequel to the first two films of the franchise; 1984’s The Terminator and 1991’s Judgement Day. What this means is that it is safe for one to skip the next three and then continue from the sixth. After the first two films, the next three did not achieve so much in terms of critical or commercial success. However, for anyone who wants to still see all the films, here is the order:

1. The Terminator (1984)

This fantasy sci-fi film was directed by James Cameron and it featured Arnold Schwarzenegger who would return for all subsequent movies as The Terminator in the series and Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor). It tells the story of a Cyborg who is sent from the future, 2029, to kill a woman, Connor, in order to prevent her from having her son, John Connor, who will grow up to be a problem for Skynet. The movie gained commercial and critical success.

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The most successful of the movies, this film was also directed by James Cameron. This time around, a more vicious and advanced Terminator, T-1000 portrayed by Robert Patrick is sent after Sarah and John who is played by Edward Furlong. By all means, T-800 (Arnold) is sent to protect John.

3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

T3, as this film is known, was directed by Jonathan Mostow and continues with the story of John. By this time, Skynet has failed to kill Sarah before she had her son and has also failed to kill him when he was a little child. Hence, T-X, yet another terminator portrayed by Kristanna Loken is sent back to the past to kill as many of the resistance officers as possible, including the future wife of John.

At the box office, the film recorded much success but it is quite poor critically.

4. Terminator Salvation (2009)

The fourth installment of the franchise, this film was directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol (McG). A large part of humanity has fallen to Skynet through a holocaust but John, whose destiny is to become the leader of humanity and the resistant army struggles to lead humanity. The remaining military forces in the world are bringing their forces together.

5. Terminator Genisys (2015)

Among other Terminator movies, this follows an adventurous plot that did not sit well with fans. The movie goes back to the origin of the film and changes the storyline, indicating that Sarah Connor was brought up and protected by a reprogrammed Terminator that was sent by her son who has now become a leader of the human resistance. Events here would lead to an alternate timeline.

See Also: Is War for the Planet of the Apes The Last One Or Will There Be A Sequel? (Opens in a new browser tab)

6. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Set for release on November 1, 2019, this is expected to be the biggest movie in the series since Judgement Day. It sees the first collaboration of Arnold, Hamilton, and Cameron, who directed the first two films, although he is returning as the producer in this film which is directed by Tim Miller.

As stated, it is coming as a direct sequel to the 1984 and 1991 films and so, it comes with the assumption that since Judgement Day was released, nothing more came in the franchise. Also, the film is starting a trilogy which aims at transitioning the film to a much younger cast.


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