The Terminator franchise has had some rocky moments, with some films that really tested people’s love for the series (we’re looking at you Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). However, there is more to the franchise than just the films. Here’s a short list of other Terminator content that’s definitely worth checking out.
Terminator 2: Cybernetic Dawn (Comic Book – Dan Abnett & Rod Whigham)
Set immediately after the events of the second movie, Terminator 2: Cybernetic Dawn picks up after the destruction of the T-1000 and T-800, and sees John and Sarah Connor nursing their wounds following their long battle against the machines. Unfortunately, it turns out that they may not have actually prevented Judgement Day as not one, but three new Terminators arrive in the past to kill them both, two T-800’s, and a T-1000.
Terminator 2: Cybernetic Dawn is a pretty bold book, doing something that hasn’t even really been done in the films and having more than one Terminator sent back in time to kill a single target. Add in the fact that no one has been sent back to protect the Connors and this makes for a pretty stand out story. It also expanded upon the world created in the first two films, by revealing that the government already has pieces of several other Terminators in their possession, dating back further than Sarah Connor, teasing the idea that the machines have been manipulating time for much longer than initially thought.
Terminator 3: Redemption (Video Game – Xbox, PS2, GameCube)
Released shortly after the abysmal movie tie in game, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, this game tried to make up for some of the awfulness that players had to put up with. This game shifted the action away from the film, and instead of making gamers play through the events of the film, actually told a story. The game expanded upon the film, having players take control of the T-800 before he’s sent back in time to protect John.
The game managed to be a lot more fun than the film it ties into, and featured a variety of missions, including vehicle based combat, on rails shooting sections, and standard combat through a variety of future settings. Possibly the best thing to come out of the third film, the game knew that it had to do something different to try and win over fans, and succeeded for the most part, receiving some generous reviews.
Terminator Salvation: From The Ashes (Novel – Timothy Zahn)
Written by award winning author Timothy Zahn, (best known for his work on Star Wars and for creating the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn), this novel tells a tale of John Connor set in the apocalyptic future of the war against the machines, and helps to set up for the Terminator: Salvation movie. Set during a period where John Connor is still seen as nothing more than an average resistance fighter by the larger resistance movement, Terminator Salvation: From The Ashes sees John leading his resistance cell in a daring mission to capture a Terminator facility in an attempt to not just hurt the machines, but to prove himself to Command.
Whilst most stories focus on John Connor as either a young man before the war with Skynet, or as the leader of the resistance, it’s good to see him at an in-between stage. He’s proven himself to his group of fighters, and commands their respect, but is still seen as just a small cog in a larger machine. He has to prove that he’s the leader he’s been training to be his entire life.
Zahn is a great author, and is able to craft an engaging and dynamic story filled with interesting character moments, as well as intense action sequences, giving readers one of the better Terminator novels to date.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Television – 2008-2009)
A lot of people looked down on the Terminator television series and didn’t give it much of a chance. And that’s somewhat understandable, as the first season was a touch slow to begin with. However, once the series entered its second season it really began to find its feet and started to tell a very good, and different Terminator story.
The series showed a John (Thomas Dekker) and Sarah (Lena Headey) who had jumped forward in time from the 1990s to 2008 to escape a new Terminator, this time protected by the female terminator Cameron (Summer Glau). The series explored new ideas: that Terminators have been sent back to secure important materials and tech and protect them from Judgment Day, that resistance cells have been sent back to hinder Skynet’s creation, and that there’s even a faction of Terminators that want to stop Skynet too.
The series took bold moves with the franchise, and had some absolutely amazing moments before it was cancelled on a stunning cliffhanger ending. With the ability now to be able to binge watch, it would likely be much better received, especially thanks to how popular Lena Headey has since become.
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Robocop vs Terminator (Comic – Frank Miller and Walt Simonson)
Though probably best known as a video game, the comic began this fan favourite crossover. When a resistance fighter is sent back in time to kill Robocop, he is rescued by a group of Terminators who were sent to protect him. Learning that some of his technology would go on to be used to create Skynet, and ultimately destroy humanity, Robocop begins a mission to stop Skynet from coming into existence.
Written by Frank Miller, who wrote the second film, the book manages to capture a lot of the gritty and grimy feel of both universes, whilst telling an interesting story. It takes the character of Robocop, who already deals with issues of identity and what makes you human, and examines it in detail by making him a main part of the rise of the machines.