Terminator Question - The Rest of the World?

I rewatched The Terminator last night having not seen it for about twenty years, first thoughts are that it stands up fine as a story and movie but Linda Hamilton’s acting is really quite poor and the Terminator is quite unterminatorlike in some respects compared to the later installments in the series.

Mainly he doesn’t have the slow, deliberate, stompiness suggesting a quite heavy metal endoskeleton underneath his fleshy exterior, at one point he does a cute little hop and skip from the road onto the pavement!

But thats only being picky, what I came in to ask is is there any indication of how Judgement Day affected the rest of the world outside America? We know there was a strategic exchange between the superpowers and that Skynet launched a campaign to exterminate the surviving humans. But from this we can surmise that if people survived in America they survived elsewhere, of course including places that weren’t heavily targeted or untargeted.

Was Skynet able to extend its reach outside the continental US?

In a rather horrifying flashback scene Kyle Reese describes the extermination camps run by Skynet and that humanity very nearly went extinct, though this is the words of a traumatised individual who grew up in the devastated post-exchange world and we can assume he, like everyone else, doesn’t really know whats going on in the rest of the world.

If Skynet had succeeded in wiping out the American resistance it can certainly be assumed it would have widened its campaign but as it stands do we know if it had any further reach and impact beyond the initial strikes?

Interesting question. Post-apocalyptic movies rarely acknowledge the existence of countries outside America or, occasionally, Australia.

Given the timeframe of the movie, it would be assumed that Skynet used the tensions between the US and the Soviets to kick off world war III. I would think the rest of the world got hammered pretty bad, too.

If there were American survivors of the initial exchange, there were probably survivors in lots of places. Thus a protracted campaign.

I can’t imagine why Skynet and the following AI network would be limited to only the US. Terminators the world across.

You mean such post-apocalyptic movies such as ID4, Children of Men, 28 Days later, The Time Machine, When the Wind Blows? Yea, none of them acknowledge anyone outside of the USA. And your “occasionally Australia” diminishes On the Beach and the Mad Max movies to mere footnotes.

In answer to the OP, why wouldn’t you expect the rest of the world is getting terminated? Skynet has flying machines. If they hate humanity as much as it seems, they’ll eventually get to everyone left alive. It will be quite a surprise (for a few minutes) to isolated Amazon tribes or Pacific Islander fishermen when chrome terminators start arriving and blasting them, but they will. Eventually.

Because the size of the Skynet network is never really described, it could be a single AI run command-center somewhere in North America with only sensory systems overseas, also Reese suggests that the human fightback began inside the extermination camps and he even shows Sarah Connor his tatooed barcode, and he states that humanity had basically won, the Terminator being sent back was a last-ditch throw of the dice by Skynet, again suggesting its limited in size and scope.

In addition humanity has flying machines as well, it doesn’t mean any given nation can attack globally at whim.

If it was as simple as fully automated global factories churning out war-machines, Terminators making Terminators, then I don’t see how an almost annihilated humanity could avoid getting steam-rollered, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, Skynet is far from omnipotent.

I personally got the impression that, as said above, Skynet was US based and was concentrating on wiping out the US survivors first before widening its scope. From Reeses perspective humanity was almost completely destroyed in his lifetime, but in reality it would have taken Skynet decades if not longer to build up its forces long enough to go on a worldwide campaign of destruction and even then the world is a very big place and humans are resilient.

Thanks for the answers everyone.

It’s a good question, and one I never really thought about.

In the timeframe of the movie, I dare say that outside North America, Europe and Russia, the initial damage would be relatively light. Although it depends I suppose upon Skynet’s first strike. If it had control of the entire US nuclear arsenal, I’m sure there were plenty of nukes to throw at all major population centers worldwide.

That is still going to leave a lot of people alive in a lot of places. And as another poster suggested, how is skynet, which initially at least presumably only has resources in the USA, going to get terminators from the American continents to overseas locations? If doesn’t have the resources to resist a local resistance movement in North America, would it be sending large numbers of terminators overseas? How would they operate? Presumably Terminators need ongoing maintenance, so you need repair shops set up, etc etc.

I think the North American population was close to being wiped out, while the rest of the world was doing as well as can be expected with a full nuclear exchange having gone down.

In Terminator 3, Skynet has spread worldwide before it gets activated, so presumably it take over every nuke site. Even without robots everywhere, the rest of the world is pretty well screwed.

Even in the first movie, we know that there was a global nuclear exchange. That’s pretty bad for the rest of the world even if Skynet decided to keep itself local in the US.

I have always assumed that the rest of the world was very bad off just by the fact that Skynet could set up human labor/death camps. I can’t see any surviving world powers sitting still while robots wiped out all the people in any country. At the very least, you’d expect NATO to get involved and a defeat of the NATO countries would pretty well devastate anything the nukes didn’t already get.

And the fact that the resistance began inside these death camps also tells me that the rest of the world was part of the apocalypse. There’s no mention of help from foreign powers. So to me, this fact says that the apocalypse (if not Skynet itself) was a global affair that pretty much knocked everyone out.

The fact that Skynet can be destroyed by an attack at a single location is just 1980’s thinking about computers. You might access the computer over a network or Internet, but you assume it that it has a localized physical existence somewhere. (That’s why “cloud computing” and Web 2.0 seems new. Pop culture is only just now understanding that you can also decentralize the server and the content.)

The USA doesn’t pay their NATO dues. They’d let us get screwed.

I seem to recall that in the comics there was a storyline involving survivors from the Soviet bloc controls. Can’t remembers what happens though.

Frankly we don’t really know what Skynet’s overall purpose was. Was it to kill humanity? Such that he would work until the last human was dead and then…shut down? Maybe?
We really don’t know.

This is undercut by the movies, though, where there was zero infrastructure supporting any terminator. Arnold’s model demonstrated the ability to take a massive amount of damage and keep right on ticking. The liquid metal model was essentially invulnerable and immortal.

Nothing was shown in the movie true, but any machine as complex as a terminator or a hunter killer is going to need maintenance in one form or another. The liquid metal, who knows, but I thought that was a prototype wasn’t it?

The other question that leads to is who is providing the raw material for Skynet’s production? Does he have terminator’s operating machinery in a coal/uranium mine? Who’s digging all the iron ore out of the ground? None of this was shown on screen, but are there terminator-like robots doing those jobs? Or is that where the human prisoners come in?

It’s last ditch effort was a time machine. Um, that’s pretty out there on the tech side. Nevermind living tissue grafted onto steel undercarriages. I think it’s a given that Skynet, however limited it was upon initial awareness, outgrew any one local server bank pretty quickly. They created infrastructure to make hunter/seekers to infiltrate camps and underground hideyholes, for gosh’s sake. They had a lot going before the humans finally created a resistance that worked.

Well, that’s the thing, humans have this “spark of life” thingy that makes them special. Just ask Hollywood. So yeah, they totally could fight their way back from near extinction by pure force of will, and stealing the terminator tech to use against them. Because, yeah!

Absolutely. Humanity is not going to sit still and let the robots take over North America while they stick their fingers in their ears in Europe and Asia. It’s like Hitler squared. There’s no “well, that’s just [del]Europe[/del] North America, it will never affect us, let’s just let [del]the Nazis[/del] the robots have it.” You know they’re coming for you - the shitbombed the world already.

Agreed. The resistance came from the camps because that’s the only place there was enough humanity in one location to get their act together.

But based on your premise, Arnold’s terminator would have been SOL when he was sent back in time because there was zero infrastructure to support it.

The Terminator is shown to be gradually degrading as it took damage in the fights, though it does seem to have limited self-repair capabilities. Its suggested that its biological covering is starting to rot off towards the end of the movie, though I’m not sure if it only lasts for a relatively short time as is or was affected by the above-mentioned damage.

Expanding to include other Terminator movies/tv series they have an onboard power-pack which lasts about 70 years on one charge, the female Terminator Cameron from The Sarah Connor Chronicles (an odd mixture of really quite thought-provoking and fun and very sloppy and silly, sometimes even in the same episode) scavanged parts from defeated Terminators to use to repair herself.

It kind of suggests that barring slow degradation of not replacable parts or unforeseen breakdown a Terminator could last on its own for a long time, but once it starts taking damage its in trouble.

But whether they are programmed to assess and repair non-humanoid Terminators like the Hunter-Killers is another matter, they certainly would require a support infrastructure.

I’ve seen it suggested that while Skynet was smart it wasn’t particularly good or even really capable of innovating, the Time Machine, Terminators, T-1000 etc were already either physical research projects or at least existed in schematic format, basically it was all stuff that humans had designed and Skynet just put into production and retasked. There is a rather interesting aspect mentioned in The Sarah Connor Chronicles where Skynet used human traitors/quislings for tasks it was incapable of itself, one person was shown teaching Terminators human psychology for example.

I imagine the time machine was a very experimental project and Skynet wasn’t certain it would function correctly or at all, and was concerned regarding unforeseen effects of messing with time, which was why it wasn’t used until Skynets metaphorical back was against the wall.

Sure, but that just makes any of these kinds of discussions completely pointless, its interesting to think of ‘in-universe’ explanations for things.

Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding this sentence?

Fine. Then let’s have every member of NATO chip in a supercarrier instead.


The Terminator that turned up in 80’s LA looked like a stereotypical Hollywood 80’s baddass, so maybe other countries got appropriate looks.

Maybe China had to deal with an Terracotta Terminator Army.

How India coped with the threat of roving packs of killer cyborgs who spontaneously broke out into song and dance routines every ten minutes is not recorded.

But after a global nuclear war, how many computer systems are going to be left intact that can run SkyNet?