What would happen after Terminator 2?

I recently watched T2, one of my favorite movies of all time, again. It still holds up - even the effects hold up. It made me wonder what Sarah would have done after the movie, and how law enforcement would act.

Ignore all the sequels. The other movies obviously have multiple timelines, so we can feel free to make our own here. What do you think most likely would have happened?

Here’s my best guess - one way or another, law enforcement would catch up to Sarah and John. Maybe they would have turned themselves in, or maybe they’d run for a while, but they would have been caught relatively quickly IMO, considering Sarah’s injuries.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Someone in the government knows about the first terminator (since its remains made their way to Cyberdyne), and would have heard Sarah’s initial story from the first movie. They would have been highly skeptical, but still interested in the technology, so they arranged for Sarah to be committed.

But now it would be more undeniable to the G-men who knew about the first one. There would be dozens of witnesses the government would interview - the guards and staff in the mental hospital, the witnesses at the mall, the truck drivers who survived, the helicopter pilot (if he survived), the friendly driver who saw Arnold’s cyborg face on the highway, likely some steel workers, and the dozens of traumatized cops at the ruined office building who saw Arnold take hundreds of rounds and keep going. They’d get Sarah to talk again and tell her story.

Then what? I think witness protection. The government would want to keep it as quiet as they could, and maybe payoffs and threats and such could keep the best witnesses from spilling to the media. There would still be rumors and conspiracy theories, but I don’t think it would go beyond that if Sarah stayed quiet and the government tried to sweep it under the rug. And I don’t think they’d try to recommit Sarah at this point - didn’t work the first time, and unless they’re willing to kill Sarah and John (and I don’t think they would - they’d be worried enough the story might be true to keep John alive), they’re going to be free anyway. Better to work with them and keep them close.

So assuming they successfully changed the future (and T2 seems to indicate they did IMO), I think Sarah and John would live long and reasonable happy lives in witness protection. Maybe in a few decades they could come out of it and John becomes a Senator like in the deleted scenes.

What do you think?

I’m not sure about this; I always kind of figured the original remains were, like, at Cyberdyne — that some business owned the place where the first movie’s Terminator got crushed and left behind its arm, and it might as well be them — and that the left-behind arm in the second movie can do likewise, possibly leading to significantly similar corporate shenanigans.

That’s possible. Though there’s only the arm left - no chip. How much damage could be done with just the arm?

Yes, that’s a deleted scene from the first movie, and what was stated in the novelization of T2 as well - the machine shop the final battle occurred in was Cyberdyne.

Here’s the scene:

I didn’t know that - that changes things a bit, though I think there’s still a good likelihood that someone in the government knew. Cyberdyne looked like the kind of company with lots of government contracts and other links.

There couldn’t be enough payoffs and hush-hush with all the shootings and wrecks and a wrecked helicopter to keep the media quiet! Not quickly enough, anyway. I suppose there could be cover story (or ten.) I don’t know. Witness protection seems plausible, maybe.

Not totally quiet, obviously. But what could be reported? Even if they had clear testimony from everyone but Sarah, just lots of explosions and a few seemingly sci-fi tales. It would be national news for weeks, and conspiracy theories galore. But no one but a very, very few would actually know the truth. There would be a dozen theories competing against each other in the media.

The Cyberdyne corporation has already shown themselves, in the aftermath of the first movie, to be irrationally evil and obsessed with making killer robots even though there is ample evidence (Sarah Conner’s testimony, Reese’s testimony, the footage from the police station attack, and the remains of a killer robot from the future) that will lead to the extinction of most of the human race (including the executives of Cyberdyne. It’s a classic example (along with the umbrella Corp of resident evil) of the irrationally evil corporation trope.

So given that it’s safe to assume exactly the same thing will happen again after T2

What killer robots? The only thing Cyberdyne was working on in T2 was an advanced CPU for the DOD that would of course become Skynet. And they had no idea about Sarah’s or Kyle’s testimony about killer robots - the only person alive who heard it was Dr. Silberman, and he was still convinced Sarah was insane by the time of T2.

Cyberdyne may have been evil, in the sense of defense contractors aren’t growing food and building daycare centers, but not “dedicated to their own demise” evil.

I think this is the biggest problem with the “sweep it under the rug” plan. It’s a fairly small part of T2, but don’t forget, the cops made a point of telling Sarah that the guy who shot up that police station in the original film had just re-surfaced. They had been looking for the person they thought was a mass-cop-murderer ever since that day. Then they found him again. Every cop in the country would be wanting to know what happened to this guy. Every cop who was there at the end of T2 would be telling stories for the rest of their lives.

No way you keep something that big under wraps.

Not under wraps, but he’s gone. They’re not going to find him. So the stories will continue, but so what?

And more to the point even if you assume they could (as that is what is presented in T2), the people doing the covering up (which is canonically Cyberdyne as related by Sarah Conner in T2) would have been aware of the truth there was more than enough evidence amongst the things they were covering up that Sarah Conner and Reese were telling the truth and that their actions were going to lead to the apocalypse.

Depends on how cynical you are.

On the one hand, you can get the officials to blame everything on Sarah, John and their posse of anarcho-terrorists (never mind there aren’t any, they can always find someone. Blame Dyson.). The Connors go down as the biggest homegrown terrorists since Tim McVeigh. Whether some alphabet soup agency somewhere knows the truth, they won’t share, so officially everything in the movie was “terrorism”. Even back then, that would satisfy most people. A smart secret department would interview the Connors and keep them handy. (Like in Predator 2, the “government” was seen to know about Predators and had people to deal with them. Someone believed Dutch.) Maybe they don’t believe it all, but they’re not stupid enough to dismiss it as crazy, either.

On the other hand, the bright happy future ending means enough people believe the Connors that steps are taken to prevent AI from ever happening. And the future becomes glorious and peaceful.

Eventually, there is some kind of…what’s the English word?..struggle to remove all thinking machines, and nothing more advanced than a kitchen timer survives, but that comes many centuries later. :slight_smile:

The concept that aliens are using Earth as a hunting preserve is a hell of a lot easier to swallow than time travel is. At best, a government agency that investigated everything would decide that there’s some Bond villain-esque secret cabal out there with super advanced technology, not that killer robots are coming back from the future to perform a retroactive abortion.

Whoa now. Let’s not being throwing around the evil word at makers of killer robots.


Like I said…“may not believe it all”.

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world — where none suffered — where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster; no one would accept the program; entire crops were lost.

Sarah Conner spent years learning everything she could about how to be a terrorist/guerrilla, and especially how to remain a fugitive despite all efforts to locate her. She was only caught because she took the risk of trying to directly target Cyberdyne. I’d say if she thought she’d finally succeeded she would get out of the country and go underground probably somewhere in Mexico. John Conner would have less of a paper trail and probably would too, or else as an adult might live in the US under several assumed identities.

Here’s the thing: although I don’t like how T3 or any of the sequels set it up, I don’t think the Terminator saga could have ended in T2. The Terminators and Kyle Reese came from somewhen.

One possibility is this: in order to prevent creating a paradoxical timeloop, Kyle Reese and the T-800 in T2 were under orders to lie to Sarah and John about the details of the future: exactly when Judgement Day occurred or even the name of the killer AI or what company created it.

If one starts bringing all the sequels in, with a string of ever more poorly conceived sequels, anything could happen,

But the OP said “T2”. I think the end of T2, running down the road to an uncertain future, means that Skynet won’t ever get made.

FWIW, in the T2 novelization, Judgement Day never happened, John Connor became a Senator, and IIRC the novel ends with Sarah playing with her grandkids.