Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
John & Kate (Nick Stahl & Claire Danes) narrowly escape Skynet HQ after T-X (Kristanna Loken) has turned the entire base against humanity, and killed everybody else there. The Skynet computer goes on-line, linking up with military units all over the world — and then collapses, apparently victim to whatever computer virus is raising havoc with the rest of the world's computers. Kate's father tells them to go to this top-secret, heavily shielded bunker in the mountains miles away. Thinking that this bunker holds the core to the Skynet computer, Connor & Kate head out leaving both Terminators behind. Both Terminators follow them. Kate & Connor barely make it inside before the first Terminator finally destroys T-X by shoving one of his damaged fuel cells into T-X's mouth.
Happy ending? Not quite — instead of the main core of SkyNet, or any real computer hardware, Kate & Connor find that the bunker is a disused nuclear war shelter, stocked with ancient-looking computer terminals. There is no SkyNet core for them to destroy, and thus no way to stop "Judgment Day". The SkyNet that became self-aware and destroys the world wasn't really the computer at all — just the virus that infected it. John realizes that he was never able to prevent the Rise of the Machines, just survive the war and lead humanity to salvation in its nuclear-scarred, machine-ruled aftermath. When the radio crackles with calls for help from across the country, asking who's in charge, Connor nervously but determinatively responds that he is. Around the world, ICBM's launch paving the way for SkyNet to rule the world.
— Thanks to Ari Rottenberg!
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator Salvation (2009) We need a spoiler!
Terminator 5 (2014) We need a spoiler!
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