It’s been a long and winding road for the Terminator franchise, which picks up Friday where it ostensibly left off in 1991, when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 sacrificed itself to destroy the chip in its head that, while fueling an at least temporarily successful rescue mission, could potentially be used to help annihilate humanity one day.Similar to how 2018’s Halloween asked you to forget that there had been nine sequels/reboots/updates in the interim since the original in 1978, so Terminator: Dark Fate follows the action directly from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, never mind the three movies made in the meantime, two of them featuring Ah-nuld.Which, for devoted fans of the James Cameron-directed 1984 and 1991 movies starring Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, shouldn’t be a problem.
This go-round features the return of the original Terminator and Sarah Connor, never mind that T2 eliminated the former (he’s a machine, no biggie) and Sarah was dead by T3 (which now doesn’t count). The new unsuspecting young woman with the fate of the world in her hands who they’re tasked with protecting is Dani (Natalia Reyes), and this time they’re aided by Mackenzie Davis’ Grace, Dani’s adopted daughter from 2042, sent back to 2020 to help. And they’re all trying to save Dani from Gabriel Luna’s seemingly indomitable Rev-9, whose shape-shifting abilities make T2’s ruthlessly determined T-1000 seem rather quaint.Cameron, who sold the rights to his story for cheap in order to get his vision onscreen in the 1980s, got creative control back this year, in time to be credited as a producer, and Deadpool director Tim Miller took the reins behind the camera for Dark Fate.But though the three Terminator movies that have come out since T2 didn’t leave their cultural marks the way the first two did, a lot of familiar faces have volunteered for duty in this terrifying alternate universe over the years.
Moviestore/Shutterstock; Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures
So before you re-immerse yourself in this timeline, here are all the other actors you forgot took a turn taking on the Terminators over the years.
Orion Pictures (1984)
James Cameron hired the aspiring actor from Texas as a set builder on the night shift when he worked in the art department at New World Pictures, and Paxton scored a fleeting role as a punk rocker who sasses Arnold’s villainous machine in the 1984 original The Terminator. Close friends and diving buddies, Cameron and Paxton would reunite for Aliens, True Lies, Titanic and the documentary Ghosts of the Abyss.
Next, ever forget that Terminator 2: Judgment Day was Eddie Furlong’s first movie, and his 10-year-old version of John Connor is the standard to which all future grown-up John Connors have been held.
The liquid-metal T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day turned the question “Have you seen this boy?” into the most chilling thing ever. And this is actually an opposite scenario—Patrick’s been in dozens of movies and TV shows over the last two decades, including The X-Files, True Blood and Scorpion, but he’ll basically always be “the guy from T2.”
Joe Morton and S. Epatha Merkerson
Kerry Washington’s dad on Scandal was the brilliant Miles Bennett Dyson, director of special projects at Cyberdyne whose research unfortunately led to the creation of Skynet, the operating system that will destroy humanity.And two years before she started playing the unflappable Lt. Van Buren on Law & Order, in T2 she was Miles Dyson’s understandably terrified wife—and probably all the more terrified because she probably had no clue that the creation of the technology that would bring about the end of mankind had paid for that gorgeous glass house her family lived in.
Hank on Breaking Bad has joked that he’s an alphabet actor, playing FBI, CIA, DEA, LAPD, etc. And here he is on the SWAT team in T2.
Claire Danes and Nick Stahl
Stahl was a 20-year-old John Connor in 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which picked up 10 years after T2 left off, with John trying to live a normal, “stop depending on me to save the world!” life in L.A. with the help of Danes’ Kate, who happens to be the daughter of the military man who helped bring Skynet to fruition after the death of Miles Dyson.They end up together, but a man can’t escape his destiny.
Post-Singled Out but pre-Nerdist icon status, Hardwick was “2nd Engineer” in Rise of the Machines.