I was looking around whether the time machine (or time displacement equipment as it is called in some sources) was actually built by humans or by skynet and somehow couldn't find an answer.

Hence I'll put up the question here - Is this question ever resolved in the Terminator universe?


1 Answer 1


The original script for The Terminator makes it abundantly clear that Skynet developed and built the "Time displacement" technology on its own, using the Terminators as its workforce:

REESE: ...it had no choice. The defensive grid was smashed. We'd taken the mainframes... We'd won. Taking out Connor then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence. We captured the lab complex. Found the...whatever it was called...the time-displacement equipment. The Terminator had already gone through. They sent two of us to intercept, then zeroed the whole place. Sumner didn't make it.

This is then backed up by the official novelisation for Terminator 2: Judgement Day, in which we (the omniscient reader) learn of the reasoning behind Skynet's research into time technology, for use as a weapon:

Until one day the tide of battle turned, and Skynet, in a desperate burst of brilliance, devised time displacement, the first tactical time weapon. It sent a lethal emissary back through time to find and eliminate Sarah, so that John Connor might never be born.

It may also interest you to know that according to the official novelisation for Terminator: Rise of the Machines, the fundamental theoretical basis for the TDE was done by Einstein and Hawking in the 50s and 1980s (prior to Skynet becoming active):

The super black project, funded by the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and National Security Agency, was designed to create an artificial wormhole. Einstein had first suggested such a phenomenon, and the English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking had done some work on the possibility. But the problem was power. By most calculations the wattage needed to create an infinitesimally tiny wormhole, in other words a passageway through space-time, would take almost all the energy ever produced in the universe since the moment of the big bang.

Clearly Skynet used its gigantic brain to overcome this limitation.

  • 1
    Were there any Force-sensitive Terminators? Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 19:15
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    @DVK - Almost certainly
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 19:24
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    "almost all the energy ever produced in the universe since the moment of the big bang" – though the amount of energy produced in the universe after Big Bang is zero...
    – Moyli
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 21:50
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    @Moyli - Pfft. Your "facts" have no place here. We prefer uninformed opinion and bad writing.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 21:58
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    @Moyli "almost all the energy" So slightly less than zero, That is why it was a hard problem to solve.
    – PStag
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 0:24

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