So in Terminator Genisys, Sarah Connor and the Terminator are debating who's going to go back in time. The Terminator says he can't go, the electromagnetic fields would destroy his skin layer and it would take years to grow back (I guess meaning that he would look like a terminator when they got there, and he wouldn't have any cover?). He points out that his skin is basically just human skin, so it ages like theirs (a convenient explanation for why Arnold has aged...). Instead he ends up just waiting in normal time for them to arrive in the future, where he'd help them.

However, this seems at odds with the first trilogy, where he also comes back in that same energy sphere thing. Why didn't this burn all his skin off or whatever?

Is it supposed to be a slightly different device? Or was it a slightly different Terminator?

edit: Here is a link to the script, you can find it if you search the page for the first instance of "quantum field".


1 Answer 1


You misunderstood them:

  • They want to travel to the future this time, so they actually debate who'll skip ahead. This is also the only way the Terminator could sit this out and wait.

  • In general, the Terminator is capable of time travelling. That's the whole point and reason he's there to begin with. He wasn't built in the past.

  • Pops can't travel with because of the damage done to his skin (exposed metal endoskeleton). The time machine wouldn't harm his skin. It's the skin's primary job to protect the machine from the time machine's effects (after all the human skin as a disguise only works once, considering all models of one series look identical). It's established that for the transfer to work, there must not be any exposed metal. This is also repeated earlier in the movie when Kyle is sent back in time, completely naked.

  • The machine if exposed would get badly damaged/destroyed by the time machine as seen later in the film for what effects they have on skinless terminators
    – Thomas
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 6:58
  • 1
    Related: how could a T-1000 or T-X time-travel? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/11058/…
    – tardigrade
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 7:30
  • Ahhh, good point. I wish they had made that more clear in the movie. I just looked at the script (edited into the question) and he just says "my flesh will take years to regrow". Thanks! Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 5:04
  • to make it more clear: Pops can't travel because of the existing damage on his skin (leaving exposed metal that would be damaged in time travel)
    – user3526
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 12:14

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