In Terminator Genisys Reese and Sarah debate about whether to travel to 1997 or 2017. Sarah claimed 1997 because that was the original judgement day. Reese said that in the alternate timeline it should be 2017 instead.

But why wouldn't they just go to 1997 just to be safe? They have already killed all the future terminators trying to kill them so they should be able to go to 1997, see that judgement day didn't come, then prep/wait until 2017 and stop the alternate judgement day.

  • Would you sit and wait 20 years? All the while someone from another timeline figures out that you're waiting, comes by, kills you and ensures the success of 2017?
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 3:48
  • @Mooz If it meant I can prep for them and not accidentally miss judgement day, then yeah. Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 3:57
  • @Möoz - the genesys t-800 did just that. nothing came for him. Course... look at his stock pile of weapons and pants. Blew up with like nothing but magnets secured for their brief travels across a bridge.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is that, with each time travel, the date of Judgement Day keeps changing due to people interfering with history. Thus, you can't simply jump back and wait for a specific event - you will probably be surprised by one of these things occurring:

  • the event happens earlier than you expected
  • the event happens differently than you expected
  • the event taking much, much longer to happen than you had anticipated
  • another time traveller comes back and kills you while you're waiting

It's a classical case of time travel causing multiple universes to branch off each time it happens:

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This effect can be easily seen by checking any of the fan-created timelines out there, such as the one from this article, which shows nicely all the different judgement days and variations as the timeline splits and changes:

enter image description here

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