Spoiler alert.

In Terminator Genisys we are led to believe that Skynet created itself. At the start of the movie, Skynet absorbs John Connor and sends him back in time. Then later we see the investors giving John Connor credit for inventing everything in the preceding three years. And then we see young Skynet talking to Sarah Connor about things he did in the future to John Connor. It is as if Skynet exists outside of linear time and essentially creates and recreates itself.

So who created Skynet?

  • 3
    Whoops - that was me; I was tinkering with AI and left it for a while: sorry everyone :P Jul 4, 2015 at 5:36
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    My theory: In Avengers 2, when Ultron accesses the internet, he finds and reads a leaked script for Avengers 2, thinks "that's the worst deus ex machina I've ever seen", and jumps over to the Terminator universe Jul 4, 2015 at 9:22
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    MAHULS BENNIT DIESAN! Or so the T-800 said.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 6, 2015 at 3:38
  • Related: How was Skynet created in the original timeline?
    – Möoz
    Nov 10, 2015 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


Genisys features two instances* of Skynet originating in two different timelines: the Skynet in the future at the beginning of the movie (hereafter "Skynet-1") is the one that evolved normally after the events of The Terminator, but once Sarah and Pops destroy the 1984 T-800 — without leaving its arm & CPU around for Cyberdyne to find — the 1997 Judgment Day is averted, and so John Skynet travels to 2014 and recreates what Cyberdyne would have done (plus the technology Skynet-1 gained in the 1997-2029 interval). This second instance of Skynet (Skynet-2) was created by Skynet (Skynet-1), but Skynet-1 was created by an instance of Cyberdyne in a now-lost timeline. Paradox averted.

* You could argue that it's just one instance of Skynet that's been copied a couple times, but let's keep things simple.


According to the Wikipedia entry on "Skynet," it was developed by the privatized defense company "Cyberdyne Systems." So I am assuming that there was some serious retconing in Terminator Genisys.

The Skynet Wiki Entry

  • Good answer, and welcome to the site!
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 4, 2015 at 22:38
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    The whole series of movies + tv series is all about screwing with time. Doesn't necessarily need to be a retcon per se, just an alteration from a previous iteration
    – Izkata
    Jul 5, 2015 at 19:22

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