After the events of T1 Skynet was built much faster thanks to the severed hand of T-800. After realizing this, why didn't Skynet send more data/material into the past and make itself stronger rather then trying to kill the Connor family?

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    -1, I'm not really sure this question is a good fit here. No one can really answer why something didn't happen.
    – Chris L
    Jul 16, 2015 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


The Butterfly Effect states that the smallest change to an environment can have massive ramifications.

So, why did Skynet start mucking about with the timeline in the first place? Because it had lost, and it was desperate

In Terminator 1984 Kyle Reese says

It had no choice. Their defense grid was smashed. We'd won

The danger involved in sending back resources to make itself stronger are far too great. Due to chaos theory (butterfly effect) Skynet could inadvertently cause itself not to be created. It has a better chance of killing a nobody (Sarah/John) in the past and not affecting its own creation, as they don't become important until after Judgement Day

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    This was something that always bugged me about the films (particulary the first one)...the T-800 slaughters people left and right, even going so far as to wipe out an entire police station. This is more a Hurricane Effect than a Butterfly Effect.
    – Liesmith
    Jul 16, 2015 at 9:04
  • That's a very good point, theres no way skynet is going to be created at that rate! Jul 16, 2015 at 9:16
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    They would have died anyway during the Judgement day. I think the 'present' as seen in T1 is so close to creating Skynet that anyone who wasn't directly related to the creation of Skynet might die without any effect on the outcome.
    – Zikato
    Jul 16, 2015 at 11:04
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    The first film is a closed loop. Skynet is only created because it sent back the T800 that got crushed in the Cyber Dynamics factory. Had skynet not sent it back, it likely didnt get created, a paradox.
    – user16696
    Jul 16, 2015 at 17:11
  • I was under the impression that in Terminator-1984 that that was the original timeline version of the terminator and the parts left over from the T800 caused a fork in the timeline causing a more advanced version of skynet and the capability of building liquid metal terminators Jul 17, 2015 at 7:39

Skynet wants to research better terminators? Well that takes some trial and error so at the end of 24 hours, send the best designs along with a record back 24 hours and work from there, get 10,000 years worth of research done in 24 hours.

Ditto with battles with the resistance. Resistance wins a battle? Send back details a few days and make sure there's land mines just where they were planning to send their main attack.

It's probably one of those things you have to chalk up to the writers not wanting to make the enemy too overpowered. Skynet using time travel to full effect is just too tough an enemy if the resistance don't have their own time machines and too confusing if they do.

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    Essentially what happens in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Kitty and friends stay one step ahead of the Sentinels by transmitting information back in time by a few days.
    – user1027
    Jul 16, 2015 at 17:15
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    Maybe the answer to this is that Skynet didn't manage to complete the time machine until the very end of the war?
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 16, 2015 at 18:35
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    This is literally the plotline of Edge of Tomorrow.
    – Valorum
    Jul 16, 2015 at 18:39
  • I dont think limiting the time reduces its effect, I think changing the timeline was a last ditch desperation effort and wouldnt have been attempted if wasnt about to lose the war Jul 17, 2015 at 7:46
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    @harmingcola The reason I suggest short time periods is that the "Skynet could inadvertently cause itself not to be created" stops being an issue. if skynet only sends things back to times when it already exists then there's no risk of erasing itself from history. The guy in groundhog day doesn't have to worry about killing his own grandpa.
    – Murphy
    Jun 27, 2016 at 15:46

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