Skip to main content

Terminator Genisys Finally Explains Arnold's Pivotal Role

As far as pre-release hype is concerned, Termintor Genisys has proven that it’s not exactly shy with revealing secrets. Already divulging a major plot twist about a key character, you’d think there would be little we don’t know about the film at this point. However, new Sarah Connor, Emilia Clarke, shed some light on her bizarre relationship with Arnold Schwarzengger’s aged cyborg.

In an official featurette for Genisys, Clarke provides a previously unknown plot component to the film’s pairing of her Sarah Connor with Schwarzenegger’s T-800 Terminator, known as "Guardian." According to Clarke:

Skynet tried to send someone to kill Sarah’s parents. And the person who comes to her rescue and saves her life is Guardian.

We’ve known for quite some time that Arnold’s older Terminator serves as Sarah’s protector and apparently has been with her since she was a child. While one could probably have put two and two together to speculate that the young child version of Sarah we’ve seen in the film’s trailers was rescued from an unspecified timeline-altering incident which cost the lives of her parents, this revelation seems to be the first public acknowledgement of such an angle.

While we’re still not fully privy to the specifics here, this does seem to answer the question of why the synthesized flesh of Arnold’s Guardian is in such an advanced stage of aging in the film’s 1984 setting; presumably not THAT many years after he started caring for Sarah as a child. Seeing as Clarke specified that Skynet was after Sarah’s parents (rather than just her), we can presume that Guardian first arrived back in time at a point when Sarah was about to be born. It’s a poetic parallel to Skynet’s strategy in the original film in which the Terminator attempted to kill Sarah to prevent the existence of her yet-to-be-conceived son, John Connor. It’s an act that the snide Dr. Silberman once referred to as "retroactive abortion."

As Schwarzenegger himself further elaborates in the featurette, Guardian takes the paternal relationship that T-800 had with John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day to a completely new level with the young Sarah in Genisys. Guardian is essentially Sarah’s perpetually on-duty bodyguard, standing by her side 24/7, year after year, without need for sleep or any noteworthy human maintenance. As you can see in the video below, he’s clearly become the father that she apparently lost at some point, and she is even seen in the new footage referring to him as "Pops." Likewise, Guardian is shown doting on her in a clearly fatherly manner, buckling her seat belt in a later scene.

Seeing as Terminator Genisys continues to spill so many secrets, we might be inclined to speculate that there may yet be a few killer cards that the film is still holding close to its proverbial chest. We’ll certainly find out soon enough when the time-bending, cyborg-on-cyborg slaughter makes its way to theaters on July 1.