After the consecutive box office disappointments of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “Terminator: Salvation,” the franchise enlisted Alan Taylor, known for directing “Thor: The Dark World,” to helm its fifth installment, “Terminator Genisys.” Taylor succeeded in delivering an engaging action thriller that intricately woven together multiple timelines and time travel elements. “Terminator Genisys” received mixed reviews for its revival of the original Arnold Schwarzenegger T800 appearance. While the film effectively laid the groundwork for future installment like “Terminator: Dark Fate,” it fell short of achieving excellence as a standalone science fiction film. The movie offered little novelty in its exploration of time travel and multiple timelines, with Taylor primarily focusing on explaining the mechanics of time travel within the confines of a science fiction narrative. Spoilers Ahead!

Terminator Genisys (2015) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film starts with Kyle Reese sharing his memory about how he met John Connor, and later we see them fighting against Skynet to protect the future from robots. They have successfully taken over Skynet. However, before dying at the hands of the humans, Skynet unleashes its master plan to safeguard its existence. It sends a T800 model in the past, to the year 1984, to kill Sarah Connor so that John Connor is not born in the first place. And without John, there will not be any resistance to fight against Skynet.

Knowing that his mother’s life is in threat, John sends Kyle Reese using the same time machine that Skynet used to send the T800. When Kyle Reese comes back in 1984; he is attacked by a T1000 model. Meanwhile, we see an older T800 model already existing in 1984 protecting Sarah Connor from any trouble that she faces. So, the recent T800 model that is sent by Skynet to kill Sarah Connor faces the older T800 model that protects Sarah Connor. During the face-off, Sarah Connor helps her T800 win against the newer T800 model. Anyway, Sarah Connor calls her T800 model ‘Pops,’ so we are going to use that to make it less complex.

How do Sarah, Kyle, and Pops plan to destroy Skynet?

After defeating the T800, Sarah and Pops grab its body and visit Kyle, who is hiding himself from T1000. Sarah kills the T1000 with acid and tries to make Kyle understand the situation. Kyle is supposed to protect Sarah from the robots, but here everything is going differently. It is because, in 1973, someone sent a T800 to protect Sarah from the T1000 that killed her family. This alternate timeline has created some divergences, which results in Sarah and Pops fighting together to go further in time to the year 1997 when Skynet first became operational.

However, Kyle explains that before the time machine sends him back to 1984, he sees someone killing John Connor. However, Sarah initially thinks Reese’s memories are just empty dreams of a childhood he missed out on. Pops explains that as a fighter for the Resistance in the future, Reese was time-traveling when a big change in history happened: John Connor’s death. Pops suggests this allowed Reese to see two timelines: the original one and a new one where Judgment Day didn’t happen because of John’s death.

In the dream that Kyle has, he sees a younger version of him saying, “Genisys is Skynet,” while seeing glimpses of the Genisys product launch countdown. The other memory he has is of an interaction between his alternate younger self and Sarah Connor, where she traces his hand and tells him to escape. Kyle, at present, holds Sarah’s palm and tells her to escape the same way. Now, Sarah believes Kyle and decides to go to 2017 instead of 1997 to stop Genisys, which will eventually shut down Skynet.

What happens to John Connor?

Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Ending Explained
A still from Terminator Genisys (2015)

When Kyle and Sarah arrive in 2017, they are soon under police custody. Pops is there to save them, but he is late. Surprisingly, out of nowhere, John arrives to see Kyle and Sarah. He expresses his joy and how much he has waited for them to be together. John reveals in the moment of excitement that Kyle is his father as he is supposed to mate with Sarah. Kyle has no clue about this, and Sarah seems to be very awkward at that moment. However, Pops arrives at the scene and shoots John. Pops even grabs Kyle by his throat, and when Sarah points a gun at him, he leaves Kyle alone.

Later we see John is no longer a human as he has been transformed into T3000, using nanotechnology that converted him into a robot. Now, this transformation is done in 2029 when Kyle left John to save Sarah. And now, this transformed John has come back to 2017 to help Cyberdyne Systems with the research and development of Genisys. Basically, Skynet has turned John into a machine that will help it, making Genisys more powerful than ever. All the objectives have now changed as Sarah, Kyle, and Pops put together a resistance against John Connor, who is supposed to be a friend, but now sits on the side of the enemy.

Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Ending Explained:

Are Sarah, Kyle, and Pops able to stop Genisys from launching?

Sarah, Kyle, and Pops enter the Cyberdyne building after a prolonged fight with John, who attempts to prevent them from interfering with the Genisys launch. Inside the building, Genisys itself tries to lock Sarah and Kyle inside as a means of self-protection. Meanwhile, Pops engages in combat with John, attempting to terminate him. However, John possesses the latest nanotechnology, rendering him nearly invulnerable to damage. Nonetheless, a pivotal moment arrives when the trio attacks John simultaneously, and Pops, wearing magnetic armor, thrusts his hand through John’s chest, resisting the nanoparticles attempting to regenerate John’s body.

John Connor finally becomes defenseless, and Pops instructs Kyle to activate the magnetic field. Though Cyberdyne has already constructed a time machine that remains incomplete, the magnetic field within the machine functions flawlessly. Despite Sarah’s objections, as she anticipates that activating the field will result in Pops’ demise, Kyle activates the magnetic field. Seeking shelter inside a safe house, Sarah and Kyle witness Pops and John Connor confront their fate for the last time. Pops’ body is cast into poly-alloy, while John’s nanoparticles are torn apart within the magnetic field.

With Pops’ CPU still intact, he upgrades himself using the poly-alloy and saves both Kyle and Sarah. As the film concludes, Kyle encounters his younger self in the present timeline to ultimately close the time loop. To achieve this, Kyle must impress upon his younger self that Genisys is, in fact, Skynet, a crucial remembrance for the future. Consequently, in this timeline, they secure the future, preventing it from falling into the hands of the robots manufactured by Skynet.

Does Terminator Genisys have a Mid-Credit Scene?

Yes, in the mid-credit scene, we catch a glimpse of the devastated Cyberdyne facility. Within the epicenter of the explosion, the nanoparticles persist in attempting to coalesce and construct something new. Additionally, we witness a fleeting image of the existence of Genisys, signifying the survival of Skynet’s core despite the magnetic field blast. It hints at a future where Pops and Sarah will once again be called upon to protect the world. As for Kyle’s involvement in the upcoming events, that remains a decision to be made in the next installment.

Read More: Arnold (2023) Netflix Docuseries Review: Deep Insights about Drive, Dreams, and Success in First-person from the ‘Terminator’


Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J. K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt, Lee Byung-hun
Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Genre: Sci-fi/Action, Runtime: 2h 6m
Where to watch Terminator Genisys

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