All 6 ‘Terminator’ Movies in Order (Including TV & Web Series)

Terminator watch order

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Few film and television franchises can match the ‘Terminator‘ series in terms of longevity. The franchise consists of several science fiction action films, comic books, novels, and other media, all of which revolve around a total war between Skynet’s synthetic intelligence – a self-aware military machine network – and John Connor’s Resistance forces, which are composed of the human race’s survivors.

Since founder James Cameron fled the nest, the ‘Terminator’ series has seen incredible turmoil, resulting in some catastrophic mistakes and more than one full reboot. The franchise consists of 6 movies, 1 TV series with 31 episodes across two seasons, and two web series with nine episodes.

Editor’s Note: This watch order was updated in October 2023 and presents the most up-to-date state of the franchise.

All ‘Terminator’ movies, shows & web series in release date order

‘The Terminator’ franchise started in 1984, and in the last 39 years, it has given rise to numerous forms of media, most notable being the movies. Lore was eventually expanded to include a TV show and a Web series. Here is the list of complete Terminator movies in order of release:

  1. The Terminator (1984)
  2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
  4. ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Season 1 (2008)
  5. ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Season 2 (2009)
  6. Terminator Salvation (2009)
  7. ‘Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series’ (2009)
  8. ‘Terminator Genisys’ The YouTube Chronicles (2015)
  9. Terminator Genisys (2015)
  10. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Are all ‘Terminator’ movies & shows connected? What’s the best way to watch them?

The ‘Terminator’ franchise consists of multiple movies and television shows, and while they share a central theme involving artificial intelligence and time travel, not all of them are directly connected in terms of continuity.

The main ‘Terminator’ film series, which includes movies like ‘The Terminator,’ ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day,’ ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,’ ‘Terminator Salvation,’ and ‘Terminator Genisys,’ forms a single narrative centered around the war between humans and Skynet.

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The TV series ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,’ also contributes to the franchise but exists in a separate continuity from the later films.

The most recent installment, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate,’ is a direct sequel to ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ and ignores the events of the later films. Due to everything said, the best course of action would be to watch the movies and series in their release date order. However, if you know the ‘Terminator’ universe like the back of your hand, you might enjoy a more chronological approach.

‘Terminator: Salvation: The Machinima Series’ and ‘Terminator Genisys: The YouTube Chronicles’ aren’t a huge part of the continuity and can be skipped. Especially ‘The YouTube Chronicles’ that were marketing stint created to promote the upcoming movie.

All ‘Terminator’ movies in chronological order

As we’ve mentioned already, the fact that not all installments in the franchise are directly connected makes the timeline a bit messy. Still, we organized the movies & shows in chronological order.

  1. The Terminator (1984)
  2. Terminator: Genisys (2015)
  3. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
  4. ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Season 1 (2008)
  5. ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Season 1 (2009)
  6. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
  7. ‘Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series’ (2009)
  8. Terminator: Salvation (2009)
  9. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Your viewing order should begin with ‘The Terminator’ released in 1984. ‘Terminator: Genisys’ was an attempted reboot of the franchise but in this context should be treated as an “alternate” reality that spanned after the events of the first movie. ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ then returns you to the original premise taking place in 1995.

Now this is where it becomes interesting, ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ takes place after the events of ‘Judgement Day’ in the year 1997, but completely ignores the events that happened in ‘Terminator 3′ so you can treat the show as “alternate branch’ as well. ‘Terminator 3’ takes place in 2004 and we’re back on track again. The Machinima series takes place between ‘Terminator 3’ and ‘Salvation.’

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The Universe is once again rebooted with ‘Dark Fate’ the latest installment completely ignored all “branched” timelines and should serve as a direct sequel to ‘Terminator 2’ but considering that it’s the latest installment we decided to put it off for the last place in the viewing order since too many “branched” timelines would make for one messy comprehension of the entire series.

Where to watch all the above-mentioned movies & series?

All ‘Terminator’ movies and shows can be rented on the Apple TV store. ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ and ‘Terminator Genisys’ can also be streamed on Paramoun+. ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ can be streamed on Hulu, while the YouTube promotional series can be found, well, on YouTube.

Will there be more ‘Terminator’ installments?

In 2021 Netflix announced that it’s developing a ‘Terminator’ anime series. In 2022 Cameron revealed that another reboot for the franchise is on the way that will reset the entire timeline back to square one. You know what this means, the updated version of this watcher order will be even more complicated. In any case, the ‘Terminator’ franchise will become bigger in the future.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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