Evolution of the Terminator: From T-1 through T-1 Million

Terminator Week


There have been a LOT of Terminator models featured in the movies, TV show, games and rides. Sure, it’s primarily about the T-800 model that Arnold Schwarzenegger plays. But there have been lots of other models that pop up at least briefly. The below list attempts to place them in the storyline chronological order (which, due to time travel, probably means some of the stories could mean some of these didn’t exist). There are two sets of Terminators. Hunter Killer (HK) models, which are non-humanoid, and the humanoid Terminators. We’re going to skip most of the HK models because they are all invented by Skynet and show up in the background of any scenes set during the Future War. It’s nearly impossible to know whether, say, a Hydrobot came before or after a Moto-Terminator. Instead, we’ll track the progression of what became the T-800 and beyond. Minor spoilers if you haven’t seen one of the 5 movies or TV show, but nothing plot specific.

Model: T-1

T-1 terminator

Seen in: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Created by: Cyber Research Systems

Shows the origins of both the humanoid Terminators and the HK tanks. It’s a drone with very limited AI.

Model: T-20

t-20 terminator

Seen in: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines novelization

Created by: Cyber Research Systems

A service robot closely modeled on the T-1.

Model: T-70

t-70 terminator

Seen in: T2 3-D: Battle Across Time

Created by: Cyberdyne

An early humanoid Terminator built by Cyberdyne and controlled by Skynet as a drone-like footsoldier to guard itself.

Model: T-400

t-400 terminator

Seen in: Terminator: Dawn of Fate video game

Created by: Skynet

Built by Skynet as an early step into humanoid shaped soldiers, but manufactured out of cheap materials (and without a flesh covering of any kind) to be independent battlefield soldiers.

Model: T-500

t-500 terminator

Seen in: Terminator: Dawn of Fate video game

Created by: Skynet

A more durable version of their T-400 and the preferred footsoldier of Skynet until they developed humanoid inflitrators.

Model: T-600

t-600 terminator

Seen in: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode “Dungeons & Dragons” (season 1), “Today is the Day, Part 1” (season 2), Terminator Salvation

Created by: Skynet

The first Terminators to be given a humanoid disguise, which was made of rubber. They were tall, strong, and armed with a minigun. Their endoskeleton was made from a titanium alloy. Not convincing at close distances. Powerful but slow and weak from behind.

Model: T-700

t-700 terminator

Seen in: Terminator Salvation

Created by: Skynet

These models were the stepping stone to the T-800. We see one in Terminator Salvation in the final act. It has the appearance of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger but it is a drone controlled by Skynet, not a truly independent Terminator.

Model: T-800

terminator pepsi

Seen in: Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, T2 3-D: Battle Across Time

Created by: Skynet

These are the models we are all most familiar with. The first Terminator we see in the first movie is a T-800. So is the one that has been reprogrammed by the Resistance to protect young John Connor in T2 (and the 3D ride).

Model: T-850

t-850 terminator

Seen in: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Created by: Skynet

Technically, the model seen in Terminator 3 is not a T-800 model, but a T-850. While the tissue overlay and the endoskeleton look similar to the T-800, it is upgraded in several ways. Its endoskeleton is more resistant to plasma weapons, it has subroutines on human psychology, its tissue regenerates faster, and it is powered by two hydrogen power cells which make the endoskeleton stronger and longer-lived than the T-800s nuclear-powered Iridium cells.

Model: T-888

t-888 terminator

Seen in: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Created by: Skynet

Stronger, faster, and more resistant to damage than the T-800 model but possesses a similar-looking endoskeleton. Came in many different skin sheaths. If knocked offline, it could reboot itself within two minutes. If its head was separated from the body, it could still control the body by remote. Could only truly be destroyed by removing or destroying its main CPU in the head.

Model: T-900

t-900 terminator

Seen in: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Created by: Skynet

The T-900 series was designed as an inflitrator, similar to the T-800 series but was also built to terminate rogue Terminators. It had an endoskeleton built from a stronger alloy, Coltan. Smaller in mass means not quite as strong as the T-800 series. Much smarter and has the deepest programming routines to effectively blend in with humans.

Model: T-1000

t-1000 terminator

Seen in: Terminator 2: Judgement Day, T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Terminator Genisys

Created by: Skynet

Instead of an endoskeleton with a skin sheath, this Terminator was made of a polymimetic alloy that allowed the Terminator to change shape. It could assume anything of equal mass, most commonly duplicating humans it encountered to blend in. It has also taken the form of a floor to hide. Could fashion its body into hooks, blades and stabbing implements but could not form complex machinery. The T-1001 (Weaver in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) was a slight update that allowed it to separate a portion of itself and allow it to function independently. Because they could make decisions independent of Skynet, they were never mass-produced. Vulnerable to extreme temperatures and some corrosives, but regular weapons can only slow it down at best.

Model: T-X

t-x terminator

Seen in: Terminator: Rise of the Machines

Created by: Skynet

A polymimetic alloy over an endoskeleton. The endoskeleton is an updated version of the T-900 so it is slightly smaller in mass, but each arm houses weaponry (a plasma cannon and a flamethrower). The polymimetic alloy that covers it increases its strength and allows it to shape shift its human form but it cannot change its overall shape like the T-1000 can. Because its cover is an alloy and not skin, it cannot sweat or bleed so it cannot blend in as well as a T-800 series.

Model: T-H (Hybrid)

t-h terminator

Seen in: Terminator Salvation

Created by: Cyberdyne Systems Genetics Division, Skynet

Originally started by Cyberdyne as an experiment to improve people with injuries, using prisoners’ bodies which they had donated to science, it was later co-opted by Skynet to essentially create a human/Terminator hybrid. A human with their brain and heart and skin and an endoskeleton beneath. A chip enabled Skynet to witness everything the human did as a type of unknowing infiltrator, and to take control of the endoskeleton remotely. The endoskeleton granted enhanced strength and speed and durability on par with the T-800 Terminators. The chip was not perfected and Skynet did not have full control of the T-H.

Model: T-3000

t-3000 terminator

Seen in: Terminator Genisys

Created by: Skynet

Essentially a hybrid with the polymimetic alloy.

Model: T-5000

skynet core

Sorry, showing the T-5000 would be a spoiler of sorts, so here’s an image of the Skynet core instead.

Seen in: Terminator Genisys

Created by: Skynet

It IS Skynet, in physical form. Abilities and design unknown, although it appears to be able to infect humans and transform them.

Model: T1000000 (aka T-Meg)

t-meg terminator

Seen in: T2 3-D: Battle Across Time

Created by: Skynet

A massive version of the T1000. Composed entirely of polymimetic alloy and designed to protect Skynet’s core processor. It takes the form of a massive arachnid in its sole appearance.