Re: the TIMELINE thread
^ Love timeline debates. So here goes...
Question: Would you agree that for every possible timeline that becomes affected by someone or something altering the past that there must have been a first time that the timeline played out at least up to the point where the thing from the future was sent back to the point in the past?
For example, in the movie Looper (which was almost good as far as how they handled the timeline, until they started contradicting themselves) Bruce Willis' character went through the first iteraction of the timeline. He closed his loop, retired, met a woman, fell in love and lived his life. In this timeline the only thing that we saw changing in the past, as far as Bruce Willis' character, was him popping into existence in the "present", being automatically gunned down by Bruce Willis' character's younger self, and that's it. That's how the loops get closed. So presumedly we can believe that young Joe (that's Bruce's character) grew up, fell in love, then got pikced up by the mob, sent back in time so his younger self could kill him and close the loop. Done, great!
But then we are shown older Joe being picked up by the mob dudes, who kill Joe's wife. Joe gets a bit mad at this and takes those guys out right before they could send him back to have his loop closed. He goes back in the hopes of changing the timeline so his wife won't be killed. Travels back, pops into existence, prevents his younger self from killing him, and boom, new timeline, right?
But wait a second...
In the original timeline old Joe just gets captured, sent back, and his loop closed. So why now does his wife get killed and he revolt, when we've already been shown that he goe back shackled in the first timeline? My only answer is that something else changed the past so the timeline with old Joe going back and preventing young Joe from killing him is different than the first one.
But the point is that there had to be a first timeline that ran through with the first iteration of events.
That's where Terminator was flawed. The original timeline had a character that couldn't exist yet. The only way John Connor could be born is if the humans sent Reese back in time and they only did that because the machines sent a Terminator back in time and the machines only did that to kill John Connor's mother, but she only became John Connor's mother because Reese was sent back, but Reese was only sent back to stop the Terminator that was sent back to kill John Connor's mother, but she only became John Connor's mother because Reese was sent back, but Reese was only sent back to stop the Terminator that was sent back to kill John Connor's mother, but she only became John Connor's mother because Reese was sent back, but Reese was only sent back to stop the Terminator that was sent back to kill John Connor's mother...
See the problem?
If you logically look at any timeline story there had to first be an original timeline that played out, at least up to the point where someone or something was sent back to change the past. From that moment on the original timeline would either:
1. Cease to exist, possibly being replaced by a new reality (changing around people).
2. Continue to play out as if the historical events were locked.
3. And/or would create an alternate timeline where the events of the changed past effect a whole new reality.
I think the area where your logic has issues is when you write:
"From Reese's pov he has already been sent back in time, but from the timeline's pov he hasn't been, so it's fine that John Connor hasn't been born yet."
But that's not accurate. In the original timeline you can't have the John Connor without first having John Connor. There has to be cause and effect. Now if they didn't make Reese John's father this would have worked (possibly), because there could have still been a John Connor in the original timeline that would grow up to become the leader, which would force the machines to send the Terminator back, which would force the humans to send Reese back to protect Sara; but still you may have had John either way. The difference is how Sara was affected and how that affected John's life, but that's similar to the first issue of having John anyway.
See I'm actually not looking at this from the point of view of the time travelor. I'm looking at it from the point of view of the timeline, starting where you have to start, the original timeline. In the case of Terminator, in the very first timeline, the original, there would never have been a John Connor, and without him everything else would not have happened. Likely the machines would have won and mankind is gone. The end...
But that doesn't make a good movie!