In 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton starred in Terminator, which introduced us to the specter of a dark future. On Judgment Day, Cybernet, an artificially aware computer, starts a nuclear war. From that day forward, the machines ruled the earth with only a few ragtag resistance groups fighting back.
In 2029, the machines send back a "Terminator" (Schwarzenegger) — a cyborg — to kill the mother of John Connor, leader of the resistance mounting against the machines. Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is saved by Kyle Reese (Biehn), a soldier sent back to stop the Terminator. During their fight for survival against the Terminator, they fall in love and through that union, John Connor is conceived.
Directed by James Cameron, Terminator was a science-fiction stalker movie that caught moviegoers by surprise and gained worldwide notice.
In 1991, the fight against the machines continued with Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This time, a Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is sent back to protect a young John Connor (Edward Furlong). A second, more advanced Terminator (Robert Patrick), is sent back to kill John. John and his protector work together to get Sarah Connor (Hamilton) out of a mental hospital and then the trio work to stop the new, shape-shifting cyborg from killing John.
As with any good movie idea, the second movie spawned a third and in 2003 we saw Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Continuing the story, we moved further along the Terminator timeline to the days when Cybernet became self-aware and triggered nuclear holocaust. Along the way, we meet Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), John's future wife, and a more grown-up John Connor (Nick Stahl).
That brings us to May 2009, when Terminator Salvation began hitting theaters around the world. Writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris and director McG aimed to reboot the Terminator franchise and fill in the time between Judgment Day and when Kyle Reese is sent back in time to protect an unknowing Sarah Connor from the machines.
Tara Bennett's book, Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Companion, provides a closer look at the process that went into making Terminator Salvation, from pre-production through to production design, costume design, actors, stunts, cinematography and visual effects.
The book goes into a ton of detail about each phase of production, providing a wide variety of pictures and text to inform the reader about decisions, early designs, and discussions with cast and crew. Some of the imagery is striking, including an image of four different Terminator endoskeletons, from the initial T-600 of the first movie through to the time of Terminator Salvation. The many storyboards scattered throughout the book are also very helpful as you see the progression from early thoughts to finished product.