I was the kind of kid who wondered what happened when the movie ended. Besides Disney's typical "everyone lived happy ever after" type of ending, I really felt that we were too often denied a proper conclusion to characters' adventures. That is especially true of horror movies, where the ending usually shows the protagonists having survived whichever horror has befallen them... and nothing more. The Final Girl steps out of the haunted house. Sometimes there's an accompanying jump scare. Sometimes not. The end. Roll credits.
That always made me unhappy. So I started imagining the continuation of these stories. From buddy cop movies involving a lot of paperwork, to the serial killer survivor having to explain why he was found with fifteen corpses in a basement, I kept thinking about what came next. Later on, as an adult, I realized that I wasn't alone. Besides fanfiction and its weird usage of the Mary Sue trope, I discovered many fans who loved to analyze, extrapolate and break down movie narratives. I've seen a multitude of articles on the internet about links between stories, movies, television shows and so on. Maybe a tad lazier than imagining the stories themselves but still very entertaining. "Do you know," one story started, "that Calvin & Hobbes makes for an excellent prequel to Fight Club?" That really spoke to me. So I started piecing movies and series together to form cohesive narratives. Sometimes details have to be skipped. Sometimes some suppositions have to be made. Still, as long as I'm enjoying myself, and others are enjoying the work as well, what's the harm? It's definitely an interesting exercise and I urge you to try it one day.
And so, as my first article on Moviepilot.com, I've wanted to tell my favorite "quilting", or what I describe as a story of man and machine and their interaction as they move towards sentience, singularity and the philosophies of what makes man... Man. Enjoy!
The following text spoils quite a lot of content about Battlestar Galactica, the Terminator franchise and the Matrix movies. You've been warned.
"All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again."
The crew of the Battlestar Galactica looks on as Leoben is sent to the airlock to be vented into space. They would hear that phrase more than once, from cylons and humans alike. Life is cyclical; everything has already been experienced. Will be experienced. Kara Thrace remembers her talks with Leoben. In another life, he said, the players were different but the story was the same. She still thinks of this as she prays to her gods for Leoben's soul. Her gods, not his. Hers are mythical figures — the Lords of Kobol — creators of all that is known in the universe. His is the one true "Cylon God"; the machine that loves all. The chosen one.
Eventually, the cylons and humans settle their differences after a hybrid is born, possessing the qualities of both races. They learn to live as one people, though the assimilation is not easy. Together, they gather their few remaining resources to find Earth, where they can settle. They find it and decide to settle, spread to all continents and mentor their descendants in the old ways. Armed with their knowledge and remaining technology, they are quickly revered. They become more than themselves, as they borrow the names of the Lords of Kobol; Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite and many more. They become gods.
Millenias pass. The embodiment of the sexes of the one Cylon God, now known by another, more Christian name, stalks the busy streets of an American city. The image of Gaius Baltar asks the image of Caprica Six, "does all of this have to happen again?" This question is answered miles away as Sarah Connor tries to evade the tenacious Cyberdyne Systems Series 800 Model 101 Terminator. In a Cyberdine factory, she witnesses as the Terminator kills her time-traveling lover and father to the future resistance leader. She manages to trap the robot and kill it with the help of a hydraulic press. Pregnant and fearing for her life, she leaves society behind to prepare for more turmoil.
Turmoil indeed appears years later. Screaming to any who would hear it that the robotic apocalypse is going to come soon, she loses her son to the government and is sent to a mental institution. There, she continues her training, unaware that another Terminator is being sent back in time to kill her now teenage son, John. Another, older model, is also sent back, having been reprogrammed by the resistance to protect their future leader. Together, they help Sarah escape the asylum and chase the Terminator. They find out that Cyberdine is still trying to create Skynet, the system that would find sentience and wage war on humanity. Moreso, the company is accelerating the process due to a piece of the original Terminator having been found. Ultimately, they defeat the evil robot but lose their robotic ally at the same time.
Twice she's survived a war between sentient machines and humanity. However, because of the behavior of the T-800 with her son, Sarah now ponders; does this have to happen again?
It does, unfortunately. Sarah dies from Leukemia years later and is survived by her son. Another Terminator is sent from the future to stop John, now an adult. Together with another reprogrammed ally, they nearly stop the new threat but incidentally cause the events leading to the war itself; they end up trapped in a nuclear fallout shelter as bombs drop over the planet. Radio transmissions with other shelters lead John to understand who is left: the future resistance itself.
Many other attempts are made to stop this from happening. We don't know for sure how are made to go back in time and fight the same war over and over again. At one point John Connor even becomes part of Skynet, in human form. What is known is that eventually, the machines win. They take over the broken planet, now covered in a permanent ash blanket from the nuclear fallout. Running out of fuel sources, they quickly reason that since humans generate electricity, they can be harvested and used as batteries. They quickly construct pods and grow humans to use them as such. Unfortunately for them, humans tend to die out quickly, due to inactivity both physically and mentally. An idea is formed; to create a virtual reality where humans can exist while being used for electricity. They tweak and reboot their system a half dozen times until they reach peak efficiency at a surprising 90% acceptance rate. One out of then humans however rejects the now called "Matrix". These are ejected from the pods so as to avoid contamination.
Some of such people survive and form a resistance in an abandoned underground city, called Zion. One such man, Morpheus — whose name comes from a mythological religious figure — believes that one of the connected humans is the Chosen One; the one true saviour. Together with other survivors and Trinity, a woman whose name refers to Christianity, they find the man, Thomas Anderson, codenamed Neo; an anagram for "One". They fight the machines and the "agents", beings that administrate the Matrix and the important, godly archetypes such as the Architect, the Merovingian and the Oracle. The humans' "one true god" Neo eventually defeats the machines, albeit temporarily. Ultimately, they realize that Agent Smith is the greater threat; sending copies upon copies of himself to attack the humans, he exposes the flaws of the Matrix and quite possibly might destroy it, as well as the reminder of humanity. After much fighting, the humans and the machines realize the only way they can survive is by taking over Agent Smith and learn to coexist. The war is over, though for how long?
The Architect meets with the Oracle one last time. "Just how long do you think this peace is going to last?" he asks her. "Just as long as it can," she replies. Indeed, how long can it take before war breaks again?
Time passes. Heroes are remembered, though perhaps not their names. As history often does, myth and truth intermingle and these characters develop into mythical figures. The name Morpheus comes up and references to Greek and Roman mythology pops-up. The colonies adopt these characters as inspiration, then as ideals, then as Gods. Their Lords of Earth. They multiply and form twelve colonies, each named by a constellation. Leonis, Virgon. Picon, Gemenon, Tauron, Canceron, Aerilon, Aquaria, Scorpia, Sagittarron, Libran... and Caprica. As humanity develops further, the machines leave the Earth in search of a more sustainable planet. The humans eventually also take to colonizing the galaxy and settle on twelve planets, starting with one they call Gemenon.
Eons pass. The Caprican military creates a robotic soldier to help in the wars being waged between colonies. This "cylon", affected by the monotheistic belief of the daughter of one of the creators, somehow spreads its religious fervor to other such machines. They develop a culture and religion in secret. A decade passes by and the cylons, slaves to humanity, rise. The warring colonies form an alliance to stop the cylon advance. This war lasts twelve years, until a group of individuals — five robots in human form — are transported into this timeline and broker a cease-fire. An armistice between humans and cylons is set. The human-looking robots manage to do this by secretly agreeing to teach these cylons to replicate themselves in human form, as they do. Forty years pass until the Fall of the Twelve Colonies; Cylons, now disguised as humans, wreak havoc on humanity. Having learned from their first war, they are able to deactivate all battlestars, due to their infiltration of all branches of government. This includes having a beautiful cylon in a red dress seduce a bumbling, arrogant scientist, Gaius Baltar, a man directly responsible for the battlestar defense codes. All battleships go down, save one; Battlestar Galactica survives due to it being more of a museum than an active battleship. Having no network, it cannot be hacked.
Along with around fifty-thousand survivors from other ships, they flee the star system as the cylons persue them. A school teacher, Laura Roslin, is elected president. A drunken Kara Thrace is taken out of the brig to board her viper ship. Gaius Baltar, now realizing that he's essentially doomed the human race, cowers in a corner. "Hush," says the blonde figure in the red dress. Whether a figment of his imagination, divine punishment or a real vision, he does not know. She bends to his ear. "All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again."