After the success of The Terminator, most of the titles of the franchise have followed the "Terminator: subtitle" template. Examples include:

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Terminator: War of the Machines
  • Terminator: Rampage
  • Terminator: Future Shock
  • Terminator: Dawn of Fate

Then we have Terminator Salvation. What is the significance of the missing colon?

  • 1
    The much more interesting question would be, what "Terminator Salvation" actually means (as I for myself don't really know), but maybe this will get answered here as a by-product.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 12:31
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    @ChristianRau ... Terminator Salvation refers to Marcus' redemption in helping the human race against the machines even though he is one. Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 12:38
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    Originally the titel was: Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins - Btw, the german title does have a colon Terminator: Die Erlösung
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 12:01
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    @Oliver_C Yet strangely enough the German versions of the previous movies don't have a colon (probably because of cultural differences in marking subtitles, but why the colon in Salvation then instead of a "-"?).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 9:52
  • 1
    @ChristianRau - Maybe different distribution companies? German titles for foreign films can range from odd to downright wrong, e.g. 'Quigley Down Under' became 'Quigley der Australier' (= Quigley the Australian), but Quigley is actually American(!)
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Nov 3, 2013 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


This is because in T2 & T3, what was listed after Terminator # was a tag line, so requires a colon. With Terminator Salvation it is a single title. You can see it here in the movie posters:

Terminator 2: Judgement Day from Google Images

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines from Google Images

And here with Terminator Salvation you can see it is not a tag line:

Terminator Salvation from Google Images

  • 2
    This even seems to be supported by the fact, that it didn't have a sequel number either. While the two previous movies still make sense without the tagline, this doesn't work with Terminator Salvation. (Ok, it doesn't work with the TV-show and the other listed things I've never heard of, but well.)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 12:22
  • 3
    @KeyBrdBasher Also true. The more important question would be why it wasn't a tagline (if it wasn't) and what the title actually means at all, anyway.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 12:25
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    @Paulster2 Yet Marcus wasn't a Terminator in the actual sense, but nevermind.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 12:48
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    Actually, my question clearly states that the original titles follow a "title: subtitle" template and wonders why Terminator Salvation doesn't. Providing an answer which essentially states that this is because Salvation is not a subtitle is simply being pedantic as that is largely self-evident. The producers have chosen to retain the template, but not quite, as they want to make the title more than what it seems to be. Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 12:41
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    Like I said ... reading way too much into what is actually just a title. I'm glad you feel your question is ostentatious. Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 13:38

One possibility might also be that the producers wanted to emphasize the fact that they were starting something new. Terminator Salvation was the first movie to be set in the future war against the machines instead of the present with the classic time-travel context and it was also initially planned to start a new trilogy (most probably set entirely in the future).

So in order to emphasize those aspects and distinguishing it from the previous movies, that title change might have been a conscious decision and might have been followed through in future upcoming sequels to it (which don't seem too likely anymore, though, given the reboot planned for 2015).


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