'Terminator Salvation' Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

After reading this, you'll know more than Skynet.

Twenty-five years ago, a little-known actor named Arnold Schwarzenegger promised, "I'll be back." Now, a quarter-century later, his T-800 has indeed returned alongside some of the hottest actors in Hollywood.

And while a ticket and a bucket of popcorn are necessities as you head out to see "Terminator Salvation" this weekend, so is a firm grasp on all the minutiae behind the making of Hollywood's newest blockbuster. With that in mind, we once again present our patented MTV Cheat Sheet, filled with everything you need to know about [movie id="347265"]"Terminator Salvation."[/movie]

The Salvation of 'Terminator'
Talk of a fourth "Terminator" film dates all the way back to 1999, when "Rise of the Machines" was envisioned as one of two new films that would revive the franchise. As that poorly received film came to stand alone in 2003, however, and series star Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California, the battle between humans and Skynet would take a half-decade sabbatical. "Charlie's Angels" director McG eventually signed on, and the film's production blitz launched with the cast visiting Comic-Con last July.

We found dirt, darkness and devouring robots when we visited the New Mexico set around that same time, and a few months later McG would give us a special screening of footage from the movie, attempting to soothe the skeptics. We learned that Anton Yelchin was [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/262376/i-looked-a-lot-at-t1.jhtml#id=1591852"]watching a lot of the original "Terminator" film[/url] to prepare himself to play Kyle Reese, and that the movie was going to be [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/262365/its-our-intention-to-dedicate-this-film-to-the-memory-of-stan-winston.jhtml#id=1591852"]dedicated to the memory of the legendary Stan Winston[/url].

The Secrets
Everywhere we turned, it seemed "Salvation" had more secrets than Skynet itself. When Linda Hamilton was chosen as a finalist for our Movie Badasses of All Time survey, she returned the favor by revealing that she was in negotiations to bring Sarah Connor's presence into the new film via a series of tape recordings left for John.

After months of speculation, Terry Crews finally confirmed Arnold Schwarzenegger's cameo in the film — which is pretty funny, since Crews himself is no longer in "Salvation." Even stranger is the barely there storyline that has Bryce Dallas Howard's Kate Connor preggers, but doesn't acknowledge it in the film — an oddity that McG says will be explained in future sequels.

We learned that Common was not only starring in the movie but writing a song for its soundtrack — another strange revelation since the chart-topping rapper's song is nowhere to be found in the flick or on the album. We also [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/342632/terminator-salvation-at-toy-fair.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]invaded the Toy Fair earlier this year[/url], uncovering some big plot details.

The Scandals
Do you want us to go f---ing trash your lights? Then you might want to quietly look back on one of the year's most outrageous scandals, which had Christian Bale exploding on "Salvation" director of photography Shane Hurlbut. The rant became infectious as it spread across the Web, forcing Bale to admit he was embarrassed by it. McG originally dismissed the many YouTube videos as no big deal, but told us earlier this week that he blames himself for the whole mess.

The Stars
Christian Bale takes over the John Connor role from Nick Stahl, who said at the time of the casting that he didn't "have much interest" in the franchise anymore. Josh Brolin almost played the main role of Marcus Wright, a part that eventually went to James Cameron-protégé Sam Worthington. Self-professed geek Bryce Dallas Howard follows up her "Spider-Man" notoriety with a pivotal role as Kate Connor. Anton Yelchin steps in as the legendary Kyle Reese, just weeks after he helped reboot the "Star Trek" franchise.

The Spectacle
[url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movie-trailers/259419/terminator-salvation.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]The first "Salvation" trailer[/url] offered us a glorious glimpse at the post-Judgment Day world populated with massive explosions, killer robots and a grunting Christian Bale. A later trailer focused heavily on Worthington's Marcus Wright — and naturally, we gave it our patented shot-by-shot treatment.

Then there was [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/christian-bale-moon-bloodgood-more-at-the-terminator-salvation-hollywood-premiere/1611464/3876641/photo.jhtml"]the recent Hollywood premiere[/url], which brought out all the big stars.

The Strange
Believe it or not, McG's take on John Connor was inspired by ... Jesus? None other than DC comics decided to get into the "Terminator" business, and IDW Publishing gave us cool "Salvation" prequel comic. And if you've ever wondered what beverage refreshes John Connor as he mows down armies of T-600s, you might want to head over to your local post-apocalyptic 7-11 for a Slurpee.

The Visions
If, after all these months, you're on the fence about whether you should see "Salvation," we have plenty of eye-popping clips to give you a taste of what awaits. Classic fans will enjoy [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/392612/come-with-me-if-you-want-to-live.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]"Come With Me If You Want To Live,"[/url] while newbies might ask [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/393053/exclusive-whats-a-t-800.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]"What's A T-800?"[/url] We learn about the mysterious Marcus when [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/393055/exclusive-he-stepped-on-a-landmine.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]he steps on a landmine[/url], and even more about him [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/392615/marcus-wright-meets-blair-williams.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]when he meets Blair Williams[/url]. John Connor is in full force as he [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/392616/john-connor-addresses-the-resistance.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]addresses the resistance[/url], learns that [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/392620/skynet-machines-have-an-off-switch.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]Skynet machines have an off switch[/url], and that [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/392623/antibiotics-are-hard-to-come-by.jhtml#movieId=1591191"]antibiotics are hard to come by[/url].

Don't forget to take a journey back with us to Comic-Con, where [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/262364/that-future-is-here-now.jhtml#id=1591852"]McG[/url] and [url id="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/262363/you-get-into-the-world-of-skynet.jhtml#id=1591852"]Sam Worthington[/url] gave valuable insights into the making of the film. And finally, [url id="http://www.mtv.com/photos/the-art-of-terminator-salvation/1610054/3840709/photo.jhtml"]check out this beautiful art from the film[/url], then head to your local theater and see if McG got it onto the big screen.

The Future
As "Terminator" fans know, this series is all about the future of our species. And if McG's comments are any indication, humanity has at least two more films to look forward to. With any luck, they'll arrive before the killer robots do.

Check out everything we've got on "Terminator Salvation."

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