A cybernetic killing machine sent back in time from an apocalyptic future to ensure that machines remain dominant over what’s left of the human race. Wow. That basic premise should really have been able to spawn a handful of great movies at least.
A handful of movies it did spawn and a TV series, the only problem was that after the first sequel, it all started to go downhill, including the TV series. The higher the number of the sequel, the worse it was.
James Cameron has been talking a lot of late about his planned Avatar sequels – all 30 of them, or whatever ridiculous number he’s up to now – and now he’s been talking about rebooting the Terminator franchise as well. He is going to be a busy bunny.
To recap, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) saw Skynet being created by the military instead following Cyberdyne being more or less destroyed. This time an attractive female infiltration unit with an adjustable bust and built-in flamethrower was sent back to ensure every human was annihilated. Terminator Salvation (2009) provided a look at the actual war, taking place day to day, on the scorched remains of the Earth’s surface. This was the first to skew off with a ludicrous tangent in the form of cyborg-with-a-soft-side Marcus Wright. Then it just got silly. Terminator Genisys (2015) saw Arnold Schwarzenegger reappear as the T-800-that-always-turns-up in a plot so absurd that we can’t write about it here. Partly because we can’t bring ourselves to, but mostly because we’ve never watched it to the end.
It’s that bad.
Oddly, in a Terminator Genisys featurette Cameron had this to say, “I start to see things I recognize. It’s being very respectful of first two films. Then all of the sudden, it just swerves. And now I’m going on a journey. I feel like the franchise has been reinvigorated, like this is a renaissance.”
And while we ponder what movie he was watching – ’cause it sure don’t sound like Genisys – ponder this too; Tim Miller (Deadpool) is set to direct (yay) and the idea for the new film is that it will kick off a trilogy with Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton set to return (oh dear) and pass the torch to a new, young female lead. Additionally, the writers room, which includes David S. Goyer (Man of Steel), Charles Eglee (Dark Angel), Josh Friedman (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Skydance head David Ellison, want to focus on the AI-fueled anxiety we have from drones, social networks, the iPhone 8 and other current issues relating to technology.
Cameron crafted the story and both he and Miller are planning a new trilogy that can serve as either a series of standalone movies or a story arc. This is the first time Cameron has been directly involved in a new Terminator movie since Judgment Day, so it’s a pretty big deal.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron says that the upcoming trilogy will ignore everything that came after T2, referring to those movies as a “bad dream”.
“This is a continuation of the story from Terminator 1 and Terminator 2. And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream. Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse. This was really driven more by [Tim] than anybody, surprisingly, because I came in pretty agnostic about where we took it. The only thing I insisted on was that we somehow revamp it and reinvent it for the 21st century.”
“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters. We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it. Somewhere across there, and I won’t say where, the baton gets passed, so to speak,” Cameron said.
Apparently, the upcoming Terminator film will open July 26, 2019.