The Terminator franchise has slowly been ground into a fine powder in the 26 years since T2: Judgment Day hit theaters. Every attempt to revive the series has fallen flat from a direct sequel (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) to one that ditched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminator to focus on John Connor (Terminator: Salvation) to one that attempted to be a time-hopping legacyquel (Terminator: Genisys) and each one does worse at the domestic box office than the one that came before.
Perhaps series’ creator James Cameron can reverse that trend by being involved in the latest installment in the franchise, which Tim Miller (Deadpool) will direct. The idea for the new film is that it will kick off a trilogy with Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton set to return and passing the torch to a new, young female lead. Additionally, the writers room, which includes David Goyer, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, Justin Rhodes and Skydance head David Ellison, want to focus on the A.I.-fueled anxiety we face from Amazon drones, social networks, and other current events relating to technology.
Speaking to THR, 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.”
Here’s what Cameron said two years ago about Terminator: Genisys:
“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”
You may recall that Terminator: Genisys was borderline unwatchable.
While I doubt anyone will miss the last three sequels being considered canon, I don’t know how much hope we can have for yet another reboot. It’s possible that fans are just tired of the characters and that what was previously exciting back in 1991 may no longer hold any interest to a modern audience no matter how socially relevant you make it. Genisys included a nod to our reliance on smartphones, and that didn’t make the film any better. Just because Cameron and Miller are talking to scientists who are “afraid” of A.I., that doesn’t mean anything with regards to crafting a better story and better characters.
Additionally, Miller and Cameron kind of tip their hand when they say they’re looking at this new Terminator franchise as something similar to the new Star Wars movies where they can hand the baton off to a new, younger cast. So yeah, A.I. is becoming terrifying and all that stuff, but look at how much money those Star Wars movies made:
“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.”
The upcoming Terminator film will open July 26, 2019.