Attempts to extend the “Terminator” franchise are the repeal-and-replace of Hollywood. Nobody wants them, they keep failing spectacularly, and yet people keep trying. Obviously we’re not counting James Cameron’s own “T2: Judgement Day,” one of the few truly great sequels, and the TV series wasn’t half-bad, but “Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines,” “Terminator: Salvation” and “Terminator: Genisys” all promised the world, and all sucked incredibly hard.
But, like a T-1000 being blasted with a shotgun, the franchise just keeps coming, and work is now underway on a fourth attempt, which will reuniteArnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, with James Cameron producing, the first time he’s been directly involved since the first film (though he’ll mostly be off directing the “Avatar” sequels), and “Deadpool” helmer Tim Miller stepping into the shoes of, uh, Jonathan Mostow, McG and *checks IMBD* Alan Taylor. And in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter about the new movie, the two men suggest that they won’t be attempting to reconcile the series’ tortured chronology.
“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2,’ Cameron says. “And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream. Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.” It’s not surprising — in fact, it more or less backs up what Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently about ‘Genisys’ essentially being ignored, a shame for the one person who wanted to know how that film’s cliffhanger would be resolved.
Elsewhere, the duo, who seem to be fast friends, talk about how one of the reasons they believe another movie can work is the way that AI in the real world is fast catching up with Cameron’s Skynet. “One of the scientists we just met with recently,” Cameron told the trade, “she said ‘I used to be really, really optimistic, but now I’m just scared.’ Her position on it is probably that we can’t control this. It has more to do with human nature. Putin recently said that the nation that perfects AI will dominate or conquer the world. So that pretty much sets the stage for “We wouldn’t have done it, but now those guys are doing it, so now we have to do it and beat them to the punch.” So now everybody’s got the justification to essentially weaponize AI.”
Cameron also discusses the process of luring back Hamilton, the star of his two films in the franchise, and awkwardly, also his ex-wife. “Jim was fucking terrified,” Miller jokes. “I was,” Cameron confirms. “It took me a week just to get up the nerve. No, that’s not true. Linda and I have a great relationship. We’ve stayed friends through the thick and thin of it all. And she is the mother of my eldest daughter. So I called her up, and I said: ‘Look, we could rest on our laurels. It’s ours to lose, in a sense. We created this thing several decades ago. But, here’s what can be really cool. You can come back and show everybody how it’s done.’ Because in my mind, it hasn’t been done a whole lot since the way she did it back in ’91.”
It’s all promising enough, and we’d love to be proven wrong that the franchise is exhausted, but we have been here before, with the creative teams of each new “Terminator” movie denouncing the previous entry, and then making things, if anything, worse. That said, Cameron’s involvement is the thing that could change things: given his near-perfect hit-rate, few would bet against him at this point. Coincidentally, or not, the untitled new movie just landed a release date: it’ll open on July 26th, 2019, a week after “The Lion King” remake and a week before an untitled WB blockbuster that could be a DC movie of some kind.