While I may be on record saying that I think the Terminator franchise does not need to be continued, that decision isn’t up to me. There’s going to be more Terminator, and tonight at a special event at Paramount Studios that I was lucky enough to attend (hosted by The Hollywood Reporter), the future of the franchise was revealed. James Cameron, the writer, producer and director of the first to movies, took to the stage with Deadpool director Tim Miller to lay out their plans for a new trilogy of Terminator movies.
The biggest news out of the event, which was originally reported by THR, is that Miller is officially directing the still-untitled film, and that not only would Arnold Schwarzenegger be returning to play the Terminator yet again, but Linda Hamilton would be returning to the franchise for the first time since Judgement Day to reprise the role of Sarah Connor.
While Cameron and Miller were understandably mum on plot details, they did talk a little bit about the general situation of the new film. First and foremost, this movie is a direct sequel to T2, ignoring the existence of the three movies that were made after Cameron lost control of the franchise. Just as 27 years will have passed since T2 by the time this movie hits theaters, the same amount of time will have passed in the film. Miller both spoke excitedly about revisiting Sarah Connor after so much time, seeing how she’s dealt with the repercussions of her actions in Judgement Day. Cameron mentioned his own excitement at brining Sarah back as well, noting that while plenty over 50 male actors continue to appear as action stars, women aren’t really afforded the same opportunity, so he looked forward to Hamilton providing that representation.
Schwarzenegger is the perfect example of what Cameron was referencing: when this new Terminator comes out Arnold will be 71. Miller and Cameron said the weren’t going to rely on digital wizardry to de-age Arnold, but instead found a way to embrace his age in the story. What exactly that means they didn’t say, but they made it sound like it would be different from how an older-looking Arnold was used in Terminator Genisys.
In addition to Hamilton and Schwarzenegger, the new film will also introduce a cadre of new characters. Cameron said they are “starting a search for an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story” who will in some way have the narrative baton passed to her, in much the same way that Star Wars brought in Rey and a younger generation of characters to carry the bulk of the story while the legacy characters play more of a supporting role.
That will no doubt factor into the three-film plan Cameron has for his new Terminator story. He said that at the beginning of this year he put together a writer’s room, comprised of Dark Knight scribe David Goyer and his writing partner Justin Rhodes; Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman; and Charles Eglee, who co-created the TV show Dark Angel with Cameron. Over the course of a few months these writers, along with Miller, Cameron, and Skydance producer David Ellison charted out a new story that would span three films, while also making sure each individual installment stood on its own. Time will tell if that turns out to be true.
There was a lot more that Miller and Cameron talked about, which we’ll dig into in depth tomorrow, but those are the basics. As a certified skeptic of the need to continue making Terminator movies, I will say that the two men said all the right things regarding their motivations for trying to resurrect the ailing franchise, and the ideas they have for how to pull it off. The only way we’ll know if they’re successful, of course, is to see the movie when it comes out. Until then we can only hope that the future of the Terminator franchise is bright, and not post-apocalyptic.