Last night James Cameron unveiled his vision for the future of the Terminator franchise, revealing plans for a new trilogy of films alongside Deadpool director Tim Miller, who will be helming at least the first installment of the semi-reboot, which will ignore all the movies after Terminator 2. The biggest news revealed at the event at Paramount Studios was that both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton will be reprising their roles as the Terminator and Sarah Connor, respectively.
I was in the audience when the wide-ranging discussion with Miller and Cameron was held, and while they were quick to hype the return of the franchise’s marquee stars, there was one name conspicuously absent from the conversation: John Connor.
Played by Edward Furlong in T2, John Connor is the most important character in the Terminator mythos. The leader of the human resistance in Skynet’s post-apocalyptic future, the plots of both of Cameron’s films revolve around stopping John from living long enough to become a thorn in Skynet’s side. Arnold might’ve driven the motorcycle, but John Connor drove the plots of those movies; they literally couldn’t have happened without him.
So why, when touting the return of Sarah Connor, was there no mention of her son? Is it possible that after the events of Judgement Day John Connor is no longer the key figure of the future? It’s possible, and I’m going to use something Cameron said during the discussion to do a little speculating.
While talking about the new characters that will be introduced to the franchise, Cameron made special mention that they’re looking for “an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story.” This new female character and the characters from both present and future who surround her will be the new stars of the trilogy, with Hamilton and Schwarzenegger “passing the baton” in some way.
Now the speculation begins. Cameron and Miller said that the new movie will take place in the present day. Obviously, that’s well past the August 29th, 1997 date when Skynet was originally supposed to come online. It stands to reason then, that if there’s a new Skynet-esque future that needs to be averted, John Connor might no longer be the focal character of that future. But perhaps his daughter could be.
Assuming that the new movie comes out next year, it will have been twenty seven years since the events of Terminator 2 in 1991. John Connor was in his early teens in T2, so it’s possible for him to have an eighteen-year-old child twenty seven years later. So what if, instead of Sarah Connor’s son, the main character of this new trilogy is her granddaughter?
While I’m one of those people who desperately wants Rey not to be a Skywalker in the new Star Wars trilogy, keeping things in the family in the Terminator movies makes perfect sense to me. The themes Cameron dealt with in the first two movies are all about destiny versus fate. Is the future set in stone, or can you change what might happen? The central dramatic question of this new trilogy could fall along similar lines. Is the Connor family cursed to forever bear the burden of leading the fight against an unending array of apocalyptic futures? If they prevent one bad future, will there just be another one waiting for the next generation of Connors to confront?
I’m not a huge fan of the idea of continuing the Terminator franchise, but I will admit that I find those questions intriguing. It’s all pure speculation on my part, but if that’s the kind of line Cameron, Miller, and their collaborators are taking, it could yield compelling results.
Granted, none of that answers the question I asked in the title of this article: where’s John Connor? Even if the character doesn’t appear in the movie, his fate will have to be addressed in some fashion, and Cameron and Miller gave no hint as to what that might be.
What do you think about my theory? Do you think I’m on to something or am I a raving idiot? Sound off in the comments.