James Cameron and Tim Miller revamp the Terminator series.
“We’re pretending the other films were a bad dream….”
— James Cameron
The first two Terminator movies are ingrained in pop culture’s bedrock. Both films raised the bar for sci-fi action films and represent legions of fans’ first taste of masterful genre cinema. 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the series’ unassailable peak, which is bad news since the franchise carried on for another 14 years, three movies, and 31 TV episodes. In 2017, Terminator is one of many vapid intellectual properties that studios dangle in front of moviegoers as they try and lure them into theaters the way It lured Georgie toward the sewer drain.
After years of awful Terminator movies, there’s only one thing Paramount can do to wipe the stink off their brand: Bring back James Cameron. That sneaky devil James Cameron is not only back onboard, he’s been back for a year working on the next Terminator movie. Cameron’s secret collaborators, Paramount, financier David Ellison of Skydance Media, and Deadpool director Tim Miller — who is set to direct— have been working together in secret with the goal of producing a film worthy of Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s legacy.
Here’s the scoop coming straight from The Hollywood Reporter:
Ellison, 34, has for the past year worked secretly with Cameron and Deadpool’s Tim Miller, who will direct the untitled sequel for a July 26, 2019, release. They assembled a writers room with scribes David Goyer, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman and Justin Rhodes as well as Ellison, a lifelong Terminator fan (Cameron himself shows up once a week), and have crafted what they want to be a trilogy with Schwarzenegger, 70, and original star Linda Hamilton, 62, passing the torch to a young female lead.
The fascinating thing about this story is how Cameron plans to deal with society’s crippling reliance/addiction to technology. The series has always dealt with humanity’s innate techno-dread but now technology and our reliance on it have evolved in ways that even science fiction couldn’t anticipate. When Cameron made his Terminator movies the concept of sentient AI was as sci-fi as the film’s laser guns, robot armies, and time travel machines. Scarier still is how eerily similar commercial drones are to Skynet’s Hunter Killers. Now, we rely on computer algorithms, self-driving cars, and curated social media feeds to make it through day-to-day life. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed by Cameron.
Cameron has always been a technological maverick who keeps one eye towards the future and you can see it in the way he integrates cutting-edge gadgets into his work. Cameron is keenly aware of the role Google, social media, and AI assistants’ play in 2017 and you can bet we’ll see their influence translated into the upcoming Terminator film. Cameron even believes that the machine uprising has already begun. Cameron stated, “People ask me: ‘Will the machines ever win against humanity?’ I say: Look around in any airport or restaurant and see how many people are on their phones. The machines have already won.”
Also noteworthy is that Cameron and Miller plan on trashing all post-Terminator 2 canon. Cameron goes as far as to class the later films as “a bad dream.” You can already book my ticket for the series’ next film but my expectations aren’t too high. The first couple Terminator movies appeal to me in two specific ways: their wow-factor and their nostalgia factor. First off, both films featured amazing practical and digital effects that audiences hadn’t seen before. It’s tough topping how it felt to see the liquid metal T-1000 in action for the first time. I also caught both films when I was young and they left a major mark on me and my love of movies, a feeling that’s almost impossible to rekindle. So what’s left? All I need from the next Terminator film is memorable characters and fun action sequences with a dash of blockbuster spectacle. Judging by this summer’s big-budget duds, I still might be hoping for too much.
You can read an edited transcript of Cameron’s interview over at The Hollywood Reporter. Look for the untitled Terminator sequel to hit theaters July 26, 2019.