Admitting the series needs a fix is step one.
Hollywood loves taking once popular franchises and milking them for all they’re worth. To be fair, I can see the logic behind the strategy. If a studio is going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into a new film, the safe bet is to put their money behind a title that already holds some sway with fans. The problem is that some films are so exciting, well-crafted, and of the moment that any sort of spinoff, sequel, or reboot feels like a major let down. Recently, word got out that a new Terminator movie is coming down the pipeline and fans greeted the announcement with a collective yawn. The series has been on a downward trajectory since it’s 1991 high-point, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But now, Mr. T-800 himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has spoken out to reassure fans that the next film will “fix” the franchise.
While out promoting his new film, Killing Gunther, Schwarzenegger spoke to Business Insider about why fans can look forward to the next Terminator film.
I think the T-800 model is a really interesting character. He’s a machine, can be destructive, can do things human beings can’t do, but at the same time when newer technology comes along the character suddenly is vulnerable and that makes him even more interesting.
Few things in films are as boring as an overpowered hero/heroine and one of the joys of Terminator 2: Judgment Day was watching a nearly indestructible killing machine like the T-800 come to grips with fighting the technically superior T-1000. Plus, we naturally root for the underdogs and it’s tough not to pull for a machine that is fighting to survive after it’s been rendered obsolete.
Schwarzenegger believes that the series’ confusing time travel plots made it difficult to craft decent Terminator movies. He said, “It’s hard to come up with new ideas when you stay within that framework.” His statement makes sense as the latter Terminator installments felt boxed in by the formula (and timeline) established in the first two movies. One of the best aspects of the TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was how its episodic structure allowed the story room to breath while still working towards the franchise’s major plot beats. And now it sounds like the new film will focus on character first; plot second.
I think [James] Cameron and Tim [Miller] came up with a concept where they can continue on with the T-800 but make a whole new movie. What they are doing now with this one is basically to just take a few very basic characters, like Linda Hamilton’s character and my character, and dismiss everything else. Just move away from all these rules of the timeline and other characters.
Look, unless you’re Josh Trank, actors and directors aren’t going to come out and say that their new movie is a flaming turd but I’m still encouraged by what Schwarzenegger had to say. With Tim Miller signed on to direct and James Cameron contributing behind the scenes, there was already reason to be optimistic about the new movie. Schwarzenegger acknowledging what’s gone wrong with past films and stating how the series will correct these issues is just the icing on the cake. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the new Terminator movie until it hits theaters on July 26, 2019.