James Cameron Isn’t Planning Just One New Terminator Film, He’s Planning a Trilogy

James Cameron is busy trying to make four Avatar sequels but he just revealed he has a Terminator trilogy in the works as well.

The franchise has been a wild ride. We started with The Terminator (1984), then we got the outstanding sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and the over-the-top Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). We had a soft reboot in Terminator Salvation (2009), then the excellent television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009), and another kind of reboot with Terminator Genisys (2015). In 2013 there was another TV show in the works from Skydance, Annapurna Pictures, Ashley Miller, and Zack Stentz that was said to tie into Genisys in some way but it never fully developed.

The news of Cameron looking to make more films in the franchise isn’t new. Back in January there were reports of him enlisting Deadpool director Tim Miller. Speaking to Screen International this year, star Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “It is moving forward. [Cameron] has some good ideas of how to continue with the franchise. I will be in the movie.”

Speaking to news.com.au, Cameron gave a bit of an update:

‘The question is — has the franchise run its course or can it be freshened up?,’ says Cameron. ‘Can it still have relevance now where so much of our world is catching up to what was science fiction in the first two films. We live in a world of predator drones and surveillance and big data and emergent AI (artificial intelligence).

So I am in discussions with David Ellison, who is the current rights holder globally for the Terminator franchise and the rights in the US market revert to me under US copyright law in a year and a half so he and I are talking about what we can do. Right now we are leaning toward doing a three-film arc and reinventing it.’

‘We’ll put more meat on the bones if we get past the next couple of hurdles as and when we announce that.’

If he really wants to reinvent, which I honestly think is the only way to move forward at this point, I think he should steer clear of using Schwarzenegger. The two are longtime friends so I could see why he’d want to include him but holding onto the past isn’t always the best decision. The canon feels like a Gordian Knot at this point anyway. Personally I’d love to see him pick up from where the TV show left off but I’d be just as happy to wipe the entire slate clean.

After stepping back from the franchise he helped create with Gale Anne Hurd, Cameron has been waiting to get the rights back in 2019. From their January report on the Miller talks, Deadline explains what happened there:

David Ellison, whose Skydance co-financed Terminator Genisys, is bankrolling an exploratory effort that includes engaging some top-flight science fiction authors to find the movie creatively. Ellison still holds many Terminator rights, after his 2013 acquisition from sister and Annapurna principal Megan Ellison. She bought them in 2011 at Cannes for $20 million.

This is the latest development in an ongoing saga. Indeed, The Terminator might have endured the craziest road of any billion-dollar movie franchise, going back to when Cameron — who only had Piranha 2 under his belt as director — sold rights to his scripted project for $1 to producer Gale Anne Hurd, with the stipulation he could not be fired as director. The result was a 1984 sci-fi classic that launched his star and that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cameron came back and topped himself to write and direct he blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but he washed his hands of the property after that. He mentioned to producers Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna his plans to buy the rights back from Carolco bankruptcy. They beat him to the punch, figuring he would still participate, but Cameron responded by walking away. He didn’t participate in the three films that followed, or the TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The rights ended up with Pacificor, which paid $29.5 million, and Megan Ellison bought them after that company floundered.

There’s a re-release of Terminator 2 on the way to theaters, in 3D, August 25th and a new 4K home release planned from Lionsgate. The EndoArm Limited Collector’s Edition will sell for $174.99 and include a Life-sized Terminator arm with a numbered sticker featuring the signature of Cameron. The special features are set to include a new 55-minute documentary.

(via Geeks of Doom)

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  • Zefram Mann

    I have the unnerving feeling that Cameron is going to join the ranks of George Lucas and Peter Jackson in creators who’ve gone back and ruined their own works.

  • Howard_Bannister

    …something brand-new is the only way forward.

    I love T2. Watching the director’s commentary is just transcendent.

    Planning it as a trilogy? Doesn’t fill me with joy.