Why the Terminator reboot will be a letdown and what should really be done to save this series.

He’ll be back to disappoint you again.

The Terminator series is getting a reboot and it is expected to hit the theatres on July 26, 2019. Arnold Schwarzenegger will once again come back as the Terminator, while Linda Hamilton will be playing the role of Sarah Connor after more than twenty-five years. Besides, James Cameron is also a part of this project, although he would not be directing it. Deadpool’s Tim Miller would be the one directing it. There are rumours that this movie will be the first one of a trilogy.

After surviving through Terminator Genisys, which was a disaster in every respect, the news of a reboot with James Cameron, Arnold and Linda Hamilton in it would be something to get excited about. Well, at least the die-hard fans would be excited. After all, the last few Terminator movies never really satisfied us all. But, let us not become overly enthusiastic about this one. Right now, the movie is in its pre-production stage and they won’t be starting the shoot until 2018. Yet, Tim Miller, James Cameron, and Arnold have given us some details about the movie. Let us look at these details closely and decide about what to expect from them:

  1. James Cameron will be the executive producer as well as the creative consultant.                                                                                                                                    James-CameronThis means that he would be more or less like a mentor of the whole project. He would be the one making sure that everything is done on time, according to the prescribed standards. Also, the writers would be approaching him to get the final nod on the plot/story. He won’t be directly involved in the writing process. Most probably he will be giving just a basic outline, while the details would be left for the others to fill in. In other words, he would be a godfather of this movie. What to expect from this: Right now, James Cameron is busy with the works of the sequels of Avatar. He said that his association with the Terminator reboot will be like a weekend job for him. So, it will be safe to assume that the upcoming one will be less of a movie done by Cameron and more of a movie done by Tim Miller and his group of writers. It is not to say that Tim Miller and company will screw this one up. But, it remains a fact that all of the Terminator movies which were not done by James Cameron failed to satisfy the audience. After all, Cameron directing a Terminator sequel is the news every hardcore fan is waiting to hear. But, looking at the bright side, we have him on board in some way.
  2. This will be a sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (T2) and will ignore all the ones that came after it.                                                                                             Terminator2JudgmentDay_onesheet_final_USA-3Apparently, they want us to consider the ones which came after T2 as a bad dream. At the end of T2, Sarah Connor and John believe that they have averted the judgment day. But, a sequel means that there is still a war going on between the humans and Skynet in the future. As of now, nobody has confirmed that John Connor will be there in the movie. But, being a central character, it is safe to assume that he will be in it. Besides, Cameron has plans to make this movie into one which will be relevant to the twenty-first century. Moreover, he has also told, they will “fold time in the story in intriguing ways”. What to expect from this: Most probably the story will be happening at a time when the judgment day has not yet happened. Keeping in mind what Sarah and John went through, they won’t be interested in leading a normal life again. To be on the safe side, they will be living off-the-grid. But, as there is a hint of time travel, the characters may move back and forth in the story. Cameron talks about making this one relevant to the twenty-first century. But hey, the Terminator series is still relevant. Each time the scientific community makes some advancement in A.I, there will be jokes about how it resembles Skynet. Most importantly, Terminator Genisys dealt with the themes of giving an OS and nanobots self-awareness. That is very relevant to the present day world. Making it more relevant won’t be bringing anything new to the table. Looking at things, it seems like this movie will be a rehash of the earlier sequels, because,
  3. Arnold will be back as the Terminator.                                                                              Terminator-06292015They just can’t seem to shake Arnold off from the series, and Arnold just can’t seem to leave the series alone. We still don’t know if he will be playing a good terminator or a bad one. But, Arnold himself talked about how his character, T-800, becomes vulnerable when it has to stand against a newer technology. This hints at the T-800 being a good guy in the movie, as no action story would have a weak villain. Also, the makers have again talked about how the skin of the T-800 ages over time. This is the same reason they came up with to justify an older looking T-800 in GenisysWhat to expect from this: This gives us more reasons to believe that they will try to recycle the plots of the earlier movies. We have Sarah Connor. We have a terminator playing a good guy. We probably will have them trying to avert the judgment day or a similar event. And most probably, we will have John Connor too assisting them. Besides, they will come up with some more lame reasons to justify the presence of an old looking T-800. Moreover, the-folding-time-in-intriguing-ways comment ensures us that this one will be similar to Genisys and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Meaning, chances are high that the characters will be moving back and forth in time, making this more of a time travel movie. For a moment let us look at the genre of The Terminator and T2The Terminator was more of an action/horror/slasher film. T2 made a change in the formula and became a sci-fi thriller. Of course, time travel is a part of both these films. But, it was not the central attention. Genisys concentrated more on the time travel aspect, which it should not have, and we all know how it ended up. Bringing more time travel stuff into the plot is just an excuse for the presence of certain characters and will take away the attention from the bigger picture, which is the future war between humans and Skynet.
  4. Linda Hamilton will be back as Sarah Connor.                                                                1991_terminator_2_004After watching Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, we all really missed Linda Hamilton. Emilia’s Sarah was not even close to Linda’s Sarah. Sarah was born in 1965 and is now in her 50s and the makers have not planned to change it. They say that they want a 50 something woman to kick some major ass in the movies. What to expect from this: This is both good news as well as bad news. Linda coming back and giving back to us the Sarah we all loved is a good news. And, there are not many older/mature women handling action roles in movies. This too would be a refreshing thing to watch. But the problem is that the plot won’t be giving much room for Sarah to do anything new. I mean, the movie will have an old looking T-800. When both Sarah and the T-800 team up, it will be more or less the old-wine-in-new-bottle situation. It is impossible for Sarah to do something new with a T-800 around. What I intend to say is that, if a T-800 is around, it means that there is a larger threat around. This larger threat will probably be a villain trying to make the judgment day or a similar event happen. Well, there you have it, the old plot of T2. I agree. That is a whole lot of assumptions and guesses on my part. But, I can’t seem to come up with anything else they would be doing, given the limitations they have. It seems like bringing back Linda Hamilton is more or less like a bait. It will be more or less Sarah being a badass without a strong enough motive.

  5. There will be new characters.                                                                                     unknown-clipart-question-mark-1Right now, the makers are in the search “for an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story”. They are planning to pass the baton from Arnold and Linda to this new, young actor. Besides, there will be more new characters surrounding this 18-something character. What to expect from this: The presence of a new character is something which would bring about a freshness to the story. But, a lot depends on the proper development of the new character. In Terminator Genisys, the character of J. K. Simmons was practically wasted. Basically, Linda Hamilton and Arnold are the strongest selling points of this movie. They won’t be interested in giving the baton fully to a new character in this movie itself. Probably, they may do that in the sequels. That is if the sequels actually get made. But still, the movie can gain a lot from having a properly developed new set of characters.
  6. The movie has four writers.                                                                                                    UntitledThey are Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Charles Eglee and Justin Rhodes. David S. Goyer is known for writing the scripts of The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Blade TrilogyBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, etc. Josh Friedman is the only one among the four who has been previously associated with the Terminator series. He had written the script for The Sarah Connor Chronicles. He has also worked on the script of Avatar 2. Charles Eglee has been associated more with writing the scripts of T.V shows. He has worked on The Walking Dead, Dexter, and The Shield. On the big screen, he wrote the script for Piranha II: The Spawning. Justin Rhodes is associated with the upcoming Green Lantern Corps. What to expect from this: In one sentence, too many cooks spoil the broth. With too many writers, there will be chances of having too many themes. They will be trying to give attention to each of these themes. But, given the time constraint of a movie, the probability of properly developing all these themes is very less. The resulting movie would lack coherence. It is up to the director to knit all these themes seamlessly and bring about a coherent plot.

Looking at the above details, things do not seem to be quite good as far as the viewers are concerned. Most probably, we are going to get one more Terminator film with lots of gimmicks and baits. Hopefully, in the coming days, we may get some good news out of the blue, as the movie is still in its early days of production. In the meantime, let us look at what the series should really be doing if they want to give us a satisfying experience.

  1. Pick up from where Terminator Salvation left off.                                                        terminator_salvation_10Terminator Salvation, for the first time in the series, dealt with the events taking place after the judgment day. Right from the first movie, we were always told about the war which is happening in the future between the humans and Skynet. They never really showed us this war except in some brief flashback scenes. Terminator Salvation went in the right direction and showed us a glimpse of the future war. What went wrong was the character development. Marcus Wright was not developed well and as a result, we didn’t feel like caring about him much. Besides, John Connor and Kyle Reese were not given enough attention. They lacked the depth which they were supposed to have. But, the movie was still going in the right direction. The failure of Salvation at the box-office and some problems with the rights may be the reason they decided to go back to the old story.                                                                                                                                                                                For once, the series needs to give more attention to the themes lying in its backburner. The future war, the introduction of new characters and what lies after the said victory of the humans, are the themes the series should concentrate on. The first Terminator film was more or less about the character Terminator. Arnold became an integral part of the movies after it. His presence gives the makers an assurance as far as business is concerned. But, the big picture is not about the character Terminator. Future war is the big picture. Also, the theme of averting the judgment day is a recurring one. Concentrating on the already established characters and the theme of judgment day is not going to make things interesting for the viewers. What they need to do is increase the stakes. For this, they need to get more creative and move towards the post-apocalyptic setting. The earlier movies do talk about things happening in the future. Developing these ideas would bring about the much needed freshness to the franchise.
  2. If they can’t leave the old themes away, make a proper reboot/remake.                 the-rockInstead of coming up with lame reasons for the existence of an old looking Terminator in the movie, they can always take a risk and go for a total reboot. This means that they will have to disregard all the movies of the series and start a separate story of their own. But, it can give them an opportunity to work without too many limitations and come up with fresh concepts. What about setting a movie in the present day with Dwayne Johnson coming as the Terminator? What about deleting the characters of John and Sarah and coming up with a different set of characters who are not some messiah-like figures in the future?                                                                                                                                                                                                If they don’t want to take the risk of ignoring the earlier movies, which are classics, why don’t they come up with something like a spin-off/remake where they concentrate on some previously untold events which were happening at the same time when the events of the earlier movies were happening? For example, they can come up with some new characters and events which were taking place in 1984, the year in which the events of The Terminator took place. In the sequels, they can connect these new characters with the characters of the old story. In this way, they can even give Arnold a human character to play. After all, there has been an idea about the presence of a human character whose physical appearance is the one used by Skynet to build some of its Terminators. T3 is the movie which considered this topic. But, they edited out the scene which hinted at such a subplot. Of course, making such a spin-off/remake is feasible only if there is a strong main series of movies, to begin with. To me, making a reboot/remake will be the last option for the studios. But, it is definitely better than recycling the same plot and bringing in too much of time travel stuff.

Even though the probability of the upcoming reboot satisfying the audience is less, the fanboys will have their hopes high. It has been a long time since the fans were given a truly satisfying experience by the makers.

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