Terminator: Genisys, the upcoming fifth Terminator movie, is neither a reboot nor straight-forward sequel to previous installments, but rather a “re-imagining” of the sci-fi property. At least, that’s how the people who star in the film are selling it right now.
We now know Genisys partly takes place in an alternate timeline where certain characters are very different from their depictions in past Terminator films and TV shows – something that’s already left many fans of the series feeling concerned and/or confused. The Genisys initial promotional material rollout continues today with more tie-in images – as well as the first official screenshot featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a T-800 with an aged “bio-exoskeleton”.
It’s also now confirmed the next Terminator movie will recreate a famous scene from James Cameron’s original installment (wherein a then-36 year old Schwarzenegger played a T-800 arriving in the year 1984) via cutting-edge special effects and a body double, as has been rumored in the past.
Producer David Ellison (Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z) referred to the tools used to recreate young Schwarzenegger onscreen – an extension of the approach that was used for a scene in Terminator Salvation where a “young T-800” makes a brief appearance – as being “the holy grail of visual effects [where] you create a walking, breathing human that doesn’t exist,” when he was interviewed by EW.
Director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) likewise promised big things from Genisys, in terms of the film’s visual effects:
“Part of the challenge is to dazzle people with something they haven’t seen before. There are elements in our main villain that are straining the capacities of our brilliant visual-effects people. So that’s a good sign.”
Said “main villain” is described as a “man/machine hybrid” by EW, though additional details are firmly under lock and key until further notice. It’s the central antagonist in Genisys that’s rumored to be among the elements in the film’s script – penned by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) – that could really rub longtime Terminator fans the wrong way.
It also remains to be seen how fans take to “tweaked” versions of the already well established Terminator characters – Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), John Connor (Jason Clarke), and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) – as well as the new players, brought to life by such folk as J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who). For now, though, you can check out the Terminator: Genisys cast (plus a familiar robot on set) in the photos below (note: most of these are not official Genisys stills).
Cameron’s first two Terminator movies played on mass cultural fears and anxieties about nuclear holocaust from the Cold War. However, Ellison says that the Genisys script does, in fact, update the franchise’s social commentary/subtext to focus on the more relevant and modern concerns about cyberattacks – having told EW that “Skynet no longer has to break down our front door because we line up in front of Apple stores to invite it in. We’re constantly giving away our privacy.”
Genisys is not the only upcoming tentpole that raises warning flags about the role of technology in our lives nowadays (see also Avengers: Age of Ultron), but there is certainly potential for this new Terminator movie to tackle the material in a smart way. As for the rest of the film’s “re-imagining” of the classic Terminator mythos, well, we’re all curious to see how those changes go over…
Terminator: Genisys opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015.