A fifth Terminator movie has been heavily rumored over the past three years, but now the project is finally coming together. The film seemingly began as a more straight-forward sequel with Justin Lin (Fast Five) directing, but a lot has (apparently) changed since then – with the project having been overhauled to serve as a reboot – one which may be titled Terminator: Genesis – of the 1980s-born sci-fi franchise, with Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) calling the shots instead.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been attached to reprise his iconic Terminator role in the reboot as a futuristic killing machine with an “organic exoskeleton,” despite the actor being 66 years old now. Over the past few months, the rest of the main cast have progressively been filled out, with Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke set as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) tapped to play John Connor, and the shortlist of actors to play Kyle Reese having very recently narrowed down to two candidates.
Variety is reporting that Jai Courtney has secured the last remaining key role in the Terminator reboot (i.e. Reese), after Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions – which are funding the project – looked at several other possible actor choices, including Hatfields & McCoys costars Boyd Holbrook and Sam Reid. However, it was ultimately the Spartacus TV series alum who secured the role, as was first brought to life thirty years ago by Michael Biehn in James Cameron’s original cult hit Terminator movie in 1984.
Courtney has done solid work as a supporting player in films like Tom Cruise’s pulpy action vehicle Jack Reacher and the supernatural comic book movie adaptation I, Frankenstein, though his leading role in A Good Day to Die Hard – where he played the grown-up son of Bruce Willis’ John McClane – didn’t do a whole lot to bolster his image as a charismatic action movie hero (though, that wasn’t exactly his fault).
Still, Reese has traditionally been an important footnote – not a key ingredient – in the over-aching Terminator saga, with other characters (like Sarah Connor in particular) serving as the real heart and soul of the narrative; even in Cameron’s original film, Biehn as Reese wasn’t really the protagonist. So, in that regard, Courtney seems like a more acceptable choice to handle the character, based on the respectable supporting character work he’s done in the past.
There’ve been rumors about what the plot of the Terminator reboot might entail, though nothing official has been announced yet. So, unless the script by Laeta Kalogridis (Bionic Woman) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) deviates significantly from the traditional Terminator mythology – something that many fans might find appealing at this stage – then Reese will still be the unknowing father to John Connor, as the result of some time-travel plot mechanics that result in Courtney hooking up with Emilia Clarke as the young Sarah Connor (and mother to humanity’s future leader in the war against the machines).
That said, it seems as though the powers that be behind the Terminator reboot – including current rights owner Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) – intend to embrace the trendy “shared universe” approach, as there is currently a tie-in TV series being developed to accompany the new Terminator movie trilogy being planned. So, if you’re among those who’ve long yearned for this franchise to shift its focus away from the Connor clan (and/or Schwarzenegger’s cyborg model), then you may get your wish – on the small screen, anyway.
Be sure and let us know what you would like to see happen story-wise in the upcoming Terminator reboot (as well as the developing TV series) – not to mention, your thoughts on the casting of Courtney – in the comments section of this article.
The Terminator reboot is slated to begin filming by April 2014, for a July 1st, 2015 release date.