Given the public hoopla surrounding his recent divorce and revealed infidelity, it wasn’t a real shock when Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to delay his return to acting. Although he had become associated with projects like Cry Macho and The Last Stand by that time, it was the seemingly Schwarzenegger-centric Terminator 5 that looked to be all but indefinitely delayed due to the aging action star/former governor’s retreat from the limelight.

However, that is apparently not the case. Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Films managed to secure the screen rights for two more Terminator movies – and the company is reportedly moving ahead with the fifth installment in the sci-fi franchise, in spite of Schwarzenegger’s departure.

What’s Playing says that although Schwarzenegger is said to be up for “a fairly substantial role” in Termiantor 5, the film would actually be anchored by a younger male lead. Combine that with word that the project continues the trend set by previous Terminator pictures (and the Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show) by involving “the original timeline being torn, again” – and it becomes all the more clear as to how the fifth installment can move forward without Schwarzenegger.

Director Justin Lin remains attached to Terminator 5, which he previously admitted could conceivably feature his Fast and the Furious star Vin Diesel in a pivotal role. However, current rumors peg Lin’s other Fast Five leading man (Paul Walker) as being floated as a possibility to headline the Terminator franchise for the time being.

Walker as the anchor for Terminator 5 doesn’t exactly sound all that appealing – and whether he’d be an improvement on Sam Worthington in Terminator: Salvation (or just more of the same) is up for debate. However, his potential involvement should be considered strictly RUMOR at this point, and nothing more.

Could Walker star in 'Terminator 5'?

While Lin has admitted before that little is set in stone with respect to Terminator 5 right now, he also dismissed rumors concerning an original Terminator cast reunion in the film. The project in its current form is actually said to feature the return of several original Terminator characters, including the likes of Kyle Reese – and, it would seem, possibly even a younger Sarah Connor. If that is the case, then comparisons to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot seem all the more appropriate.

The big question concerning Terminator 5 is whether or not the time-travel angle is really the proper way to go again. A number of Terminator fans have already expressed their desire to see the post-Judgement Day storyline set in motion in Salvation continued on and expanded upon in the franchise’s next installment; additionally, the overly-convoluted nature of the Terminator timeline doesn’t seem to lend itself to a “complete reboot” to the same degree that Star Trek did.

Even with Terminator 5 inching ever closer to actually becoming a sure thing, there are still multiple directions that Lin (or whoever ends up ultimately sitting in the director’s chair) could go with it. The film could continue to cover the future war between humanity and Skynet; feature another attempt by the machines to wipe out the young John Connor and his loved ones; or it could essentially amount to a reboot starring Paul Walker. Take all that as you will.

We’ll keep you posted on the status of Terminator 5 as more information is released.

Source: What’s Playing