Production on the next Terminator installment – a reboot heavily-rumored to be titled Terminator: Genesis – is right around the corner, so it’s no surprise that (unofficial) plot and character details have started to leak online. Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his iconic franchise role for the first time since Terminator: Rise of the Machines, while the director’s chair is occupied this time by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World).
This new chapter in the sci-fi/horror/time-travel saga (originated by James Cameron thirty years ago) will clear the slate for a fresh standalone movie trilogy, in addition to a complimentary television series – in keeping with the currently-popular shared universe model, that is. Similarly, like a number of other upcoming blockbusters (for example, Jurassic World), Taylor will be shooting the bulk of his Terminator movie on sound stages and sets located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Previously, we reported an April 21st start date this year in New Orleans for the beginning of principal photography on Terminator: Genesis. Schwarzenegger didn’t confirm the exact first day of production when he took fan questions at the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival this past weekend; nonetheless, his comments on the start of production align with that projected date.
Here is what he offered The Arnold Fans, when asked what fans cans expect (though he sidestepped the question of whether his Terminator model “will be the same” in the film):
“The Terminator. You’re right. We start filming in the middle or in the end of April and it will be a four or four-and-a-half month long shoot. We will be filming it in New Orleans with some of it in San Francisco and maybe a little of it in LA but most of it will be done in New Orleans…”
A piping-hot batch of plot rumors emerged for Genesis over the weekend, suggesting that the storyline cooked by screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (Bionic Woman) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) will involve a lot of time-traveling – including, through events that were depicted in previous Terminator movies (think Back to the Future Part II). That might explain why part of the shoot will be taking place on location Los Angeles, which is where Cameron filmed his original Terminator installment – and thus, some familiar LA territory may well be revisited in Taylor’s movie.
Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison (American Hustle) currently owns the rights to the Terminator franchise, though it’s her brother David Ellison and Paramount Pictures that are funding and serving as distributor on Genesis.
The Ellison/Paramount power-team is on a roll thus far at the box office, when it comes to franchise titles – be they rebooting sequels (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), rejuvenating installments (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) or the start of a new blockbuster series (World War Z) – so odds are in their favor, as far as Genesis proving to be the financial hit that its backers are hoping for.
As for the prospective quality of the film? Well, Arnold is optimistic:
“… The script is fantastic so I’m really looking forward to this film.”
Schwarzenegger isn’t exactly the most unbiased of parties, but the Terminator reboot does boast a sturdy cast – including, Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard) – in addition to two writers in Kalogridis and Lussier, respectively, who are equally capable when it comes to producing decent sci-fi and horror genre content – the staple elements of the Terminator franchise, which (in combination) were essential to its past success.
As for Taylor as director: his work on Marvel’s Thor sequel arguably gave rise to a goofy-fun superhero movie, which felt like a throwback to old-fashioned pulpy serial adventure cinema. However, the Terminator franchise tends to lean more in an adult and R-Rated direction (save for Terminator Salvation), unlike the comparatively family-friendly Marvel brand.
That said, having a more adult sandbox to play in might encourage Taylor to bring more of that grit and intelligence from his days working on HBO series like Deadwood, The Sopranos, and most recently Game of Thrones – something that appears to be part of his plan to restore the Terminator franchise’s grace – which could be welcome news. That’s also important for justifying the continuation of this particular property, especially in an age where the Terminator core elements no longer seem that unique – stacked up against other genre movies, that is (see X-Men: Days of Future Past, and so forth).
The Terminator reboot/Terminator: Genesis opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015.