2015’s Terminator Genesis – as the project is currently known – won’t be a direct continuation of the last installment in the Terminator franchise, Terminator Salvation; the latter took place in a post-Judgement Day wasteland, where the war between humanity and the A.I. Skynet was fully underway. No, Genesis will instead be a reboot of the sci-fi property – how “hard” or “soft” a reboot, exactly, remains to be seen.
According to recent rumors, the upcoming Terminator feature will jump around through time, causing further disruption of history in this particular fictional universe – and thus, free things up for a new standalone trilogy. Events from the previous movies (the first two installments, to be specific) will be revisited in the process, which – if true – would make Genesis a reboot that’s closer in spirit to Star Trek (2009) than Batman Begins. (Others have compared the rumored Terminator reboot storyline to Back to the Future Part II and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.)
What we do know for certain is that Terminator: Genesis will feature the same characters from past installments, including Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), her son John Connor (Jason Clarke) and Arnold Schwarzenegger back in some leading capacity. The other key player is John’s father, Kyle Reese, who will be portrayed by Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard).
Courtney opened up to IGN on the subject of the Terminator reboot, admitting that he initially approached the project with a significant amount of doubt:
“I’ve always had a bit of skepticism about something being rebooted. I remember when [A Good Day to] Die Hard came around a few years ago, I was like, ‘Really? They’re gonna make another one?’ and then I found myself in it and totally invested in it. I think it’s healthy to have that [skepticism] because you want it to be something [special], you want to keep that eye for quality sharp.”
The actor said it was only after he’d read the Genesis screenplay – which he says features a “cool” story conceived by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) – that he decided to commit to the project, beating out a number of other actors for the Kyle Reese role. One could fairly point out that Courtney’s dedication to A Good Day to Die Hard seems ill-advised in retrospect, so that’s justification enough for taking his comments about the Terminator reboot’s quality-on-paper with a healthy grain of salt.
Still, following his breakout days on Spartacus, Courtney has continued to work on films based around interesting concepts – Jack Reacher, I, Frankenstein, and this month’s Divergent – where the final outcome is determined by the competence (or lack thereof) of the writing and directing talent involved in executing said intriguing premise.
Terminator: Genesis has Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor calling the shots; our hope is that he will take his experience from working on Marvel Studios’ Thor sequel and use it to produce a smarter and tougher Terminator movie – one that moves the franchise back to its R-Rated sci-fi/horror basics. That potential is arguably there on the screenwriters’ side (Kalogridis’ sci-fi output – which includes Bionic Woman and Avatar – coupled with Lussier’s horror know-how), while the primary cast reads as pretty strong; whether or not that potential will be reached (or remain untapped), remains to be seen. Here is hoping for the best, as always.
Terminator: Genesis opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015.