Christian Bale says that Terminator Salvation originally had a wonderful script that was never realized. James Cameron created the Terminator franchise with his 1984 film, The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the eponymous machine and Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. While Cameron returned to write and direct the sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he wasn’t involved in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Terminator 3 was supposed to kickstart a brand new Terminator trilogy, but plans eventually fell by the wayside and the franchise rights were picked up by The Halcyon Company, who planned on developing their own trilogy, beginning with McG’s Terminator Salvation. Whereas the original Terminator films took place prior to Judgment Day, Terminator Salvation was the first installment to take place entirely in the future, post-Judgment Day, starring Bale as John Connor, Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor, and Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese. Unfortunately, the movie, despite its ambitious elements, became a critical and commercial disappointment. And so, Halcyon’s Terminator trilogy came crashing down. But Bale says there was a time in which they had an exciting idea on their hands.
In an interview with MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast for his latest film, Hostiles, Christian Bale expressed disappointment in not being able to reinvigorate the Terminator franchise in the way that he hoped they would.
“I said no three times. I thought that the franchise…I went ‘Nah, there’s no story there.’ I’d seen the first one and enjoyed that back in England, I’d been to the movies and seen the second one. It was an unfortunate series of events involving the writers’ strike, involving [Jonathan Nolan], who was able to come on, and really start to write a wonderful script, but then got called away for a prior commitment that he had. And it’s a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated [the franchise]. And unfortunately, during production, you could tell that wasn’t happening. It’s a great shame.”
Nolan (Interstellar, Westworld), who Bale worked with on Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and The Dark Knight trilogy, ended up receiving an uncredited rewrite on Salvation, but fans may be curious as to what the screenwriter had in mind for the project (and the franchise) if Bale considered it “wonderful.” But, unfortunately, people may never know. But what’s even more interesting is that Bale initially joined the film out of spite.
“There’s a perverse side to me, where people were telling me that, there’s no way on God’s Earth that I should take that role, and I was thinking the same thing. But when people started verbalizing that to me, I started to go, ‘Oh really? All right, well watch this then.’ So there was a little bit of that involved in the choice.”
While Christian Bale is disappointed that Terminator Salvation failed to launch a trilogy, it’s not the only Terminator film to do so. Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genisys also failed to kickstart a new trilogy for Paramount Pictures. But now, Terminator fans can look forward to Cameron and Tim Miller’s (Deadpool) upcoming Terminator 6 film, due out in 2019. After all, in addition to Schwarzenegger returning for the sequel, Hamilton is also slated to reprise her role as Sarah Connor in the movie.
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