James Cameron is trying to develop a new Terminator trilogy that will reinvent the franchise. In the minds of most moviegoers, that franchise has two distinct periods. The first two Terminator films are near unanimously praised as sci-fi/action classics, with T2 often singled out as one of the greatest sequels of all time. So iconic is the first Terminator film that it's even been preserved by the U.S. National Film Registry, and one assumes T2 might go in there eventually as well. Unfortunately, none of the following Terminator entries have come close to equaling the greatness of their predecessors.
2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has its fans, but no one really attempts to argue that it matches T2, and most readily admit that 2009's future-set Terminator: Salvation was a disappointment. 2015's Terminator: Genisys brought back an aging Arnold, and attempted to reboot the timeline, but underperformed at the domestic box office. Thankfully, franchise creator James Cameron has since stepped in to try and save the world he established, via a new Terminator movie directed by Deadpool's Tim Miller.
As if that wasn't enough to excite jaded Terminator fans, in a recent interview with News.com.au, Cameron revealed that he intends for Miller's film to kick-off a new trilogy of Terminator adventures. Here's what he had to say regarding his plans for Terminator going forward.
“The question is — has the franchise run its course or can it be freshened up? Can it still have relevance now where so much of our world is catching up to what was science fiction in the first two films. We live in a world of predator drones and surveillance and big data and emergent AI (artificial intelligence).
...I am in discussions with David Ellison, who is the current rights holder globally for the Terminator franchise and the rights in the US market revert to me under US copyright law in a year and a half so he and I are talking about what we can do. Right now we are leaning toward doing a three-film arc and reinventing it.”
We’ll put more meat on the bones if we get past the next couple of hurdles as and when we announce that.”
Of course, what Cameron didn't reveal above is what exactly the first movie in this new Terminator trilogy will be about. It's still unclear just how much of the existing Terminator canon will even be included in the new trilogy. Also unclear is what level of involvement Arnold Schwarzenegger will have in the new trilogy, as while he previously confirmed his participation, it hasn't been specified whether he'll play a lead role again.
As interesting as the idea of a new Cameron trilogy is, one shouldn't forget that this would be the third straight attempt at launching such a trio of Terminator films. Salvation was intended to begin a trilogy of post-apocalyptic Terminator films, but those plans were squashed by the failure of the Christian Bale-led installment. Genisys was also supposed to begin a new trilogy, but everyone knows how that ended up. Still, if the last few decades have made one thing clear, it's that one shouldn't bet against James Cameron.