James Cameron has revealed what prompted him to return to the Terminator franchise after all these years. Throughout his entire career, Cameron has made only eight feature films, two of which are Terminator movies: The Terminator in 1984 and Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. The filmmaker had departed the franchise after two installments and never looked back, with the franchise having been transferred and marred across multiple movie studios.
Following the failed attempt to continue Cameron's original two chapters with a third and final installment, Jonathan Mostow's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the franchise rights were auctioned off. Unfortunately, the series has since misfired on two separate occasions, with both Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures looking to reboot the franchise (with planned trilogies) beginning with McG's Terminator Salvation in 2009 and Alan Taylor's Terminator: Genisys in 2015, respectively. Neither movie was successful enough, critically or commercially, to justify continuing the franchise. And so, Cameron has suddenly rejoined the fold after all these years and has decided to reboot the series himself.
Cameron made the announcement earlier this year, and it took people by surprise - since he's remained mostly removed from the franchise, aside from giving his brief opinion every now-and-then. In an interview with IGN promoting the Terminator 2 3D re-release, Cameron revealed why he decided to return to the series and make Terminator 6.
"I got out of the Terminator business after Terminator 2 because I didn't control the underlying IP [intellectual property]. I had sold it off very early on when I was nobody, not a director, nothing, and I was just thrilled to be working on a movie. When I became aware of the fact that I could get back into a control position on the rights, then I started to ask myself, artistically, is there anything there? Is there anything to be said that I haven't already said, and that would even be relevant in the 2020s (when these hypothetical films would come out)? I thought, 'Well, let's look at that.'
"I mean, a lot of the things that were science fiction in Terminator are now around us. You know, from predator drones... and actual discussions on the ethics on having a robot have its own kill decision possibilities, things like that; it's actually happening. So, 'Okay, maybe there is room for a film that examines these themes.' It just has to be retooled for an audiences' expectations from now."
The franchise rights revert back to Cameron in 2019 under U.S. Copyright Law, and the filmmaker has been working alongside current rights holder and Skydance Productions CEO David Ellison to ideate a new Terminator trilogy that aims to 'reinvent' the franchise. Of course, things are still in the very early stages of development and things could change along the way, especially after the rights revert back to Cameron.
Currently, though, the plan is for Deadpool director Tim Miller to helm next installment in the long-running franchise, which will explore the human basis for Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic T-800. The movie is expected to begin filming in March 2018, with a planned release date for sometime in 2019.