The blockbuster roles just keep lining up for Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson; while the star is currently filming Brett Ratner's Hercules (2014) the newest rumors claim that he may also be in the running to play a member of Hollywood's most well-known cyborg army in Terminator 5. How he would fit alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger (figuratively and literally) isn't clear just yet, but accompanying details on the film's story provide some hints.
Take all these reports with a large grain of salt, since they largely contradict previous claims made by Schwarzenegger himself. While Johnson's role isn't detailed, the story may take fans not into the heart of the Human/Machine war, but once again back in time - farther back than ever before.
The rumor comes courtesy of Examiner, claiming that Johnson - who along with blockbuster film roles has also returned to WWE - would be passing up Wrestlemania next year to focus on movies. That in itself isn't hard to believe, since the actor is making the most of his Hollywood demand, most recently with a larger role in Fast & Furious 6. According to the site's sources, the screenwriting duo of Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier are apparently developing a script centered on a new robotic menace to be played by Johnson.
That's far from a confirmation, but the additional details on the film's story leave the door open for several new characters. According to the same source, the script in question centers once again on time travel, with Skynet sending a Terminator back to the 1950s, before either Sarah or John Connor was even born. Although there's no question that The Rock possesses the size and physique that once made Schwarzenegger a convincing killing machine, how both leading men would fit into the story is the obvious question.
When Schwarzenegger first confirmed his involvement in Terminator 5, it was rumored that he may be portraying not another T-800, but perhaps the human fighter on which Skynet based their creation. That theory was dispelled when Schwarzenegger later confirmed he would once again "star as the Terminator" - so what does that mean for this new rumor?
It's possible that a T5 following the parents of Sarah Connor (and Skynet's first attempted assassination) could find a role for Johnson in the 1950s (WWII veteran, perhaps?), yet casting the hulking blockbuster star as anything other than 'the new Terminator' seems like a wasted opportunity. Few film franchises tread the line between sci-fi and clumsy time travel paradoxes as frequently as this one, but introducing a 'new' model of Terminator that somehow was also the first... well, let's just say the filmmakers will be taking a big risk.
Speculation in the wake of this rumor has turned to the possibility of Schwarzenegger not reprising his role, but playing a human being in the past; perhaps even one connected to Sarah Connor. That story twist seems outlandish, since the first films make no mention of it - and while there were rumors that T5 would break with continuity, that decision seems unlikely.
At this point, we'd say there's little reason to believe these reports are any more accurate than previous ones. Given his recent box office draws, it's hard to think of any action franchise that wouldn't be considering Johnson for a leading man. That being said, his Fast & Furious co-stars - both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel - have been brought up as potential leading men for a new Terminator franchise, so we wouldn't hold our breath.
What is your first reaction to this rumor? Would you like to see The Rock take over as Skynet's newer, fiercer Terminator in the war against humanity? Or is a trip through time with Arnold what you're most hoping to see? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Terminator 5 is expected to begin filming in 2014. We'll keep you updated as news arrives.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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