We still have a couple of months left in the year of 2014, but it's never too early to look ahead to what studios have planned for us in 2015. The first wave of marketing for next summer's tentpoles is already upon us, with trailers for Disney's Tomorrowland and The Avengers: Age of Ultron having hit the web in recent weeks.
One of the running themes 2015's blockbusters will have is trying to make the old new again, as iconic franchises return in the form of Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys are set to bring classic series back to the spotlight. Paramount is starting to gear up buzz for the latter, having unveiled the first looks at the film's cast in magazine covers and promotional photos. Now, we have our first look at the movie's sci-fi action... in storyboard form.
It's not a clip or a teaser trailer, but these storyboards of a major sequence (courtesy of EW) depict an action sequence in Genisys that takes place during the famous Future War. Both Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and the adult John Connor (Jason Clarke) are shown doing battle with the fearsome endoskeletons, leading the rebel forces in a fight for the future of humanity.
The images harken back to the brief glimpses of the War shown in James Cameron's first two films, as battle-weary humans face seemingly insurmountable odds against the killer cyborgs of Skynet. There will also be some vehicular warfare going on as well, with sketches of tanks and helicopters visible in the background on some of the pictures.
We know now that the Genisys story will begin in 2029, with the depicted Future War raging on and Reese selected to be sent back in the past to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), who is more combat-ready than previous versions of the character (having been raised by the aged T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) since she was 9 years old). Where the story goes from there, however, is anyone's guess at this point. The sequence featured in the storyboards will most likely serve as the movie's opener, introducing viewers to the new incarnations of Reese and John Connor before the rest of the narrative is set in motion.
There's also a chance that the War segments could be flashbacks that play out as Reese brings Sarah up to speed on what goes down between humans and A.I. (like in The Terminator), which would be a smart way of fleshing out the film's backstory and keeping things moving at the same time. J.K. Simmons, who is rumored to play an "alcoholic detective" in Genisys, has called the script a "well-rounded and heartfelt" love story, so there will have to be ample time spent developing the relationship between Reese and Sarah to make that claim pay off.
Paramount has staked out 2017 and 2018 release dates for Genisys sequels, with former Doctor Who Matt Smith reportedly set for an expanded role in the two followups; if that's the plan, then we wouldn't expect to see too much of 2029 in this reboot. With so much to unpack in the past, merely whetting audiences' appetites for more Future War (and delivering in the sequels) would be both a wise business and creative decision. It's important to set up this corner of the world, but not in a way that eats up material for future films.
As for whether or not moviegoers will truly want more Terminator following the premiere of Genisys is up in the air right now. The cast is saying all the right things, with Schwarzenegger comparing the movie to Terminator 2 and Courtney stating he didn't come on board until he saw that the story was "cool." However, there are rumors of a "left-field" plot twist that will allegedly anger fans to the point of no return. That's a pretty wide spectrum of opinions, making it difficult to judge the film's fate. We'll just have to see how this new take on the mythos plays out...
Terminator: Genisys will be in theaters July 1, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.