Next summer's Jurassic World, which features an all-new human cast but continues the story from previous Jurassic Park films, could be classified as either a "soft reboot" or even just a sequel, depending on how you look at it. Terminator: Genisys, which arrives less than a month after the return of the Jurassic Park movie property, is more difficult to define in that respect.
Costar J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) has referred to the film as a "re-imagining" of the Terminator property and Arnold Schwarzenegger is playing a T-800 who, rumor has it, has secretly been involved in the events of the series from the beginning (hence his aged "bio-exoskeleton"). In other words, the Genisys script - by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) - may employ some X-Men: Days of Future Past-style time travel trickey, in order to reset the established Terminator universe timeline.
Genisys costar Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), who is playing Kyle Reese in the film, has praised the movie's storyline and indicated that it, essentially, reboots the franchise. However, in a recent interview with Huffpost Live, Courtney clarified that Genisys doesn't necessarily rejuvenate the series in the way you might anticipate.
"What I can say is that we start in a place we're familiar with from the early films and then, you know, circumstances change. It somewhat shifts the course of events from that point. It's not necessarily a sequel or a reboot. I don't even know how you brand it correctly. We're not remaking one of the early 'Terminator' movies. And it doesn't necessarily carry on from the point where we left off."
Rumor is, Genisys wipes the slate clean for the Terminator universe after the events that were previously featured in James Cameron's first two movie installments (again, think the Days of Future Past comparison). At the same time, though, we've already seen set photos that depict interactions between key Terminator characters - such as Sarah Connor and adult John Connor (Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke, respectively) - that seems to break away from Cameron's Terminator films.
That is to say, classic Terminator movie plot elements such as the love story between Kyle and Sarah - which Simmons has suggested will be included in Genisys - might not be set in stone, in terms of how they play out now, either.
Will Courtney's Reese survive beyond Genisys, then? The actor hasn't confirmed anything, of course, but when he was asked by The Arnold Fans if Schwarzenegger will return for the remaining two installments in the planned Genisys film trilogy, Courtney's response (read it below) seems to indicate that he expects to be involved with those projects as well.
"Hard to imagine a Terminator film without Arnold. I guess we start filming - I think the plan is do the next 2 back to back in 2016."
Paramount Pictures has already staked out release dates for the Genisys sequels in 2017 and 2018, and Courtney's comments gel with reports that the plan is for both movies to be shot back to back over the course of nine months or so, beginning in 2016.
Those plans could wind up being abandoned if Genisys under-performs at the box office, but Paramount will no doubt be taking steps to ensure that doesn't happen - including, releasing the film with a box office-friendly PG-13 Rating. Courtney said that he expects as much to be the case, during his interview with TAF:
"I would love to see ['Terminator: Genisys'] be rated R, but I don't think it will. I think in this day & age, it's much more likely to be PG-13. There were no f-bombs. But there'll be a healthy amount of movie violence."
Of course, Terminator Salvation was also Rated PG-13 and was supposed to kickoff a new Terminator movie trilogy too - so, again, best to wait and see how filmgoers respond to Genisys, before we get ahead of ourselves wondering about the sequels...
Terminator: Genisys opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015. There are currently additional Terminator movies scheduled for release on May 19th, 2017 and June 29th, 2018.