This summer's Terminator: Genisys is bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger back to the Terminator franchise, where he will be surrounded by younger cast members playing characters both new and familiar. Schwarzenegger's costars here include Jai Courtney (The Divergent Series: Insurgent) as the latest cinematic iteration of the Kyle Reese character, alongside Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as the latest face of iconic sci-fi action hero Sarah Connor.
J.K. Simmons - fresh off his Oscar-winning performance in Whiplash - has what he's described as a "smaller part" in the Genisys story, though Simmons has kept quiet about his role beyond that. However, in the past, it has been reported that the actor is playing an "alcoholic detective" who's spent decades keeping tabs on Sarah Connor - since, in the film's new timeline, Sarah was orphaned when she was nine years old (as the result of yet another SkyNET assassination attempt) and thereafter raised by the T-800 who saved her.
We can confirm that this description is at least partly accurate, as Simmons' character is identified as Detective O'Brien in new Genisys images. This batch of screenshots from the movie doesn't provide much additional insight beyond that - like, explaining who sent a T-800 back in time to save young Sarah from SkyNET in the first place. It looks (and sounds) like Simmons' character will just be a regular person from the 20th century, who (inadvertently) gets tangled up in all this timeline "resetting" business.
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The first Genisys trailer suggests that the film will begin in the traditional Terminator timeline, where the adult John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle back in time to save grown-up Sarah. From there, however, the movie will enter this "alternate" timeline where Sarah has been raised by a machine. It's possible, maybe even probable, that Simmons' character will be responsible for providing exposition, to help bring the audience up to speed on what's different about the new timeline in Genisys (and how the events in the past have been "reset").
Funnily enough, the hair color of Schwarzenegger's "Old T-800" provides some clues about the Genisys storyline. He still has brown-hair in the 1984 time period that Reese travels back to, yet clearly has silver locks in the image above. We learned from our Genisys set visit that there will be at least three different time periods in the movie - suggesting that there will be more than one bit of time-traveling over the course of the film's narrative.
It stands to reason that the silver-haired T-800 is from a post-1984 time period that Sarah and Kyle end up traveling to in the film. After all, Sarah doesn't appear to have aged at all when she meets up with the silver-haired version of her "dad" - whom she refers to as "Pops" - at the end of the first Genisys trailer (see: when Schwarzenegger delivers his trademark "I'll be back" line). That would align with Schwarzenegger's previous claim that the T-800's exterior doesn't age quite as fast as a human would.
Bottom line is, this speculation and bits of information alone make it difficult to discern if Genisys has the potential to be on the level with James Cameron's Terminator films - or more in line with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines or even director Alan Taylor's previous tentpole, Thor: The Dark World (which wouldn't be a terrible outcome).
A second trailer for Genisys - which will arrive sooner than later - will help everyone to better adjust their expectations to a proper setting. In the meantime, look for more articles from our Genisys set visit - which we'll be publishing later this week!
Full Set Visit Report List
- Terminator Genisys set visit Summary
- Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Returned to the Franchise
- A New & Different John Connor
- Emilia Clarke's Sarah Connor Challenge
- Recreating Kyle Reese and his Nike shoes
Terminator: Genisys will be in theaters on July 1, 2015.
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