This year is chock-full of major franchise revivals, and one of the bigger ones is Terminator: Genisys. But whereas most of these projects will be looking to continue the story established in prior entries (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World), the new Terminator flick is serving as a reboot of sorts, taking place in an alternate timeline from James Cameron's works and laying the foundation for a possible new trilogy of films.
That J.J. Abrams Star Trek-style time travel narrative would typically be enough to get viewers interested in a new movie set in this world, but Genisys is going for broke - as franchise legend Arnold Schwarzenegger will be reprising his iconic role, playing a "guardian" T-800 that protects Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) in her youth. Having Schwarzenegger back in the fold is a big deal, considering he sat out the series' previous film, 2009's Terminator: Salvation.
When Salvation was being produced, the actor had a very logistical reason for not participating, as he was still the governor of California at the time. However, it appears even if he was free to have a role, he would have rejected the offer. While speaking with ABC News, Schwarzenegger provided his thoughts on the fourth Terminator film, expressing relief over not having it on his résumé:
"Thank God. It sucked."
Some may find Schwarzenegger's opinion of Salvation amusing, since it can be argued that many of his own film choices recently (The Expendables 3, Sabotage) are poor when compared to what he did during his heyday. However, Schwarzenegger has always viewed the Terminator franchise in a very sacred light, and has stated he wouldn't return to the property unless he felt there was a great story to be told. His comments are similar to Matt Damon's on future Bourne movies, with both stars saying new installments had to be done for the "right" reasons.
At this point, it is difficult to say if Genisys will "suck" or not. Reaction to the first trailer was decidedly mixed, as it painted a picture that was more confusing than exciting. On top of that, there are rumors that the film involves a "franchise killing" twist that will anger longtime fans to the point of no return. For a film that needs to re-establish the goodwill that was sullied by the last two Terminator films, that's not the kind of buzz you want three months before your theatrical premiere.
However, there have been signs that Genisys can be that return to form we're all hoping for. Director Alan Taylor seems to have a good grasp on what make this series work, saying that he's using the beloved first two installments as his "compass, inspiration, and guide." He is looking to take the franchise back to its roots by focusing on the personal relationships between the characters and using Skynet as a means of contemporary social commentary on society's dynamic with artificial intelligence. If he is able to accomplish that, then Genisys may be able to overcome the negative stigmas being attached to it right now.
In the meantime, some may look at Schwarzenegger's Salvation review as a reason to be cautiously optimistic about the potential quality of Genisys. As the face of the franchise, Arnold has a clear understanding of how the series became the classic brand it is today, and if he feels the fifth movie was worthy of his inclusion, then that's as good a sign as any it will be able to reclaim Terminator's glory days. Fingers crossed his judgment proves right and we're treated to an exciting new Terminator film.
Terminator: Genisys will be in theaters July 1, 2015.
Source: ABC News