Joss Whedon makes a [largely hilarious] bid on ‘Terminator’ rights

11.02.09 8 years ago 7 Comments

Carolco/Lionsgate Home Video

It does not instill me with great confidence regarding the future of the “Terminator” franchise, knowing that any installments yet to come will be based on who the highest bidder is rather than who has the best idea or the most compelling story idea.

My opinion on the “Terminator” series hasn’t endeared me to fandom to a large degree, but I don’t care.  My loyalty is to the two James Cameron films, and nothing else.  Those films work together elegantly, and they tell a complete story.  At the end of “Terminator 2,” there wasn’t anything I felt had to be explained or followed up.  The story was done.  The future had been reclaimed.  The human experience of the “Terminator” films was the story of Sarah Connor trying to secure a real future for her son, and thanks to “Terminator 2,” she did.

I don’t hate “Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines” or “Terminator: Salvation,” but I don’t really think of them as essential, either.  Same with “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”  There’s good work being done in them, but it all turns into a rehash, a wheel-spin, a pointless exercise in franchise extension.

And, yes, I’ve heard the notion that we needed more movies because we “needed” to see the future war.  I disagree.  I think that’s what fanboys think they wanted, but just like The Clone Wars, seeing it is pure anti-climax.  What was handled just right, due in no small part to budget in the first film, has instead become a narrative dead-end that Hollywood is determined to explore no matter what.  Or at least, that seemed like the plan when The Halcyon Company was producing the films with McG onboard as the architect of the Future War.  Sam Worthington was being groomed as the new lead of the franchise, hoping to usher in a new era in the series.  On TV, “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” was an almost-complete reworking of continuity, and if nothing else, it gave us Summer Glau as a Terminator, which was enjoyable on a purely aesthetic level.

Now the man who originally brought us Summer Glau is hoping to bring us his own take on the iconic characters, and he’s decided to put in his bid on the franchise in the most logical place:  on Nikki Finke’s website.

Here’s a taste of what Whedon’s thinking: 

“I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where ‘hood’ was capitalized ’cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the ‘grapevine’ that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.

No, you didn’t miscount. That’s four — FOUR! — zeroes after that one. That’s to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here’s what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don’t ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture — and my pretend play — as any I can think of. It’s far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:

1) Terminator… of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far… back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? “Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!” RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he’s a cyborg and he doesn’t give a s#&% about the ring — it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he’s doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).”

You really should read the rest of it, and although it seems like Joss is kidding, the rights are being auctioned off, and we will see someone new take over the property in the very near future.

Just remember, whoever ends up with it… no future but what you make.

And it’s not going to be easy.

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