New Terminator to star… Paul Walker? Wait, what?

Just a month ago, indie financier/heiress Megan Ellison acquired the rights to the Terminator franchise with plans to produce a new film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger from Fast Five director Justin Lin. At the time, Deadline estimated she paid as much as $20 million for it.  Of course, that was before we found out Arnold had been indiscriminately jizzing on poor people for more than a decade. His subsequent movie hiatus puts the project in a bit of a bind, considering Arnold was the only thing people were even remotely interested in, to the point they were willing to consider the possibility that Skynet was producing old, flabby cyborgs.  But Megan Ellison’s already into this thing for 20 large, so it would seem a movie has to happen. WhatsPlaying’s “HollywoodInsider” thinks they know what that might look like (and it’s not good):

While Schwarzenegger may not be yet ready to return to film, considering recent events, and has temporarily put his Terminator reprise on hold, Ellison and are still keen to get going on the movie. What may happen, I’m told, is the creative crew might lessen Schwarzenegger’s screentime in this movie, so it’s less work and less of a commitment for him and thus, it’ll be easier to talk the big guy into doing something this year.

From the sounds of things, the big guy does have a fairly substantial role in the new story – which is said to involve that original timeline being torn, again – but this Terminator would mostly be anchored by a new, younger male lead (Paul Walker’s name keeps coming up – could he possibly be Lin’s pick for Kyle Reese?). Oh, and I think that’s where the rumors of the ‘original cast returning’ come into play – though it’s not so much the original cast as it is ‘the original characters’ from the original movie. Geddit? Like J.J’s Star Trek. [WhatsPlaying]

If Paul Walker’s name keeps coming up, I can only hope the context is “Who’s the worst actor in Hollywood?  Because we should totally cast the opposite of that guy.”  Did Justin Lin lose a bet with Paul Walker’s family or something?  This whole project just went from mission impossible to mission in frickin sanity.