NEW ORLEANS – The NASA facility outside the city proper is huge, but then again, so are the movie characters walking around the place on this hot July day. One of them isn't just huge in the legendary sense, but very much in the physical as well, and he speaks with quite a distinctive accent.
A movie star for decades, Arnold Schwarzenegger is here reprising his most iconic role, the Terminator, and he's doing it in the first film in a planned trilogy. Into this set of films, he is bringing a new Sarah Connor, Emilia Clarke; a new John Connor, Jason Clarke; and a new Kyle Reese, Jai Courtney.
Even if the actors are new to the parts, “Terminator: Genisys” isn't being described as a reboot of the franchise, but more as a new way of looking at it. “Genisys” is explained more as a reimagining, a new tale splintered off from the James Cameron directed films we know and love. To be clear, no one says anything against the third and fourth films in the franchise (the ones Cameron did not direct), but the first two are discussed much more.
Schwarzenegger tells us, “I know that we have to outdo 'T2,' the director [Alan Taylor] knows that, the producers know it, the studio knows it, so I think that everyone is in sync with that.” He continues, “The idea is to come out with a movie with a big bang and to really entertain audiences all around the world.”
In July, there was no trailer for the movie, and it wasn't even officially “Terminator: Genisys,” But Schwarznegger's mind was definitely there on the trailer, “I think that when the movie's trailer comes out, right away it will set the record straight. You know what I'm saying? I remember when we came out with the trailer of 'True Lies' and people knew right away what it is and how big it is… The key thing is that they cut a great trailer, they promote it the right way and then when you see the first screenings out there, the buzz will then take care of the rest.”
Now, in December, the title is firm and the trailer is out, and what do we see? Something that certainly appears to be an updated liquid metal baddie, and that is something no one mentions in July (“poly-alloy” is, however, discussed in the scene we see being filmed).
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is, almost certainly, the best movie in the franchise to date, and more than once in our discussion, Schwarzenegger brings it up. He says that after the movie opened, “We realized that this is really a big franchise. Because as you remember the second one was the biggest movie of the year.”
Maybe then it shouldn't be a surprise that they're bringing us another liquid metal monster. It is going to be interesting, however, to see what they do with him.
If you watch the trailer, you not only see this new Terminator, but you see him in what has to be 1984, right after a newly arrived Kyle Reese arrives from 2029. Rather than protecting Sarah Connor though, it is she who starts off protecting him, and she even explains how they have already taken care of the evil Arnold Schwarzenegger-version of the Terminator in that time period.
This fits in perfectly with the discussion in New Orleans about “Genisys” being something of a 2009 “Star Trek” spin on the tale. What we don't know at this point is where it is all going to head. The producers, however, say they do, explaining that they know the last shot in the trilogy.
We learned plenty of other things during our trip to the Big Easy, and in the coming weeks and months we will, hopefully, be able to let you in on more of the secrets. For now though, watch that trailer and tell us what you think.