‘The Terminator’ Should Leave Behind Its Past If It Wants To Live

For years, studios have been trying to recapture the magic, not to mention the box office, of James Cameron’s first two Terminator movies. The most recent attempt, Terminator: Genisys, essentially rebooted the series, wiping away the entire past of the franchise and leaving Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor in the modern era. And it looks like we’re not getting an answer, as Paramount appears done with the series. Which raises the question of what happens next.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Paramount has decided not to try for another Terminator sequel, perhaps not surprisingly considering American audiences more or less shrugged and the movie had its box office bacon saved by Chinese box office figures. The franchise finds itself at a crossroads, asking if it still has a meaningful audience, and legal matters may cloud the picture thanks to a deal James Cameron cut back in 1984.

As part of getting the original Terminator made, Cameron sold the rights with the understanding many of them would revert back to him after 35 years; in other words, in 2019. And Cameron is supposedly working on a movie that will close out the series with Deadpool director Tim Miller. But then again, he’ll likely be busy elsewhere. He has the Avatar franchise to handle, with four movies being shot back to back and then being released a year apart, and Battle Angel Alita in the pipe with Robert Rodriguez.

It would make the most sense that the franchise should be left fallow for a while, but this is an era of Hollywood where everything gets a sequel if there’s the remotest chance audiences have heard of it. So unless Cameron really puts his foot down, sooner or later somebody will arrive with a check big enough to get him to greenlight a follow-up.

But the best approach might be one that involves a bit of sidestepping. The Matrix and its rumored comeback, will reportedly explore some other ideas brought up by the franchise, and The Terminator can take a similar path. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was particularly good at exploring the idea of a secret war waged between human rebels and killer robots stretching across decades of history, and how that affected people beyond just the Connors. Furthermore, Rogue One and Marvel’s Netflix series have shown you don’t need to put your flagship characters front and center for every outing, and lets new filmmakers explore twists and concepts that the “main” franchise isn’t able to touch. There’s a lot to consider in the world of the Terminator, beyond the story of Sarah Connor, her son, and the killer android after both, and if we’re going to see more Terminator movies, perhaps it’s best if the Connors retire.

(via New York Daily News)