A lot of hay has been made in the press and on fan sites about James Cameron’s involvement in the fifth sequel to his groundbreaking sci-fi hit, The Terminator.
Genre fans were cautiously hopeful that the involvement of the legendary director, even as a producer, would return a three-decade-old franchise to its former glory with clever, inventive writing and cutting edge action.
Despite the gang getting back together, we here at Film Goblin were a little skeptical.
Recently, Cameron gave a pretty in-depth interview to Deadline where he discusses the process of rejuvenating the franchise and clarifies his involvement with the film.
We’ve included the key quotes and highlights below, along with some new promotional material that relies heavy — completely — on your nostalgia tingles.
If there are any left.
None Of This Was His Idea
The idea to retcon the franchise back to the second movie (the last successful movie) was strictly the brainchild of Skydance boss David Ellison.
Ellison personally produced Terminator: Genesys, which Cameron claims that Ellison himself believed “fell short of the mark.”
“So he said, ‘Let’s start with a blank slate and take it back to Terminator 2.’ And that idea was intriguing.”
Miller Is The Real Director
It wasn’t intriguing enough to get Cameron back behind the camera or even bother to oversee production on the ground. Despite actual, real director Tim Miller’s allusions to Cameron swooping down on him, James never once visited the set.
“My role as producer was in pre-production, and prep and shepherding the script. But it was Tim’s film when it reached the floor.”
Apparently, this was because Cameron had an enormous amount of confidence in Miller as essentially his second unit director who directs the entire film.
“My belief is that if you get a director who’s a grown-up and knows what to do, you turn them loose.”
A “grown-up”, huh?
You mean the guy who continually tried to be edgy by dropping the original f-word — the new f-word would truly be edgy — and tells the primary audience of the franchise that they are scared of strong women characters?
Sounds pretty grown up.
Cameron Did Some Writing
But Miller was not turned loose enough to let him write the script or even film the original script. According to Cameron, the project was greenlit — and production started — even though the screenplay wasn’t “exactly where it should have been.”
“Sometimes I was shipping out pages the day before they shot a scene. I’m not sure that was 100% always helpful.”
He Thinks It’s Might Be A Trilogy
Despite this ad-hoc-from-a-distance approach to filmmaking, Cameron has a lot of plans for the Terminator franchise even from the being of the project:
“We rolled up our sleeves and started to break out the story and when we got a handle on something we looked at it as a three-film arc, so there is a greater story there to be told.”
This might be a lot more than a little ambitious for the sixth entry in a franchise and Cameron acknowledges as much:
“If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films.”
That’s The Real Trick, Isn’t It?
Look, unless my suspicions are true and studios have memory-erasing patterns built into their movies and TV shows, there are only two options here:
- We’re out of touch with general audiences. No one, especially foreign audiences, cares whether this is this 3rd or 6th Terminator movie. They just want some good action to see on date night.
- Despite Cameron’s writing efforts and name on the masthead, this franchise is DOA.
We will know more next week when the first long-range box office forecasts get released to the public.
Check back next Friday.