‘Terminator’ Gets Rebooted Again, First Teaser Arrives

in Movies & TV

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator

Credit: Skydance

If there’s one franchise that’s hit the reset button far too many times, it’s Terminator. What essentially started as science fiction horror quickly became a series that churned out generic actioners without truly understanding what made those first two entries, The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), so special and well-received.

Of course, Terminator isn’t the only franchise guilty of this: Jurassic Park (1993) followed a similar trajectory, starting life as a dark sci-fi thriller, only for subsequent films in the series (beyond its first sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) to be made more accessible for audiences, blunting that razor-sharp edge the franchise once had.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pointing a weapon in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'
Credit: Skydance

Related: All the ‘Terminator’ References You Missed in ‘The Mandalorian’

The difference between Terminator and Jurassic Park is that the latter hasn’t been rebooted more times than a malfunctioning cyborg at Skynet HQ. The Jurassic Park franchise also continues to be a success, while Terminator has well and truly lost its way.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (1997) had the unenviable task of following James Cameron’s revered sci-fi masterpiece Judgment Day, AKA T2. The film received mostly positive reviews at the time, but in the years that followed, fans ditched those rose-tinted glasses and felt that Jonathan Mostow’s threequel was more of a parody of its predecessor.

The Terminatrix/TX (Kristanna Loken) defeating Arnie in 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines'
Credit: Skydance

Still, Rise of the Machines grossed $433.4 million against its $187.3 million budget. The film gets a few things right, too; one of them being the fact that it continues the story established in the original 1984 film, and the other being the bold ending that sees Skynet win by initiating global nuclear devastation, which paved the way for Terminator Salvation (2009).

Terminator Salvation stars Christian Bale as John Connor, the leader of the resistance against Skynet, and opts for a complete shift in setting, jumping forward into a sand-swept, post-apocalyptic future that looks less like those horrifying nightmare visions from the first three films and more like something out of Star Wars.

John Connor (Christian Bale) firing a weapon in 'Terminator Salvation'
Credit: Skydance

Related: All the ‘Terminator’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best

It grossed $371.4 million against its $200 million budget and received mixed to negative reviews. However, despite being yet another Terminator movie no one asked for, it was mired in controversy from the get-go, when Christian Bale’s now-infamous “rant” at a crew member on set was leaked. It also didn’t help that Arnold Schwarzenegger was absent (despite his likeness being used for a CG-rendered T-800). Still, at least it’s an honest continuation of the series.

But just when you thought the future couldn’t get any more bleak for the franchise, along came the “soft reboot” Terminator Genisys (2015), which stars Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor and sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800. However, while Arnie is back, the film resets the timeline a’ la Star Trek (2009) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), erasing the previous films.

Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) in 'Terminator Genisys'
Credit: Skydance

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And then came Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), easily the worst of the series. Despite taking the “legacy sequel” route by bringing back Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) and Arnie, the film ignores every sequel since T2 in a similar vein to Halloween (2018). You might argue that this is a good thing, seeing as it takes out Genisys faster than Arnie dispatches every Sarah Connor listed in the phonebook in the original film, but it’s a terrible movie.

Genisys at least grossed $440.6 million against its $155–158 million budget; however,  Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) brought in just $261.1 million over $185 — 196 million. There’s no telling what the future holds for the franchise on the silver screen (we’re half-expecting James Cameron to emerge from a time-traveling portal and finally tell his present-self not to move forward with any more reboots), but there’s hope yet for the small screen.

Arnold Schwarzenegger smiling in 'Terminator Genisys'
Credit: Skydance

Per Deadline, during this year’s “Geeked Week” (November 6 — 12), which showcases upcoming Netflix content, the streaming service giant dropped a teaser trailer for Terminator: The Anime Series (TBA).

Check it out below:

Related: First Trailer for ‘Jurassic World’ TV Series Set Before ‘Dominion’ Arrives

The miniseries, which will consist of eight episodes, comes from Japanese animation studio Production IG, which is behind the Star Wars: Visions (2021) episode “The Ninth Jedi.”

Unfortunately, though, franchise figurehead Arnold Schwarzenegger has no involvement. Earlier this year, the iconic actor told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s “done” with Terminator, saying, “The franchise is not done. I’m done. I got the message loud and clear that the world wants to move on with a different theme regarding The Terminator. Someone has to come up with a great idea.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Terminator: Dark Fate'
Credit: Skydance

There’s no release date for Terminator: The Anime Series yet, and we also don’t know which aspect of the Terminator franchise it might be connected to (if any), however, the synopsis reveals that it will be set in 1997, the same year T2 takes place in. It also suggests a different course for the events that follow the James Cameron sequel (there are already a few depending on which timeline you choose), which might even suggest that this is a reboot of the iconic sequel.

Per Deadline, the official synopsis describes “a future war” that “has raged for decades between the few human survivors and an endless army of machines.” It also reveals that the series takes place in 1997, when “the AI known as Skynet gained self-awareness and began its war against humanity.” The story revolves around a soldier who is sent back in time “to change the fate of humanity,” arriving in 1997 to protect a scientist named Malcolm Lee.

While it’s the first animated installment in the franchise, the upcoming anime isn’t the first television series; that honor goes to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 — 2009), which stars Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and Thomas Dekker as John Connor.

Are you excited about Terminator: The Anime Series? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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