James Cameron Plans to Reinvent the ‘Terminator’ Series

In 1984, a filmmaker with only one movie to his credit – a film called Piranha II: The Spawning – directed a relatively low-budget sci-fi horror movie about an unstoppable killing machine, hunting a woman who would one day give birth to the savior of mankind. And somehow, that bizarre-sounding movie launched a groundbreaking motion picture franchise, and the career of a filmmaker who would soon be hailed as one of cinema’s greatest wunderkinds.

James Cameron’s The Terminator led to the even more successful and popular Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but when James Cameron left the series the films floundered. Three sequels were produced – Terminator 3: Rise of the MachinesTerminator Salvation and Terminator: Genisys – and although at least one of those was pretty good (watch Rise of the Machines again, there are some great ideas and action sequences), they failed to recapture the magic and reinvigorate the audience’s interest in the series.

But the good news, we think, is that James Cameron is coming back. The fine print in U.S. Copyright Law gives James Cameron will soon revert some control over the Terminator franchise back to the original filmmaker, and in an interview with News.com.au, he confirmed that he’s already thinking about how to get the series back on track.

TriStar Pictures

“The question is — has the franchise run its course or can it be freshened up?,James Cameron says. “Can it still have relevance now where so much of our world is catching up to what was science fiction in the first two films. We live in a world of predator drones and surveillance and big data and emergent AI (artificial intelligence).”

“So I am in discussions with David Ellison who is the current rights holder globally for the Terminator franchise and the rights in the US market revert to me under US copyright law in a year and a half so he and I are talking about what we can do. Right now we are leaning toward doing a three-film arc and reinventing it.”

Of course, those talks are still in the early phases. James Cameron adds, “We’ll put more meat on the bones if we get past the next couple of hurdles as and when we announce that.”

Paramount Pictures

It might be easier to get excited about James Cameron making more Terminator movies if he hadn’t publicly declared that Terminator: Genisys, a movie that mainstream audiences and hardcore fans completely rejected, was a “renaissance” for the series. But in this new interview, James Cameron admits that he was just being polite as a favor to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“I think it’s fairly widely known that I don’t have a lot of respect for the films that were made later, James Cameron says. “I was supportive at the time in each case for Arnold’s sake because he is a close friend. He has been a mate of mine since 33 years ago so I was always supportive and never too negative. But they didn’t work for me for various reasons.”

James Cameron is currently developing the sequels to his 3D blockbuster Avatar, which are due out in theaters in 2020, 2021, 2014 and 2025.


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Top Photo: Paramount Pictures

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.