If there’s one thing you can say about whomever holds the rights to the Terminator franchise at any one moment, it’s that they certainly don’t lack in ambition. T3: Rise of the Machines was originally supposed to lay the groundwork for a new trilogy of movies to follow, but due to the fact that, y’know, it was a bad movie, that never panned out. The same happened with Terminator: Salvation, with not even the one-two combo of Christian Bale and Sam Worthington being able to pull it off.
But new paymaster siblings Megan Ellison (Annapurna Pictures) and David Ellison (Skydance Productions), may just have come up with the most ambitious plan yet: A TV series that will crossover with the new movie.
The news comes via THR who reports that the Ellisons have now turned to Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller, who wrote and produced the previous Terminator TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, as well as penning Thor and X-Men: First Class. The duo will be writing and executive producing this new, still unnamed Terminator series, which will serve as a companion piece to the new rebooted trilogy.
As to just what those movies and TV series would be about, well we’ve finally got our first clues. It appears that, as I suspected, there’s going to be some time travel element to change the timeline we already know.
The TV series will follow a critical moment from the first Terminator film (1984), and where the film’s story goes one way, the upcoming series will take the same moment in a completely different direction. As the rebooted film trilogy and the new TV series progress, the two narratives will intersect with each other in surprising and dramatic ways.
So that would lead me to think that we’ll be dealing with two separate groups of characters, their stories now not just heading off a direction different to each other, but also different to the original timeline established in the original trilogy. Based on the casting shortlist and character descriptions we’ve seen thus far for the new movie, I’ve had the theory that either the young Sarah Connor (supposedly played by either Emilia Clarke or Brie Larson) will somehow be heading off to the future, or her adult son, John Connor (rumoured shortlist consisting of Garret Hedlund and Boyd Holbrook), will finally make the trip back in time himself to be with his, at the time, quite young mother. The first possibility makes the most sense to me, and that could mean that we would have a scenario where Sarah’s future adventures are tackled in the movies, whereas some other band of characters are followed in the modern day. And due to the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff already in play, it could mean that at some point some more characters from the past could travel to the future, and vice versa.
Whether or not that scenario actually happens or we get something wildly different, we do know one thing for sure: Arnie will be back. Schwarzenegger is confirmed to be reprise arguably his most famous role as the T-800 Terminator robot in the new movie trilogy’s “time spanning story”, and according to THR his character will be “tasked with protecting Sarah Connor as she grows up”. That certainly ties into my “Young Sarah Connor in the future” theory quite nicely.
Whatever happens, this is certainly one insanely ambitious way to tell this story. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer had a similarly ambitious plan to adapt Stephen King’s sprawling epic, The Dark Tower (they would have alternated back and forthe several times between a movie and a season of the TV series, with the latter doing all the long form world building in between the bigger budgeted cinematic thrills) but hit a huge bump in the road when they realized “Oh, crap. This is going to cost mountains of money”. And even after getting an offer for said mountains, Howard and Grazer are still toiling away at getting this done.
Could the Ellisons, with their famously deep pockets, now pull off what Howard and Grazer still haven’t been able to, and this is with them facing the uphill battle of an audience that’s now been burnt twice already in as many movies?
Last Updated: December 9, 2013