He’ll be back: Arnold Schwarenegger, that is. Director James Cameron? He offered some free advice, but basically said “thanks, but no thanks” to returning to the “Terminator” franchise he created, in so doing intimating that the franchise installments three and four ruined the series. It’s hard to argue with him after McG’s brutalizing “Terminator Salvation,” which seemed like it nailed the coffin shut in the franchise. But given the brand’s value, it’s perhaps naïve to think that it would lay dormant. So after lots of back and forth of ownership, Paramount Studios picked it up, alongside David Ellison of Skydance Productions (Megan Ellison was once involved but eventually backed out).
And so it’s a quasi-reboot of the series. “Game Of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke plays Sarah Connor, a role made famous originally by Linda Hamilton, Jai Courtney (“Live Free And Die Hard”) stars as Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn’s role in the original film) and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”) stars as John Connor, who comes back from the future (played by Christian Bale and Edward Furlong previously).
What’s the synopsis? Well, Paramount hasn’t released one, but details on the plot leaked out from EW a few weeks ago. And there are twists and surprises.
Set in 2029, the Future War is raging and a group of human rebels headed by resistance leader John Connor has the evil artificial-intelligence system Skynet on the ropes. Like the original film, Connor sends his loyal soldier Kyle Reese (Courtney) back to 1984 to save his mother Sarah from a Terminator programmed to kill her so she won’t ever give birth to John.
In this new version, Sarah Connor was orphaned by a Terminator as a child and has since been raised by Schwarzenegger’s Terminator who she calls “Pops.” Not a joke: he’s also programmed to guard rather than to kill. So rather than an innocent like she was in the first film, in ‘Genisys, Connor is an antisocial recluse who’s much more at ease with arms and guns than with people.
And remember, this is supposed to be the first in a new planned trilogy, but that was surely the hope for ‘Salvation’ as well, and look how that turned out. It sounds like a risky gamble (and it hurts my head to think of all the time travel implications), but clearly Paramount are going for broke.
Written by Laeta Kalogridis (not so coincidentally a James Cameron writer and “Avatar” ex-producer) and Patrick Lussier and directed by Alan Taylor (“Thor: The Dark World”), the action drama also stars Matt Smith, Byung-Hun Lee, Dayo Okeniyi, Courtney B. Vance, Sandrine Holt and J.K. Simmons. “Terminator Genisys” lands in theaters July 1, 2015. He’ll be back! Watch the first trailer below.