Franchises. Funny old things. They come and go. They get sequelled, prequelled and reboot(ll)ed. But fundamentally they exist in order to generate a buttload of money for their investors, however wildly the quality of their output fluctuates. For a significant number of the older movie franchises, such as Indiana Jones, Aliens and Predator, attempts to revive their past fortunes have met with embarrassing levels of failure. Few though have suffered ignominies and slights on the same scale as that of The Terminator series, which is still going with Terminator 6.
Ever since the runaway success of 1991’s T2: Judgement Day, it’s been nothing but downhill for Arnie’s T-800. With the storylines starting to creak as much as the Austrian Oak himself, things finally hit rock bottom back in 2015 with the spectacularly awful Terminator: Genisys, whose horrendous car-crash of a performance seemed to finally spell the end of the whole sorry affair.
James Cameron though, isn’t really a man who understands the concept of failure, and so he’s hit upon a way of keeping the franchise going. Basically he’s decided to completely ignore the 25 years that have elapsed since Judgement Day, and create a new direct sequel to his movie. Variety magazine are today reporting he’s gone and found his new leading lady, in the form of Canadian actress MacKenzie Davis.
The 30 year old Vancouver native has already managed to amass an impressive CV. As well as brief appearances in The Martian and Blade Runner 2049, she also fronted hit TV show Halt & Catch Fire, and starred in the iconic Black Mirror episode ‘San Junipero’. She’s undeniably talented, but in agreeing to front a new Terminator movie she’s set herself an inevitably hard task.
The Terminator franchise has already chewed up and spat out more than its fair share of incredibly talented female leads. It’s unlikely that GoT actresses Lena Headey or Emilia Clarke would ever hold their individual performances as Sarah Connor up as their finest work, and neither Claire Danes or Bryce Dallas Howard emerged from their movies with anything other than a critical kicking.
The problem is that it’s hard to make your mark on a movie that insists on keeping the ageing Arnold Schwarzenegger an integral part of it. Whether desperately trying to keep the weight off, or recreated in poorly rendered digital effects, he’s an ongoing distraction that audiences simply cannot forgive. There are some small signs however that this time things might play out a little differently.
Despite Arnie again being attached to appear, the new movie will be the first time that Linda Hamilton has returned to the franchise, with Variety keen to confirm that Davis will not be playing Sarah Connor. There’s also the suggestion that with Davis playing a new kick-ass female lead, then this time round the narrative focus won’t necessarily be again on the terminally unlucky Kyle Reece.
With Cameron tied up directing countless Avatar sequels, as well as this year’s live action adaptation of Manga novel Alita: Battle Angel, Tim Miller has been bought on to direct the as-yet untitled sixth movie in the franchise. With his keen eye for engaging visuals and high levels of humour, and Cameron returning for production duties, there’s every chance that the pitfalls of the past may well stand a good chance of being avoided this time round.
Terminator 6 is due for release on July 26, 2019.