When James Cameron made The Terminator in 1984, he was under the gun to complete a complex and ambitious film shoot on a limited budget. Heck, even working on Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he was facing doubters as the budget for that film ballooned and its complicated digital effects had yet to be tested before an audience. Still, a brand name is a brand name, and Hollywood loves a brand name, so even without Cameron, people have been trying to make mo’ money off Terminator, as evidenced by the upcoming and oddly spelled Terminator: Genisys. But what does Cameron himself think of the new film? Is he okay with it, is he concerned about it tarnishing his legacy, and will he do more Terminator in the future with an important deadline concerning rights pending?
The filmmaker opened up to Empire about his legacy on the franchise he kick started back in 1984. First of all, Cameron is more than aware of the new Terminator. In fact, a trusted colleague wrote the script. “I’m friendly with the filmmakers, the writer Laeta Kalogridis has worked with me on projects,” he said. Kalogridis was a producer on Avatar and is writing the screenplay for Cameron’s Battle Angel adaptation, and thanks to that connection, Cameron has high hopes.
“I’m hoping it’s great,” he said. “I’d like them to get it right, and based on the script that I read there’s a pretty good chance that it could. It looks like it could be fun.”
Of course, I’m sure Cameron said that about all the past Terminator films that didn’t have his name on it. After two sequels and a TV series that failed to capitalize on the Terminator brand, one might think that the “King of the World” would be concerned about his legacy, but according to Cameron he’s remarkably unconcerned about his legacy in regards to this particular film series.
“It’s not my problem!” he explained. “It’s like being a grandparent, the kids come over and you can send them back! When I walked away from the franchise, I had to do it with the sense that I can invest in emotion. To me, it’s all upside, because if it’s good, it’s good for Arnold [Schwarzenegger], my friend Laeta and if it’s not good? It doesn’t bother me personally.”
But regardless of Cameron’s feelings about the film, or whether or not it’s a box office success, the rights to Terminator reverts back to Cameron in 2019. So how about it, James? Any plans to go back to the future with SkyNet and killer robots and Sarah Connor? “I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet,” Cameron said. “I’ve got plenty of time to think about it. It might be fun to completely re-invent the franchise. A lot has to do with what happens with it in the meantime, people may have Terminator fatigue.”
Of course, Cameron’s primary occupation right now is with the three Avatar sequels, which at this rate will keep him occupied right through to 2019, if not 2029 the way things are going… “I’m just visiting Earth tonight; I normally live on Pandora, where I work,” he said in a brief update about the sequel trilogy.” We’re gearing up, we’re in the design phase right now, completing the drafts for three scripts. We’ve got a whole art department with walls plastered with amazing designs that I wish I could share with everybody, but that’s what the film’s for!”
Terminator: Genisys will be in theaters July 1, 2015. Avatar 2, 3, and 4 will be in theaters… Eventually.