He won’t be back. At least for now. Despite a healthy worldwide box office, the terrible reviews, fan hatred and poor domestic takings seem to have ended plans for a Terminator: Genisys sequel with Paramount announcing it is now pulled. To further the ignominy, it’s date has swiftly been filled by Baywatch, starring Zac Ephron. Terminator: Genisys was meant to be the start of a new Terminator trilogy with release dates already planned for parts 2 and 3. After opening to poor reviews and not even topping $90m in the US, it looks like not even a respectable worldwide haul can save the franchise.
It’s as though a news story has travelled from the past to the future. Terminator Salvation (2009) was planned as the start of a new trilogy before poor reviews and ticket sales saw those plans shelved. Whilst there may well be no fate but what we make, the same doesn’t seem to hold for Hollywood’s attempt to keep the (still much-loved) franchise alive. Critics tore into Terminator: Genisys for it’s convoluted plotting, blatant attempts to ape Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and generic action sequences.
Terminators are hard to kill however. Skydance, makers of Genisys, only hold the rights until 2019. After that they revert to a gentleman called James Cameron, the only person many people see capable of making a proper Terminator movie. But don’t hold your breath. Avatars 2, 3 and 4 will be occupying him for the foreseeable future. And we’ll politely ignore his glowing endorsement of Terminator: Genisys last year. But would he consider stepping back into Skynet‘s world? Would he make one without Arnie, who’s ageing was perhaps dealt with as well as it was possible to in Genisys?
The problem, if you can call it that, is Terminator 2: Judgement Day. That was such a perfect action movie, and such a definitive Terminator film, that anything that followed was bound to be considered an also-ran. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) could have been an ok addition but was hampered by a misguided attempt to try to outdo the liquid metal T-1000 from Terminator 2 together with some woeful miscasting (Nick Stahl apologists please leave your comments below). The mistake all the efforts post Judgement Day have made is to ignore what made the first two so perfect. They were lean and mean chase movies; T2 is effectively a rerun of original The Terminator (1984). The later movies jettisoned this simplicity and sense of urgency, and none more so than Genisys.
We have no doubt another iteration of Terminator will come our way some day. The concept is just too good and the fondness and love of the first two films too great for someone not to have another stab at it. Whether anyone could entangle the franchises convoluted and confusing timeline successfully without going back to the beginning or undergoing a complete reboot is a question that lives in the future.