In their reaction to the new Terminator: Geniysis Super Bowl ad, Vulture pleaded, “Can someone explain to us what exactly is happening in this trailer for the new Terminator? Arnold’s back, we get that, but why are there so many of him? And why are some old (silver-fox Arnold!) while others are young and others are bare-chested? Can’t wait to hear them say ‘We’ll be back’ in unison.” What? How on Earth are you confused? Don’t you guys get paid to obsessively track the news related to big movies like this and not have to turn to your comments section for free research? Of course, then I watch the actual Super Bowl ad, and, yeah, it’s probably going to confuse people:
It works a lot better if you’ve already seen the slightly more informative full trailer which debuted last month:
The SuperBowl ad presents some new footage, and teases a new threat, something not quite completely metal or man and definitely not liquid metal:
Yeah, I have no idea what that is (a T-800 with fire-resistant skin, maybe?). That’s totally new to me, too. But as for why there are more than one Arnold’s running around in the trailer, well, I’ve got hat covered. The plot details were first officially discussed in an Entertainment Weekly’s cover story, which has now found its way to Wikipedia:
In 2029, John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the Resistance, continues the war against the machines. On the verge of winning the war, John is notified that Skynet will attack him from two fronts, past and future, and will ultimately change warfare forever.
Connor sends his trusted lieutenant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back through time to save his mother’s life and ensure his own existence. However, Kyle finds the original past changed. In the new timeline, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was orphaned at age nine by a T-800 sent to kill her when she was young. She’s been raised by another Terminator T-800 (Arnold) programmed to protect her and train her to face her destiny, which she adamantly tries to reject. Now, Kyle, Sarah, and the old T-800 have to escape the new Terminators sent by Skynet to kill them.
This idea was partially keyed off of the fact that no one involved with Genisys could envision making a new Terminator movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger, an obvious problem since he’s much older now. Terminator 1 & 2 writer-director James Cameron, who’s not officially involved with the new movie, pointed out that the living flesh over metal endoskeleton nature of the terminators meant that the living flesh would appear to age just as it would in a normal human being. To put it another, if Arnold’s Terminator from Terminator 2 had not self-terminated much to young John Connor’s dismay, and instead stuck around to help Sarah raise John he would now look roughly like present-day Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’d also be a fairly bad dad:
The screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) took Cameron’s idea, and steered things toward a J.J. Abrams Star Trek-like alternate timeline scenario which can re-start the franchise without necessarily canceling out anything that came before. Except the break isn’t going to be nearly as clean as it was in Star Trek. Instead, they’re actually going to revisit key scenes from the first two Terminator film. So, you have Kyle Reese’s arrival in 1984 starting off exactly the same before Sarah Connor suddenly shows up to change everything. You also have the older T-800 Terminator carrying a shotgun and walking with a purpose toward the younger T-800 right after it arrives in 1984. They did that last part by creating what they’re calling a “digital actor,” allowing modern day Arnold to appear to interact with a 1984 version. This is supposed to kick off a new trilogy of films, and I’m guessing the sequels will be less concerned with revisiting the prior films.
It all has the potential to go very wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey on us, as Doctor Who would put it, and sort of presents Genisys as the Back to the Future 2 of the Terminator franchise, i.e., the one that has the most fun with time travel, possibly to its detriment (e.g., they can’t change the timeline too severely because if Kyle and Sarah don’t have sex then John Connor won’t be born, and then he won’t have ever sent Kyle into the past to begin with and….). As a result, this movie may have a hard time winning over new fans, and the trailers mostly pretend like we’ve all already seen the first Terminator movies anyway. However, even older fans might immediately look at the trailers to this point and decide that Jason Clarke is totally wrong for John Connor. At the very least, Emilia Clarke, not related to Jason Clarke btw, makes for a surprisingly bad-ass Sarah Connor, not quite Linda Hamilton in T2 strong, but not Linda Hamilton in T1 weak either. It’s awesome that it’s the girl telling the guy, “Come with me if you want to live” this time.
This may end up being a Terminator movie that is just a little bit too much about itself, but I love Terminator. I watched the first Terminator well before I was actually old enough for it, and I was there opening day for Terminator 2, again technically too young to actually be there. Despite my wiser impulses, I was there opening weekend for both Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation, and I will be there opening weekend for Terminator: Geniysis when it arrives July 1, 2015.
What about you? Are you still confused? Do you just want to know when we’re going to see Matt Smith in this thing? His role will apparently be major, but in terms of screen time much bigger in the sequels, should they get made. Are you confused why they’re calling it Geniysis instead of “Genesis”? We all are! What ever happened to that concurrent TV show they were talking about doing? Nothing, last I checked. Any other questions? Let me know in the comments.
Terminator: Geniysis is due out July 1, 2015, from director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World). Should it be successful, they will shoot the sequels back-to-back, and put them out May 19, 2017 and June 29, 2018.