Returning to the original villain in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 may be the answer for reviving the Terminator franchise.
Which has been struggling to regain audience interest for some time. The Terminator, which was released in 1984, was a huge success for director James Cameron.
After the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
The terrifying sci-fi thriller was essentially a slasher film with an added futuristic twist. It followed Sarah Connor, a human who is pursued by the titular android assassin in order to prevent her from giving birth to mankind’s future savior while fighting a war against machines.
In the film’s first sequel, Cameron completely flipped the script and created a new from the ground up. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s imposing robot was once again a protector of Sarah and her doomed son John Connor.
The pair were pursued by a newer, even more, lethal Terminator model in this iteration. However, after switching the allegiances of the title character between the first and second films. Terminator franchise quickly realized that it had nowhere else to go with Arnie’s droid.
Judgment Day was the final installment in the series to be directed by Cameron, and the critically acclaimed director was able to take the critical success of the series with him when he took a backseat on the subsequent installments.
Arnie was cast as a heroic figure once more in the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but the film struggled to make the film’s brand new villain, the first female Terminator T-X, appear as threatening as Robert Patrick’s T-1000.
Following that, the series portrayed Arnie as a wise, heroic older figure in both Terminator: Genisys and Terminator: Dark Fate, or it largely ignored his existence in Terminator Salvation, among other things.
By this point, the actor has completely reinvented himself as a family man, and the title character of the Terminator franchise has followed suit – which means that Terminator 7 should completely reinvent its eponymous villain by bringing back his lethal old self.
The first Terminator is primarily a slasher film, and Arnie’s villain is a near-unstoppable threat throughout, lacking any of the humor or levity that would characterize his later portrayals. Injecting some of that fire into the series could help it recover from its current plight, which has been struggling to keep audiences interested for several seasons.
However, while the decision to make Arnie a heroic figure in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was groundbreaking at the time, it is now clear that the Terminator has been relegated to this role, and the numerous cyborg models introduced in subsequent films have failed to match the impact of the T-800 from the original film.
Reminiscing about the 30th anniversary of Terminator 2, James Cameron revealed to The Ringer that Arnie was initially confused by the script for the sequel because it did not include any scenes of him charging into a room with guns blazing and slaughtering everyone in his path. According to Schwarzenegger, the sequence in question was his signature scene, the sequence that everyone would expect from him.
While Cameron was correct to subvert that expectation, Schwarzenegger’s comments are still relevant today. Fans of both the actor and the franchise have been let down by the bland transformation of the title character into a harmless aging hero, and returning the Terminator to his slasher roots could reignite interest by effectively reintroducing audiences to one of sci-fi cinema’s most terrifying antagonists.
Dark Fate teased Arnie’s T-800 return in a recent episode (& Let Viewers Down)
By looking at the most recent entries in the Terminator canon, it is clear that the series’ creators are aware that the franchise has gotten stuck and that they need to subvert expectations by shaking up the formula in order to revitalize the franchise.
Take, for example, Genisys, which killed off John Connor and replaced him with a disguised Terminator – only for the trailers to reveal that this was a plot twist. However, this is not the first time the franchise has come close to nailing the type of surprise that viewers require in order to become re-engaged with the series.
Terminator: Dark Fate begins with an audacious Alien 3-style opening scene in which a merciless T-800 slaughters a young John Connor.
Seeing an unarmed child gunned down was a brutal, unexpectedly dark start to the sequel, and many viewers despised it at the time it occurred.
That same moment brought to mind the take-no-prisoners tone of the original 1984 film, and it signaled that this sequel would be an uncompromising, frightening story as well, a promise that the film then reneged on throughout its running time.
One of the most embarrassing missteps of Dark Fate was the fact that it did not include any scenes as shocking as its opening kill later in the story. Instead, viewers were shown the same Terminator who killed John aging into retirement and becoming a suburban stepfather, one of the series’ most embarrassing missteps.
Terminator: Dark Fate’s Carl, like “Pops” from the Terminator: Genisys saga, is proof that the series refuses to return Arnie’s T-800 to the cold-blooded killer he once was, despite the fact that this is the single most important step the movies can take toward winning back jaded Terminator audiences.
The T-800 has the potential to eliminate Sarah Connor
The Connor family has been a major drag on the Terminator franchise over the course of three (!) failed reboot attempts, as harsh as that may sound. Despite the fact that the original narrative backbone was provided by the duo of Sarah and John Connor, no amount of recasting or time-shifting seems to be able to make the characters work again.
Even though Dark Fate recognized this early on by killing John, bringing back the T-800, and having Arnie’s Terminator kill off Sarah Connor would completely reboot the series, compel the writers to introduce new characters, and leave the world doomed to extinction by Skynet unless a new resistance movement was devised.
Current Terminator films can introduce new characters and kill them off quickly after (as demonstrated by the doomed newcomer Grace in Terminator: Dark Fate) because the Connors are always present, with at least one member of the family appearing in every film.
Terminator Salvation, whose original, superior script barely featured the franchise hero before being reworked into a more conventional sequel where he was placed front and center, was further ruined by John’s presence.
If Arnie’s original T-800 could be brought back to kill them off for good, the Terminator movies would be a better series overall. Bringing back Arnie’s original T-800 to kill them off for good would also re-establish some serious stakes in the action of the series.
The Terminator has been a hero for far too long, and the once-ferocious killer is long overdue for a new chapter in his story.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to Cinema9ja Ent. via [email protected]