The Terminator film franchise has been a mess for years. James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day was such an incredible flex – a stone cold action/sci-fi classic and a franchise-redefining powerhouse that pushed visual effects to the brink of what was possible at the time – that all other Terminator sequels have paled in comparison. Each of the sequels have little moments that shine, but overall, Judgment Day simply casts too large a shadow for them to escape. Even when Cameron was directly involved with crafting a sequel’s story, as was the case with the recent Terminator: Dark Fate, audiences just didn’t seem interested. So the franchise continues to sputter along.
But in an alternate timeline, it could have sputtered down an entirely different path. Patrick Lussier, who co-wrote 2015’s Terminator Genisys, was recently interviewed and explained the direction the unmade Terminator Genisys sequels (yes, plural) would have gone, with a focus on the time loop angle and more of Doctor Who star Matt Smith‘s portrayal of Skynet.
On a recent episode of The Production Meeting Podcast, Lussier spilled the beans about the would-be Genisys sequels. “We wrote like two drafts of the next one, the direct sequel, and had an outline for the third one, what that would be, that answered all the questions that were presented in Genisys and brought it back around and closed it all off,” he said.
And when he was asked if these sequels would have tried to forge their own identities instead of being more of a love letter to the first two movies in the franchise, Lussier said, “Yes. They were introducing new characters. They dealt more with how the future and where Skynet comes from and what that sort of time loop is. That Matt Smith character. It became much more of a focus, so they were probably a little trippier and stood away from T2 a little more. Started having their own identity. There’s sort of an interesting escaping the fatalistic part of it…who knows? Maybe one day they’ll release it as a comic or something.”
In 2018, actor Jason Clarke stated that the potential Genisys sequel would focus on a cyborg version of his iteration of John Connor. “What I remember was that second one was going to be about John’s journey after he was taken by Skynet…like going down to what he became; half machine, half man,” Clarke said. “That’s where the second one was going to start, and that’s about all I knew.”
Lussier never explicitly mentioned John Connor in this new interview, but he did describe the sequel’s opening as “very cool,” so it’s possible John Connor could have been heavily featured in that opening scene.
The idea of Terminator sequels pushing forward and creating their own identities might sound good on paper, but ultimately, this is the case of a franchise that reached its full potential in the second movie and has never been able to reach those heights again. I’m not convinced these movies would have been enough to get the movies back on track…but at least The Sarah Connor Chronicles was pretty good.
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