It was revealed on January 20 this year that James Cameron was officially involved in shepherding a new entry in the 'Terminator' saga that began in 1984 with science-fiction, action film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as an unstoppable killer cyborg from a post-apocalyptic future. Now, Cameron has talked about the approach to the new movie that he developed with 'Deadpool' director Tim Miller.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that was published on September 27, filmmaker James Cameron sat down with Tim Miller, who'll helm the new Terminator movie, to discuss the inspiration for the upcoming sixth 'Terminator' entry and how it would take the story forward.
The 'Terminator' movies always hinged on the idea that artificial intelligence (A.I.) would surround humanity one day and would become self-aware; seeing humanity as a threat to its existence. When asked by a THR host why he was doing another 'Terminator' movie than attempting something new, Cameron responded, "There's a pride of authorship in anything that you do, and when David and I started talking about this, it made sense for me to see if there was a way to bring it into this century and to relevance."
He continued, "I look at what's happening now with the emergence of artificial general intelligence equal to or greater than humans', and you've got Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking and others saying that this could be really bad for the survival of the human race. What was science fiction in the '80s is now imminent. It's coming over the horizon at us. And there's been a resurgence of fear and concern about nuclear weapons and so on.
"So all of these apocalyptic elements are out there. The first two Terminator films that I did deal with the angst around that and how we reconcile it for ourselves in a fantasy context. So I got excited about the idea of finding a story that made sense for now." Cameron then proceeded to add that this is a direct continuation of the story set up in 'The Terminator' and 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day' and that they are ignoring the three follow-ups as if they were "a bad dream," or "an alternate timeline."
Cameron was initially reluctant to be involved with the 'Terminator ' franchise again after 26 years but it was Tim Miller who was more passionate about it. Cameron, however, insisted that the new movie reflects the current world we live in right now; one where A.I. is a reality.
Talking about A,I. Cameron expressed his fears of technology developing at an unprecedented rate without much anticipation of consequences. He said, "At the very least, they will reflect our best and worst nature because we make them and we program them. But it's going to take a lot of money. So who's got the money to do it and the will to do it? It could be business, so the Googles and the other big tech companies. And if you're doing it for business, you're doing it to improve your market share or whatever your business goals are. So you're essentially taking a machine smarter than a human and teaching it greed. Or it's for defense, in which case you're taking a machine smarter than a human and teaching it to kill. Neither one of those has a good outcome in my mind."
Cameron also revealed that though Linda Hamilton was returning as Sarah Connor, in addition to Schwarzenegger, the aim of the filmmakers is to pass the torch to new young characters who'll take the series in a new direction. Like what happened with 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' He revealed that they are looking for "an 18-something young woman" to eventually become the main character in future sequels if this one succeeds.
Alan Taylor's 'Terminator Genisys' was supposed to reboot the series but it failed critically and commercially to help start a new trilogy, which Tim Miller's movie is also set-up for. It remains to be seen whether today's audience is as interested in seeing an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton fight killer robots from the future as fans of the first two films are. Cameron says he has confidence in Miller and in producer David Ellison.
The untitled 'Terminator' movie is set to release in the United Sates on July 26, 2019.