So, apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger's announcement of a return to acting has prompted new interest in resurrecting his signature franchise, The Terminator. And while we all know that said time-traveling cyborg is keen to announce that he will be back, isn't it time to ask him to reconsider? Can't The Terminator just stay away?
I'm not going to argue that the first two Terminator movies are exactly what you want movies about time-traveling cyborgs trying to change history to their advantage to be (I will admit that I much, much prefer the first to the second. There's something about Edward Furlong, I'm sorry), but, come on people: Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation are both horrible messes of movies that run the charm and invention of the first two into the ground and then keep going (There are those who think that McG's Salvation was a bold reinvention of the series, but for the most part, they're either mistaken or insane).
It'd be ridiculous in this day and age to suggest that we carefully and respectfully lay the franchise to rest and remember it fondly (Any world where The Black Hole and Tron manage to make a comeback is one where someone will always be trying to make a Terminator movie, for better or - let's be honest - worse. In fact, Deadline reports that Universal is looking into bringing the franchise back as a vehicle for The Fast and The Furious franchise director Justin Lin, while the co-writer of the first two movies has an outline doing the rounds for his take on the fifth and sixth installments in the series. But if we have to have another Terminator movie, does it have to have Schwarzenegger in it?
Yes, I know that Schwarzenegger is the face of the Terminator and everything, and yes, I know that the Schwarzenegger-less Salvation felt more like a generic future-dystopia-fighting-machines movie than a Terminator movie. But! But neither have to be true, and it'd be nice to think that neither will be true when the inevitable next Terminator hits theaters. Here's why:
Arnold Schwarzenegger Is 64 years oldYes, he looks good for being 64 years old, but still: I'd like to think that Skynet would model their unstoppable killing machines on someone who was at least born in the latter half of the 20th century. Also: If the Terminators are (a) artificial and (b) able to change their shape, why would they all look the same anyway, never mind like someone who should be retired already?
Terminator: Salvation Sucked Because It Forgot What Terminator Movies Are All AboutYou know what makes a Terminator movie a Terminator movie? It's very simple math: Killer Robot + Time Travel. Alter the math - like in Salvation, for example (Killer Robot X 1,000,000 + Kooky Christian Bale) - and it's just not the same (Terminator 3, for all it's horror, was at least recognizable as a Terminator movie). You don't need Schwarzenegger to do Terminator, but you do need time travel.
Thing is, there's almost no way that whoever ends up making the next Terminator movie won't want Schwarzenegger at least for a cameo - Who could turn up that piece of fan service, after all - and so, fittingly, only one man can make a difference here. Mr. Schwarzenegger, you've saved the fictional world countless times, you've surprisingly lead California without it resulting in the destruction of that state in a pyrotechnic display worthy of James Cameron, but now it's time to show what you're really made of: Are you strong enough to say no when they ask you to reprise your most famous role, to give Terminator a chance at new life?