Different reports paint confusing picture for Terminator franchise

Contributed by
Mar 21, 2017

Two very different news stories are sending out very mixed signals about the future of the troubled Terminator saga.

First, a report from the New York Daily News (via Den of Geek) quotes unnamed sources as saying that a potential sixth film in the series has been canceled outright and that star Arnold Schwarzenegger -- who returned after 12 years away for 2015's Terminator Genisys -- will not be back for any more outings in his signature role:

"It is over for The Terminator and Arnold. The studio has taken the sequel off the production slate completely, meaning there is no preproduction or any plans for another sequel. The talent had been offered long term deals, but this is not happening. The Genisys movie was seen as a way of reviving (the franchise), but the critics were not happy and somehow the studio bosses fell out of love with making more, even though they made huge profits."

"Huge profits" may refer to the series overall but decidedly not the most recent movie: According to some reports, Terminator: Genisys had to make around $450 million worldwide just to break even, and it ended up hauling in approximately $440 million -- not enough to make a sixth film look like a financially attractive bet for the studio, Paramount, which has had a number of problems in recent years.

Yet even as the news broke that Arnold was hanging up his leather jacket and sunglasses for good, David Ellison of Skydance -- the production company that owns the Terminator rights at the moment -- gave Collider this startling update:

"I will say we have resolved the future of the franchise and believe me its an incredibly bright future. I think where it’s going will be the continuation of what the fans really wanted since T2 ... We have something this year that we will be announcing for the franchise. It’s something we're incredibly excited about and we think is the direction it needs to head."

Huh? On one hand you have the series' one truly iconic star apparently walking away from a failed franchise, but on the other hand you have a producer of that same property saying that things are looking better than ever. Which is it?

Don't forget, it was also reported in January that James Cameron was going to oversee a new Terminator film with Tim Miller of Deadpool fame directing. Does Ellison's comment mean that the deal has been signed for both Cameron and Miller, and that the project is officially a go? Could it also mean that the series is no longer with Paramount and has found a new studio home? Would all that be enough to lure Arnold back, or will the next Terminator chapter be a completely fresh start?

These are the questions that will hopefully be answered in the weeks or months ahead. I've been solidly in the "give it a rest" camp about this franchise for a while now, but remain curious about what Ellison, and possibly Cameron and Miller, have up their sleeves.

How about you?