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SYFY WIRE the terminator

'Terminator' will be back as anime series at Netflix, from 'The Batman' screenwriter

By Josh Weiss

Come with Netflix if you want to live! The Terminator IP may be done on the big screen for awhile, but much like a deadly android from the far-flung future, the series is pretty much un-killable. Case in point: Netflix confirmed Friday afternoon that a Terminator anime is coming to Netflix by way of Mattson Tomlin, a screenwriter known for Project Power and Matt Reeves' The Batman.

Tomlin is ready to serve as executive producer and showrunner of the adaptation, which will be co-produced by Skydance (current owner of the franchise rights) and Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045). The latter party has been in business with Netflix since 2018. Specific plot details for the new Terminator project have yet to be sent back in time, but the thought of pairing of Japanese-style animation techniques with the action and violence of the movies sounds like a match made in Skynet heaven.

“Anyone who knows my writing knows I believe in taking big swings and going for the heart,” the writer said in a statement. “I'm honored that Netflix and Skydance have given me the opportunity to approach Terminator in a way that breaks conventions, subverts expectations and has real guts."

Terminator is one of the most iconic sci-fi stories ever created — and has only grown more relevant to our world over time. The new animated series will explore this universe in a way that has never been done before," added John Derderian, Netflix’s VP of Japan & Anime. "We can’t wait for fans to experience this amazing new chapter in the epic battle between machines and humans."

James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd kicked off the iconic and long-running property back in 1984. The story of a robot assassin sent to the past in an effort to murder the one threat to the machine uprising was an overnight success. The Terminator and its direct sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (released in 1991), are both considered cinematic masterpieces. Unfortunately, none of the subsequent entries (save for the acclaimed, short-lived Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show) have been able to reach the same heights.

The most recent big screen installment, Terminator: Dark Fate, attempted a soft reboot with James Cameron working as an executive producer. Directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool), the 2019 release was positively received, but ended up being a box office disappointment. Despite so many critical and financial flops, the combined box office draw of all six features is just a hair over $2 billion. Still, the Terminator brand isn't what it once was, and could probably use a fresh start in a brand-new medium. An anime interpretation of the eternal battle of machines vs. humanity seems like just the thing to revamp the nearly 40-year-old genre vintage.

"I asked my long-time friend and colleague Mamoru Oshii what he thought about the idea of turning the Terminator into an animated series,” said Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, president and CEO of Production I.G. “His response was ‘Ishikawa, are you out of your mind?’ At that instant, I was confident we should get onboard. As huge fans, our team at Production I.G is putting their heart and souls into creating this series. We hope fans will enjoy it!”

Netflix's ever-growing library of anime titles includes such recognizable names as Pacific Rim, Altered CarbonTomb Raider, and Kong: Skull Island.