There have been two efforts to recapture the magic of James Cameron's first two Terminator films, and while Terminator 3 and Salvation had their merits, neither really cleared the bar. We still don't know if Terminator: Genisys is any good, but you can rest assured the producers have an ambitious plan if this pre-sequel becomes a hit.
Skydance Productions head David Ellison conducted a wide-ranging interview with /Film and talked at length about the studio's plans for the new-look Terminator franchise. As we've gleaned in the past, Ellison confirmed that the company is aiming to spawn a new trilogy with Genisys — though he admitted the final decision will obviously rest with the folks buying the tickets.
But if Genisys does prove to be a hit this week? Ellison said they are aiming for something in the vein of Star Wars and The Dark Knight, which we have to admit are some ambitious would-be bedfellows. It sounds like the creative team already has two more movies mapped out, so here's hoping Genisys is actually any good:
"Right now, the audience is 100% going to decide if there is another movie, but we're wanting to hopefully plan for the success and plan for the future. My favorite trilogies of all time—I think me and Dana share that—are the Star Wars trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And those two have one thing in common which was they were all written prior to shooting a frame of the first movie. They knew they were going to, so you weren't having to figure it out as you go along. Obviously there are very successful examples of that, The Dark Knight being one that is unbelievable, but we wanted to know where we were heading. We spent a lot of time breaking that down, and we do know what the last line of the third movie is, should we be lucky enough to get to make it."
The big plans don't end with the movies. Ellison said they're also actively developing concepts for a Terminator television show, which will have "connective tissue" with the film series. He also teased that the series will likely have a limited episode count and land on a cable network — but if anything, we'd just like to see them revive Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. That cliffhanger is still killing us.
Here's an excerpt from Ellison's notes on the TV project:
"Our gut aspiration would be a cable-driven show for something like Terminator. It's amazing to be in the network space. We have not been a part of it yet, but obviously when you're focused on making 13 episodes, it allows you to have more development time to dive deeper. That being said, there have been amazing shows on network television. One of my favorites is the first couple seasons of Alias. I'll never forget seeing J.J.'s pilot for that show and just being blown away and floored by how phenomenal it was, and so it really is on a case-by-case basis. And Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob's [Roberto Orci] writing on those first two seasons, I mean I was riveted, absolutely loved it. I really think it depends on what executives and who wants to do what at what particular point in time."
Terminator: Genisys opens Wednesday.