Arnold Schwarzenegger Slams Terminator Sequels And Reveals His Future With The Franchise

Arnold Schwarzenegger had issues with the quality of the writing on the last Terminator movies and says he won't be returning in the franchise.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

terminator genisys

Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be back as the Terminator. As reported by the Independent, Schwarzenegger has officially given word that he is finished with the franchise that launched his acting career. He appeared in all but one of the Terminator sequels as the hulking AI model T-800.

“The franchise is not done. I’m done,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “I got the message loud and clear that the world wants to move on with a different theme when it comes to The Terminator. Someone has to come up with a great idea.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger originated the role in James Cameron’s 1984 classic The Terminator. He returned with Cameron for 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day and again in 2003 for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. That film, however, did not involve Cameron.

Critics and audiences loved the first two, but enthusiasm cooled off with the release of Rise of the Machines. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, loved it. “The first three movies were great,” he said. “Number four [Salvation] I was not in because I was governor.” 

Terminator Salvation, the 2009 entry starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, earned low marks with critics and audiences, and is the only one in the franchise not to feature Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor returned for Terminator Genisys in 2015 to earn similarly low marks; Genisys bottomed out with a 26% critic score and 52% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator: Genisys

Terminator: Dark Fate released in 2019 and saw the return of Linda Hamilton to the cast and James Cameron to the producer role. It received the best fan and audience reactions the franchise had seen since Judgment Day. But for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator: Dark Fate still did not hit the mark.

Schwarzenegger said Genisys and Dark Fate “didn’t close the deal”. And he had the reason why: “We knew that ahead of time because they were just not well written.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be leaving the Terminator franchise behind, but he is still keen on reigniting some of his other past characters. The actor is attached to The Legend of Conan, a sequel to his 1980s fantasy epics in which he plays the title character.

He has also long been attached to Triplets, a sequel to his 1988 comedy breakout Twins. In that film, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play an unlikely set of twins separated at birth who reconnect as adults. The sequel is rumored to include Eddie Murphy as a third long lost brother.

As much as Arnold Schwarzenegger may want to turn Twins into a hit franchise like Terminator, the project has had a lot of trouble getting off the ground. Triplets was in development with the original film’s director, Ivan Reitman, who passed away in 2022. His son, Jason Reitman, the filmmaker behind Ghostbusters: Afterlife, allegedly halted the project.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 for the final time in Terminator: Dark Fate

“Jason Reitman f***ed it up!” Schwarzenegger said. “Jason Reitman literally stopped the project when his father died. His father wanted to do it really badly. I wanted to do it really badly. Danny DeVito wanted to do it really badly. We had the financing.”

According to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Reitman said what the Terminator producers apparently never have. “When his father passed away, Jason says, ‘I never liked the idea’ and put a hold on it.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger will be seen next in the Netflix series FUBAR, set to hit the streamer May 25. The series follows Schwarzenegger, a CIA agent about to retire, who is lured into one final mission when he discovers his daughter is also secretly an operative.

The star also claims to be developing another movie with Danny DeVito. It is unclear what that move will be, but one thing seems certain: fans won’t see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito teaming up in a Terminator movie.