James Cameron has a certain vision around movies and franchises. That much is clear. And typically, his vision tends to be something that everyone loves seeing on the big screen. It’s a win in that way. If the dude conjures it up in his mind’s eye, it almost assuredly plays well for large audiences. So it’s a pretty exciting prospect to think he’s getting back into the Terminator fold. And even beyond that, according to insider Daniel Richtman, Cameron wants to take full control over the next movie and be the vision for all future projects as well.
This rumor about James Cameron retaking the mantle in charge of future Terminator films piggybacks on the recent news that the famed director was considering get back into the franchise moving forward. At the time, it wasn’t clear what kind of role he saw for himself or if he was even interested in getting back into the director chair. But the more specifics in this rumor, with him jockeying for total creative control would make more sense than just lending another eye to the script in an upcoming film.
James Cameron, obviously, conceived of and directed the first two films, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The first one was a somewhat surprising success, earning about $78 million at the box office on just a $6 million budget. It was the followup film that really put the franchise in the stratosphere. Widely regarded as one of the best science-fiction movies of all time, Judgment Day went on to earn half a billion dollars at the box office and won numerous Academy Awards.
The success of Judgement Day sparked a franchise of movies though almost all failed to capitalize or build on the success of the first two. James Cameron wasn’t involved in the next three films, Rise of the Machines, Salvation, or Genisys. Each was problematic in their storytelling and struggled critically for a variety of reasons. None are particularly aligned with the others, with each building off new timelines because of the time-traveling and future-altering nature of the storyline.
James Cameron did have a credit for the most recent film, Terminator: Dark Fate which actually performed solidly with critics (70% on Rotten Tomatoes) but struggled at the box officer earning just $260 million on its close-to $200 million budget. That film did see Linda Hamilton reunite with Arnold Schwarzenegger on-screen in a movie that had more than a few hat tips to the originals. If anything, this felt like the third movie in the James Cameron franchise.
Whether we ever get James Cameron back behind the lens for the Terminator franchise remains to be seen. I will say, if there’s a way to salvage the concept and but some spark back into the story then bringing on the original visionary would be the way to go. Cameron, in many ways, deserves to culminate this thing along the lines of what he originally set out to do.
For the time being, he’s about to finally put out another highly-anticipated film that’s been years in the making. Avatar 2 is in post-production and is slated for a December 16, 2022 release date. That would be a mere 13 years after the original. And there are many more planned along the way. Cameron has up to five Avatars currently in the works. So the dude is busy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about him one day returning to Terminator.