Netflix Terminator Anime Brings The Franchise Back To Its Roots, Casts The Perfect Lead

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Terminator Zero

Timothy Olyphant will lead the voice cast of Terminator Zero as the titular cybernetic assassin. The news was announced at the 2024 Next on Netflix: Animation event in Los Angeles. The upcoming sci-fi action anime series is the brainchild of Mattson Tomlin, who previously worked on Project Power and The Batman II. The series is set for release on August 29.

Terminator Zero

Terminator Zero

Terminator Zero spans two timelines. In 1997, an AI called Skynet declares war on humanity. By 2022, the human population is dwindling as it battles a relentless army of machines. The story centers on a soldier who is sent back to 1997 to protect scientist Malcolm Lee, who is developing an AI system to defeat Skynet.

As Malcolm wrestles with the ethical dilemmas of his creation, he is pursued by a relentless assassin from the future. These events will alter the destiny of his three children forever. While Terminator Zero retains the essence of the franchise that began in 1984, it features sword fights instead of gunfights, which is a marked departure from previous offerings.

Inventive Combat Is Imminent

Terminator Zero

The change is largely due to Japan’s stringent gun laws and cultural norms. While adapting initially presented a creative challenge, creator Mattson Tomlin happily shifted from gunfights to inventive combat sequences featuring swords. Tomlin further embraced the Japanese element by setting the eight-episode Terminator Zero within Japan’s urban landscapes.

Tomlin also serves as showrunner for Terminator Zero, while Japanese animator Masashi Kudo directs the series. Executive producers include David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger for Skydance. Production I.G, known for working on popular shows like Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass, will be handling the animation.

A Fresh Perspective

Terminator Zero

Tomlin previously shared his hope for Terminator Zero. If the series is renewed for multiple seasons, he hopes to see Malcolm Lee’s children grow up and see who they become. “I wanted to tell a time-travel story and an almost ‘Godfather’-like multi-generational saga following this family and their kids,” Tomlin explained.

Despite offering a fresh perspective, Terminator Zero adheres to the canon established across six feature films, unlike 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate, which only treated itself and the first two films as canon. Since the anime series introduces a new ensemble cast of original characters, there will be more room to explore new narrative avenues and break free from recurring story lines.

Timothy Olyphant In Terminator Zero

Timothy Olyphant will bring a wealth of experience to Terminator Zero. The actor has demonstrated his versatility in sci-fi roles, such as in the 2011 film I Am Number Four, where he played the adult mentor to the main character. He also voiced the Spirit of the West in the animated movie Rango, which was a parody of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character.

The Right Guy For The Role

Given his extensive experience in various genres and his proven ability to excel in sci-fi roles, Olyphant is a good choice for the Terminator in Terminator Zero. His voice acting skills and ability to convey the character’s intensity will likely make the animated series engaging and memorable for fans of the franchise. It will be interesting to see if the series manages to live up to the legacy of the original.

Source: IGN