Even Arnold Schwarzenegger Hated What Happened To The Terminator Franchise

By Josh Tyler | Published

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Whatever you think of Terminator Salvation, director McG’s 2009 entry into to the world of Skynet pretty much killed the franchise at the time. Heck, even Arnold Schwarzenegger thought so, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you would want against you when releasing a Terminator movie.

It was a solid six years before another addition to the Terminator franchise was made, when they tried to reset things (once again). And even then it has never really come back.

But, at the time, putting out a Terminator movie that didn’t resonate with fans while also kind of irking the original couple of movies’ star, didn’t really work either. That’s because Arnold Schwarzenegger, who didn’t appear in Salvation (at least not in person), thought Terminator: Salvation was awful.

Scene from Terminator: Salvation

Talking to Collider at the time about possible sequels to some of his famous franchises Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “[I’m open to] all those things, if it’s True Lies, Terminator, a well-made Terminator…the last one was awful. It tried hard, not that they didn’t try, the acting and everything. It missed the boat.”

The obvious truth is obvious. Terminator Salvation wasn’t particularly good. It’s just rare that Hollywood stars actually come out and say it. Maybe it was easier for Arnold Schwarzenegger to be honest than normal since he wasn’t involved. The fact that it failed is kind of a feather in his cap, in a strange, roundabout way.

…the last one was awful. It tried hard, not that they didn’t try, the acting and everything. It missed the boat.

Ultimately, Arnold Schwarzenegger did stick to his “word” on the Terminator franchise and his willingness to return to the mix. He appeared in Terminator: Genisys in 2015, starring alongside Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney, who played Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, respectively.

That movie reset the timeline created in Terminator Salvation. But it wasn’t all that well-received by critics. It scored in the 25% range on Rotten Tomatoes, and folks weren’t all that enamored with the pacing or how they took the John Connor (Jason Isaac) character.

Christian Bale in Terminator: Salvation

And then Arnold Schwarzenegger was also in Terminator: Dark Fate in 2019. That movie brought back Linda Hamilton as the resident badass, somewhat closing out those character loops that started at the beginning of the franchise. That movie was a boost to the franchise at the time, ringing in well with critics who enjoyed how they rounded out (and humanized) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character.

Ultimately, the Terminator franchise has had major hits and misses over its movies. They’ve been in different directors’ and writers’ hands during that time, sometimes each trying to work to undo the movie before. That’s not a great recipe for franchise success.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said as much at the time, and he wasn’t wrong at all.