Purchase graduate Mattson Tomlin is living the dream. Recently, he penned The Batman alongside Peter Craig and director Matt Reeves. He’s made it to the prestigious Blacklist several years in a row. He’s been tapped to rewrite the live-action Megaman for Netflix. He’s worked under executive producer Seth Rogen (The Boys) on a small-screen adaptation of comic book writer Rick Remender’s space epic Fear Agent. Now, the Petersham native is the executive producer and showrunner adapting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biggest franchise into a series. It’s happening in the form of Netflix’s upcoming Terminator anime, making him one of the busiest working screenwriters in Hollywood. Tomlin is already putting the finishing touches on — what looks like — the pilot episode of the series.
Check out the Terminator “insanity” below:
The animated Terminator was first announced in February. Netflix secured the rights to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator franchise and circulated a press release naming Tomlin as lead writer, among others. Netflix’s Vice President of Japan & Anime John Derderian opens: “Terminator is one of the most iconic sci-fi stories ever created — and has only grown more relevant to our world over time. The new animated series will explore this universe in a way that has never been done before. We can’t wait for fans to experience this amazing new chapter in the epic battle between machines and humans.”
The series is a collaboration between Netflix and Skydance. The duo inked a deal with Musashino-based Production I.G. to animate and provide the visuals for the show. The studio has a rather prolific history, having produced Ghost in the Shell, Guilty Crown, Kuroko’s Basketball, Psycho-Pass, Haikyu!!, and Ao Haru Ride. The team is also partly responsible for Gainax’s Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, arguably one of the most significant anime movies of our time. Production I.G. is the parent company of Wit Studio, the men and women behind the first three seasons of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. That’s right. This is Terminator like you’ve never seen it before — with Attack on Titan’s top-rate animation quality and groundbreaking imagery.
President and CEO of Production I.G. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa was initially reluctant to take on the project, terrified of messing it up. But it’s exactly why their involvement was so crucial; the studio cared enough about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator to want it done right. He relates: “I asked my long-time friend and colleague Mamoru Oshii what he thought about the idea of turning Terminator into an animated series. His response was ‘Ishikawa, are you out of your mind?’ At that instant, I was confident we should get onboard. As huge fans, our team at Production I.G is putting their heart and souls into creating this series. We hope fans will enjoy it!” Netflix is no stranger to Production I.G., having been working together since 2018. Their last collab was 2018’s B: The Beginning.
From his end, Mattson Tomlin couldn’t be more thrilled venturing into these new frontiers. It’s not often a young screenwriter gets to work on several high-profile projects at the same time, but Tomlin didn’t get from point A to B overnight; the mind behind Project Power told The Hollywood Reporter’s Aaron Couch last year he had been preparing for this moment “all decade.” And Terminator is just the icing on the cake. He has a new film, Little Fish, coming out post-pandemic. And he’s making his directorial debut in a science fiction thriller he wrote — Mother/Android — starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Speaking both about his work ethic and commitment to the Terminator franchise Arnold Schwarzenegger started in the 80s, Tomlin explains: “Anyone who knows my writing knows I believe in taking big swings and going for the heart. I’m honored that Netflix and Skydance have given me the opportunity to approach Terminator in a way that breaks conventions, subverts expectations and has real guts.”
From The Sarah Connor Chronicles to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cameo in Mortal Kombat 11, the story of James Cameron’s Terminator has been adapted many times over for film, television, comics, and video games — and shows no sign of stopping. This would be the first time the franchise has ever had an anime, however, but with Mattson Tomlin at the helm, and some of the industry’s most experienced animators behind him, it goes without saying this show is building up to become an overnight success.