Terminator Zero Reveals New Netflix Series Goes Back To Dark Franchise Origins, See The Proof

By Charlene Badasie | Published

terminator zero

Along with an August 29 Netflix premiere date, fans have been treated to an exclusive first look at Terminator Zero courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. The publication released several images from the eight-episode anime series, which follows new characters on new adventures within the Terminator universe.

The Story

Created and executive produced by Mattson Tomlin,–known for his work on Project Power and The Batman IITerminator Zero is set across two timelines. In 1997, an AI known as Skynet goes to war with humanity. In 2022, the human population is dwindling as it faces an army of machines. The story follows a soldier sent back to 1997 to protect Malcolm Lee, who is developing an AI system to defeat Skynet. 

As Malcolm grapples with the ethical dilemmas surrounding his creation, he is hunted by a relentless assassin from the future, which alters the destiny of his three children forever. While Terminator Zero maintains the essence of the franchise, the series features sword fights instead of gunfights, marking a departure.

Tomlin’s Hopes

Creator Mattson Tomlin also serves as showrunner for Terminator Zero, with Japanese animator Masashi Kudo directing the series. Executive producers attached to the project include David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger for Skydance. Production IG, whose other works include Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass, serves as the animation studio.

“I knew that I wanted to tell a time-travel story, and I knew I wanted to tell an almost Godfather-like multi-generational saga that would ultimately follow this family with these kids,” Tomlin told Entertainment Weekly when discussing Terminator Zero. “What I wanted to do, if we get to do multiple seasons, is to see these kids grow up and see who they become,” he added.

Everything Is Canon

arnold schwarzenegger

While Terminator Zero promises a fresh perspective, it will stay true to the canon established across six feature films. This is a departure from the last chapter of the franchise–2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate–which treated only itself and the first two films as canonical.

A New Setting

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One of the primary challenges encountered during the series’ development was the integration of a Japanese component. Tomlin embraced this directive, setting the eight-episode anime within the urban landscapes of Japan.

However, this decision posed a narrative obstacle regarding the portrayal of violence, given Japan’s stringent gun laws and cultural norms. Tomlin’s initial scripts included sequences featuring widespread gun violence, only to be reminded by Production I.G of the impracticality of such scenarios in Japan. This prompted a shift towards inventive combat sequences featuring sword fights and other weapons.

No Connors

Terminator Zero also marks a departure from the franchise’s familiar faces. Instead of focusing on the Connors, the series introduces a new ensemble cast of original characters. Tomlin explains this creative choice as a means to explore new narrative avenues and break free from the constraints of recurring storylines.

Tomlin drew significant inspiration from the first two Terminator films–1984’s The Terminator and 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. While the iconic rifle-toting robot with a thick Austrian accent and a killer motorcycle jacket may not feature in the anime, Tomlin aimed to capture the essence of ambiguity regarding the moral alignment of characters.

Get Ready For August

While Terminator Zero charts new territory, it remains deeply rooted in the franchise’s legacy. Tomlin assures fans of the series that there will be plenty of callbacks and Easter eggs, serving as nods to the films that preceded it. Fans will be in for a treat when the highly anticipated anime series hits Netflix in August.

Source: Entertainment Weekly