I’m trying really hard to stay positive about the upcoming Terminator: Genisys, but they’re not making it particularly easy. We recently ran into reports from people claiming to know the whole film who called it a franchise killer. Without any actual details to back that up, that was pretty easy to dismiss, though it did get our Spidey-Senses tingling a bit. Now some new plot details, official ones actually released by the studio, have come to light, and while it’s certainly possible to pull this off (trying to stay positive), a lot of people are going to hate what they’re about to read.
EW has a couple of alternate covers featuring stars of the movie—including Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney on a motorcycle, and a bedecked Matt Smith and Jason Clarke armored up and hanging out with a fleshless terminator—and you have to be glad that they’re staged and not actually from the movie, because they look like cosplay. Still, it’s easy enough to ignore promo stuff like this that obviously has nothing to do with the actual film. It’s what the article contains that is concerning.
Talking to the magazine, Doctor Who star Smith says, “It’s like going on tour again if you’re Pink Floyd—the audience always wants to hear some of the old songs. There are enough nods to the past that people will feel satisfied.” The implication in that statement is that, while there are tips of the cap to the earlier films, there are going to be wholesale changes. And that’s fine, that’s what you expect. The start of a new trilogy, Genisys has always been said to be kind of soft reboot, so we expect to go on a different direction, and boy are they ever.
The movie is set in 2029, and, once again, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (Courtney), his father, back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from assassination. We assumed that Skynet hasn’t stopped trying to kill John, so we expect the timeline to be altered with each subsequent attempt, but here’s what the article says about the plot:
Sarah Connor isn’t the innocent she was when Linda Hamilton first sported feathered hair and acid-washed jeans in the role. Nor is she Hamilton’s steely zero body-fat warrior in 1991’s T2. Rather, the mother of humanity’s messiah was orphaned by a Terminator at age 9. Since then, she’s been raised by (brace yourself) Schwarzenegger’s Terminator—an older T-800 she calls “Pops”—who is programmed to guard rather than to kill. As a result, Sarah is a highly trained antisocial recluse who’s great with a sniper rifle but not so skilled at the nuances of human emotion.
Yeah, so Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 is Sarah Connor’s adoptive father. We know he can be programmed to protect, but still, that’s an idea that might take some getting used to.
Producer David Ellison elaborates a bit, saying, “Since she was 9 years old, she has been told everything that was supposed to happen. But Sarah fundamentally rejects that destiny. She says, ‘That’s not what I want to do.’ It’s her decision that drives the story in a very different direction.”
That part sounds like vintage Terminator, and ties back into the idea from T2 about making your own fate and not blindly accepting what the universe hands you. That you can get behind, but it’s admittedly going to be weird seeing Sarah Connor and the T-800 playing house. Then again, I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot of things in this movie that will be very strange.
Directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), Terminator: Genisys opens everywhere July 1, 2015, and I am very, very interested to hear your take on these new details. Sound off in the comments below.