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History of the Terminator Series

History of the Terminator Series


Written by Christian James

James Cameron has come to be known as one of the best writers and directors within film history. With “The Terminator” back in 1984 being Cameron’s second film he’s ever directed, he proved early on that he knew what he was doing. With only a $6 million budget, Cameron created a world that no one has ever seen before and brought the thriller, horror and action genres into one movie.

“The Terminator” followed the story of a post-apocalyptic future where robots have taken over the world and a human rebellion is trying to take back control. The rebellion’s secret weapon is a man named John Connor, who is notoriously played by different actors in every movie. In order to keep the humans from winning the war, the robots send a terminator back in time to kill John’s mother, Sarah, and therefore he would never be born. After “The Terminator” became such a huge success, Cameron decided to create a sequel titled “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” Where once again the robots of the future send a terminator back in time, but instead of it trying to kill John’s mom, it’s attempting to kill John as a kid. So from the future, John, sends back a reprogrammed terminator in order to protect his younger self.

The entire series creates a very complicated timeline, but once again Cameron was very successful and created one of the only sequels in movie history that reaches the original movie’s high level of entertainment. Naturally, due to the amount of money that the first two movies made, the studio wanted a third. The problem was that Cameron was done with the series, so John Mostow, who has had experience with the action genre was chosen to direct. Although “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” wasn’t as liked by audiences, most fans agreed that in some ways it was a good sequel that created a well-thought-out trilogy.

In 2008, Fox released a television series titled “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” that followed John, his mom and a terminator who was sent to protect both of them. While this show was a fun idea and even created a nice premise, it ultimately failed and was canceled after only two seasons. Creator Josh Friedman should have used the television show to dive into the characters of John and Sarah, so fans could learn even more about them. Instead everything learned about them through the show were things that were told throughout the movies, creating no character development which kept anyone from caring to watch it.

“The Sarah Connor Chronicles” ended in 2009, and most fans believed that the cancellation of that series meant the end of the franchise, until later that year a new “Terminator” movie was released titled “Terminator Salvation,” which ignored the events that took place during the television series. With director McG, who was new to the franchise and didn’t have a lot of experience in the drama, fans worried that this movie would be even worse than the television show was. While the movie was not highly enjoyed by fans or critics, it wasn’t at fault of McG, the action, the editing and the camerawork were all done very well, but what killed this installment to the “Terminator” movies was the writing. Creating plot holes throughout the movie that did not work towards the franchise.

It’s been six years since the last “Terminator” movie, and that’s likely due to each one getting worse and worse after Cameron’s exit. Since it has been so many years since the last installment, it’s hopeful that the newest movie, “Terminator Genisys” will save the franchise. Director Alan Taylor, who is known for “Thor: The Dark World,” has signed on to take control of the newest movie. Taylor has stated that this installment is not a sequel or a reboot. Which most likely means that the movie will not have any mention of the events from the other movies, but it won’t ignore them either.

Where “Genisys” will take place on the “Terminator” timeline has not been established, but the official trailers have show Sarah Connor before having her son, Kyle Reese sent back in time to protect her, plus a number of different-aged Arnold Schwarzeneggers who played multiple terminators throughout the series. So far the movie franchise has gone in a chronological order based on time, in that John kept aging throughout each movie. In “Genisys,” that rule will be broken for the first time in four movies by going back to before John Connor was born. Most likely, Taylor decided to take this route in hopes of rekindling the love that fans had for the first two movies.

“Terminator Genisys” will be released in theaters on July 1.