Filmmaker James Cameron is busy making four Avatar sequels and producing a National Geographic documentary about finding the lost city of Atlantis called Atlantis Rising, but he also found time to take back his beloved Terminator franchise. He’s set to reboot and/or finish the series begun in 1984’s The Terminator with Deadpool director Tim Miller in the directors seat, and in a new interview, he teased how his new Terminator will be relevant, especially in today’s digital world.
Cameron spoke at length to The Daily Beast about his career, blockbuster franchises like Star Wars, and even politics. But when talk turned to his recently announced Terminator continuation, here’s what he had to say about the state of the franchise after Terminator 2: Judgment Day and what to expect from the sixth film:
“It’s really just stumbled along, trying to find its voice again. There’s probably some degree to where it’s lost relevance, you know? Maybe the things that made it good back then are kind of a yawn now. It’s easy to remember fondly the things that kick off a franchise. It’s hard to keep a franchise vigorous, and relevant. I haven’t had my hand on the tiller since Terminator 2, and that was 1991. So what’s that? 26 years? But look, I think it’s possible to tell a great Terminator story now, and it’s relevant. We live in a digital age, and Terminator ultimately — if you can slow it down — is about our relationship with our own technology, and how our technology can reflect back to us and in the movie, literally, in a human form that is a nemesis and a threat. But also in those movies, in the two that I did, it’s about how we dehumanize ourselves. In a time when people are being absorbed by their virtual-social world, I mean, just look around. I always say: If Terminator was about the war between the humans and the machines, look around any restaurant or airport lounge and tell me the machines haven’t won when every human you see is enslaved to their device. So could you make a relevant Terminator film now? Absolutely.”
Cameron was a notorious fan of the previous film in the series, Terminator Genisys, which did actually raise some questions about what Cameron talked about in his quote above. That movie, which Cameron had no part in, tried to tie Skynet to the proliferation of social networks and global surveillance by rebranding itself as Genisys. Humanity chose not to fight against the robot uprising, but, as Cameron hints at, gave in to the already pervasive “enslavement” to our digital devices. Too bad Genisys never really explored those themes and just made off with the blockbuster action explosions instead.
We literally know nothing concrete about what Cameron’s new Terminator movie might be like, but it clearly seems like Cameron is itching to say something about our digital age. Perhaps the above quote will be his pitch to movie studios he needs to make the film happen.