Why ‘Terminator 6’ Might Succeed Where Other Sequels Have Failed

Aaron Potter
Movies Sci-Fi
Movies Sci-Fi

There’s just no getting around it: being a fan of the Terminator franchise has been challenging these past few years. With disappointing sequels, failed series reboots, and a seemingly constantly rotating set of cast members stepping into iconic science fiction roles, 2018 represents a point in time where there are now more bad Terminator movies than good ones. Next year, however, will provide one last ‘hoorah’ for James Cameron’s time-travel cyborg saga.

Currently without an official title, this sixth Terminator entry promises a return to the roots of what made the first two films so special. Details might be scarce right now despite the odd set photo, but there are a few key factors which point towards Tim Miller’s take on the mythos salvaging the series. After all, he proved his directorial chops — and his depth of understanding of the source material — with Deadpool. Who says he can’t do the same here when trading mercenary for machine?

There is no fate but what we make, but this franchise’s destiny now rests in Miller’s capable hands. Here’s why his Terminator film could right the wrongs of other lacklustre sequels.

The Return of Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor Terminator 6
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor.

Mother to future leader of the resistance in the war against Skynet in the main series timeline, Sarah Connor has always been an important character. Following her ‘damsel in distress’ presentation in the first film, by the time we meet her again in Terminator 2, Sarah is a changed woman. She’s a hardened warrior carrying the full weight of knowledge of the horrors that Judgment Day will bring. She might no longer need someone else to fight her battles, but her insistence on being decisive means she’s remained a flawed, and interesting, character with plenty of depth.

Several actresses have portrayed the character since these initial entries — including Game of Thrones star Lena Headey — but it’s Linda Hamilton who’s responsible for originating and then solidifying the character of the rough and tough military mom. So it’s music to the ears of many to know she’s returning for Terminator 6. The return of the original Sarah Connor represents a concerted effort to get the series back on track, with Hamilton bringing the gravitas and weight needed for a woman fighting both against and for her future.

We got our first look at Linda Hamilton’s return recently by way of a very evocative promotional image. As a continuation of the story following the events of Terminator 2, Miller’s Terminator film ignores the events of every sequel thereafter. The journey she’s been on since blowing up Cyberdyne Systems is sure to have been a thrilling one, and we hope to learn more about how it will inform her actions in the upcoming sequel.

James Cameron-Backed Script

James Cameron Terminator 6
James Cameron has some crucial involvement in Terminator 6.

While he seems up to have been up to his neck in unproduced Avatar sequels these past 10 years, Terminator 6 represents the first Terminator movie following Judgment Day where James Cameron has had any proper involvement. The man responsible for bringing life to this world of man vs machines by way of future wars and time travel, Cameron understandably stepped away to move onto new pastures. He’s since played a small role with Terminator 6 in the form of story suggestions.

That might not sound like much, but when you consider how poorly the likes of Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys understood the rules of the franchise’s ethos, getting in the guy who started it all to approve of the story has to be a good idea. It’s understandable that many would want Cameron himself direct the upcoming film, but Tim Miller is the man to comfortably carry the flame. While the script isn’t directly penned by James Cameron, the series creator has been intimately involved during the outline process of Terminator 6’s story. Because of this, the narrative hopefully won’t be contrived like past sequels. Instead, the story will likely move forward rather than jump around in the timeline or look backwards for inspiration.

No Pandering To Previous Films

We'll get a new Terminator model in the next film.

As already alluded to, the problem most Terminator sequels from Rise of the Machines onwards have is their unwillingness to offer originality, or push forward ideas of their own.

The third movie is perhaps the worst example of this, ostensibly copying beat-for-beat the chase through line, pulled off far more successfully and thrillingly in Cameron’s original sequel. Director McG’s future-set story Salvation may have come the closest to exploring new territory, but it’s non-canonical human/Terminator abominations elicited an instant headshake. Despite a cool voice cameo from Linda Hamilton, it didn’t quite come together. Likewise, while 2015’s Terminator Genisys might have seen the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the iconic T-800 model 101, its decision to recreate scenes from the original movie laid down a story only capable of treading water.

Terminator 6 looks to be ushering in a new age, by contrast, complete with an entirely new Terminator and setting. As well as a cast filling new roles, rather than taking on those already established. As with certain other classic series undergoing a reboot (Star Trek, X-Men, etc), we have original actors in Schwarzenegger and Hamilton ready to bolster a new set of characters who will hopefully weave their own path outside of the John Connor prophecy.

Even better, both Tim Miller and James Cameron are on record as saying that the new Terminator will be an entirely new design. The sleek T-1000 and malicious T-X have had their day. In 2019, when Terminator 6 hits screens, the franchise will erase the timeline from Rise of the Machines onwards, making it highly likely we’ll receive the true sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day series devotees so desperately deserve.

Aaron Potter
A fervent word whisperer and lifetime Sci-Fi fanatic, Aaron’s pop culture obsession started after watching Terminator 2 far too young. Since then, he’s tried to put it to good use writing for places like GamesRadar, Kotaku, and FANDOM.
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