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It’s safe to say that the 2009 franchise entry, Terminator Salvation, was a critical dud. The first in the series not to feature Arnold Schwarzenegger in a starring capacity, the film set itself up in the post-apocalyptic future ruined by Skynet. The central character was a Pinocchio of a Terminator, struggling with a soul, and Schwarzenegger himself gave his blunt two cents regarding Salvation, and is scathing in his brevity.
Sitting down with ABC News and the rest of the cast of the upcoming Terminator: Genisys, Schwarzenegger discusses his return to the signature franchise of his career. When Salvation comes up, Arnold expresses relief in his choice to pass on the film. As he says,
Thank God. It sucked.
Schwarzenegger’s take on the Terminator fourquel is succinct and to the point, as usual. It does appear that he agrees with the general populace, which lauded the solid action and effects, but were put to sleep by a storyline that was rather pedestrian. However, the extremely limited involvement that he had with Salvation was not the result of artistic disagreements, so much as it was due to logistics, since he was still carrying out his duties as Governor of California at the time. The iconic action star clearly feels that he managed to dodge a bullet with that particular chapter. (Unfortunately, he can’t say the same for his 2013 action vehicle, The Last Stand.)
Salvation seemed to have everything going its way as a long-awaited return of a fan-fave franchise. The hype was heavy, the merchandise was flowing, and the rollout teased all sorts of interesting and original Skynet-created robotic rogues. The film even featured Christian Bale as John Connor, riding white-hot momentum from The Dark Knight. Yet, the film suffered from the absence of Arnold and created an apocalyptic ennui that just started to not feel like a Terminator movie, despite all the ingredients being present on paper. (Including a CGI’d young Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
Now, Schwarzenegger looks ahead to Terminator: Genisys, which features a fresh new cast, and turns "The Mother of Dragons" into "The Mother of the Robot Apocalypse." Fortunately, this one features Arnold’s name at the top of the marquee. The film certainly wields an inventive, time-bending premise that will reset a lot of the Terminator continuity, including, thankfully, Terminator Salvation. As you can see in the interview below, Schwarzenegger is clearly grateful for that.
While the loss of Sam Worthington’s self-conscious cyborg from the timeline will probably be lamented by few, Genisys also seems set to erase (or drastically tinker with) the events of 1984's The Terminator, the celebrated Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Thus, it could be a bittersweet canonical reset. We’ll certainly know for sure when Terminator: Genisys brings the Arnold-on-Arnold cyborg violence to new heights in theaters on July 1.