Why James Cameron Decided To Return To The Terminator Franchise

Terminator 2 Judgement Day Poster Arnold Schwarzenegger

Few beloved blockbuster series have a history quite as hit or miss as The Terminator. The first two installments in the franchise have become regarded bonafide classics, but the films not handled by James Cameron have ranged from mediocre to downright bad. Now it seems that's about to change in a substantial way. Looking to get back into The Terminator game, Cameron decided to go all in on a new direction for the franchise once he learned that he could regain the rights that he had previously sold off. The director explained:

When I became aware of the fact that I could back into a control position on the rights, then I started to ask myself artistically, 'Is there anything there? Is there anything to be said that I haven't already said, and that would even be relevant in the 2020s (when these hypothetical films would come out)?' I thought, 'Well, let's look at that.' I mean, a lot of the things that were science fiction in Terminator are now around us...and actual discussions on the ethics of having a robot have its own kill decision possibilities, things like that. It's actually happening. So okay, maybe there is room for a film that examines these themes. It just has to be retooled for an audience's expectations now.

Like so many other conversations about Hollywood franchises, this one once again comes down to an issue of rights. James Cameron sold his ownership of The Terminator IP early in his career, which gave him little to no control over where the franchise went after Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Now that he has the money and clout to regain control over his sci-fi brainchild (an idea which famously came to him during a fever dream in the early 1980s), Cameron can retool and take the franchise into a new direction that feels relevant and reflects our current world.

It's worth noting that James Cameron's comments to IGN only scratch the surface of what could ultimately evolve into some fairly substantial changes to The Terminator franchise within the next few years. Not only is Cameron retaking control of the series, but he has also enlisted the filmmaking talents of Deadpool director Tim Miller to step behind the camera and turn his vision into a reality. Couple that with the fact that the series is going to examine an origin story for Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic T-800, and it seems that Cameron may have finally found a way to stave off Judgement Day for this beloved science fiction franchise.

The Terminator is not the only franchise that James Cameron is hard at work on at the moment. In addition to diving back into the world of Skynet and the Connor family, Cameron is also in the process of developing and directing his four long-awaited Avatar sequels. There's a lot to get excited about, and something tells us that the 62-year-old director is going to remain at the forefront of technology and storytelling innovation for years to come.

CinemaBlend will keep you posted with more updates related to the upcoming Terminator reboot as new information is made available. For now, make sure to catch James Cameron's work on Avatar 2 when the long-dormant sequel finally debuts in theaters on December 18, 2020.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.