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Over his three+ decades of acting, Christian Bale has delivered a lot of memorable performances, from playing Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy to his Oscar-winning turn as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter. However, as is the case with every actor, not all of Bale's projects have been winners, 2009's Terminator Salvation being part of that category. Several years ago, Bale acknowledged that things didn't go well working on the fourth Terminator movie, and the actor recently elaborated on these thoughts, saying that Terminator Salvation was hit by several problems that resulted in the final product being subpar. Bale recalled:
I said no three times. I thought that the franchise... I went 'Nah, there's no story there.' I'd seen seen the first one and enjoyed that back in England, I'd been to the movies and seen the second one. It was an unfortunate series of events involving the writers' strike, involving Jonah Nolan, who was able to come on, and really start to write a wonderful script, but then got called away for a prior commitment that he had. And it's a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated [the franchise]. And unfortunately, during production, you could tell that wasn't happening. It's a great shame.
It's not a great start when you've already turned down appearing in Terminator Salvation three times, but even after Christian Bale had buckled and agreed to play John Connor, things did not progress well from there, especially with the once-promising script taking a sharp left turn. Even ignoring the infamous recording of Bale getting angry at a crew member for walking onto the set while a scene was being shot, it sounds like Terminator Salvation's production wasn't an enjoyable experience. But as it turns out, the reason that Bale ignored his original instincts and joined Terminator Salvation was because so many people told him not to appear in it. Bale continued during his chat on MTV's Happy Sad Confused podcast:
There's a perverse side to me, where people were telling me that, there's no way on God's Earth that I should take that role, and I was thinking the same thing. But when people started verbalizing that to me, I started to go, 'Oh really? All right, well watch this then.' So there was a little bit of that involved in the choice.
In sharp contrast with the previous Terminator movies, which were set around their respective present day periods and incorporated time travel, Terminator Salvation was set in the then not-too-distant future, 2018, showing a post-apocalyptic Earth where the remnants of the world's military, led by John Connor, were fighting back against Skynet's forces. Terminator Salvation was intended to be the first chapter of a new trilogy, but due to underperforming critically and commercially, as well as The Halcyon Company selling the Terminator rights to escape bankruptcy, sequel plans were cancelled, and Bale has been able to keep the rest of his career killer robot free.
Terminator Salvation and the 2015 follow-up, Terminator Genisys, failed to kickstart effective new beginnings for the Terminator franchise, but there may still be hope. The currently-untitled Terminator 6 will reboot the franchise once more, ignoring every previous movie besides the first two. Linda Hamilton will reprise Sarah Conner, Tim Miller is on board to direct, and James Cameron has returned to help develop the latest installment of the property he created.