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James Cameron's The Terminator (which, shockingly, almost had a happy ending) is one of the sci-fi genre's greatest achievements. I mean, who could forget lovestruck future man Kyle Reese coming to the present to save Sarah Connor? Or Schwarzenegger's imposing villain? Or James Cameron's deft direction? Or, you know, the entire movie? It all blends together into a bleak film shot with a glimmer of hope, a masterwork of which only the very best directors are capable of creating. Cameron is one of those directors. And now, with a recent reveal by one of the film's stars, it's made even clearer that this story was meant to be a masterpiece from the very beginning.
In a recent Twitter post, Arnold Schwarzenegger (rather, T-800) showed off one of James Cameron's incredible storyboards for the film. The post was published to celebrate James Cameron's birthday (which was yesterday, August 16). It may not seem like much, but it really does capture how frightening and dangerous the T-800 really was. The three-panel storyboard also hints at the film's tone and indicates that Cameron and company had a solid vision from the beginning. It's impressive, evocative, and powerful, and boy do I wish that one of those was made available at an auction (and that I could afford it).
Here's what Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote:
Happy birthday to my dear friend, the great visionary Jim Cameron. As you know, Terminator changed my life. You are a big reason that I can never call myself self-made. This early storyboard you drew for Terminator reminds me of your big vision, and I cherish it.
Here's the storyboard he shared; James Cameron drew it himself in 1983, the year before The Terminator was released:
Pretty awesome, right? Sadly, after the phenomenal T2: Judgment Day, the franchise went downhill fast, and with Terminator: Dark Fate hitting theaters soon, fans are worried the series will have another dud on its hands. It's a reasonable fear, too.
Terminator: Salvation and Terminator: Genisys were both awful, with Rise of the Machines sitting somewhere between the two. The franchise got really messy really fast, and fans (okay, maybe just me) could barely keep up with all the directions the various filmmakers wanted to take the story. It sucked to see such a promising franchise go from sci-fi masterpiece to complete crap, all because of a few shoddily-made movies (so the majority of the franchise). The real bummer of it all is that it wouldn't be terribly difficult to fix the franchise. Seriously.
But can this once-great franchise ever really return to its former glory? Can it ever come close to reaching the creative heights of the original? Predictably, the answer is probably a big, fat “no,” but it's good to give the franchise the benefit of the doubt. Even if many may feel that it doesn't even deserve that at this point.
The latest installment in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, is scheduled for release on November 1, 2019. We are hoping it is worth our time. If you're interested in what's coming out later in 2019, check out our guide to this year's new releases.