Summer 2015’s Terminator: Genisys – the fifth movie installment in the Terminator franchise overall – is shaping up to be a “soft” reboot of the sci-fi property; last year, Paramount Pictures also confirmed that the film will be “the first in a stand-alone trilogy” of movies. Paramount has now officially dated the two sequels to Genisys for theatrical release in 2017 and 2018, respectively, which lends credence to those older rumors that the films will shoot back to back over the course of nine months.
The first Genisys sequel (which is being called Terminator 2 for now) will reach theaters on May 19th, 2017; that’s one week after a currently-untitled Marvel Studios film (possibly either Inhumans or Thor 3) is due for arrival. Terminator 3 will follow just over a year after on June 29th, 2018, which is one week before another currently-untitled Marvel Studios film (probably the movie that will begin Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers 3 opens in May that same year).
There’s also a new Terminator TV show in development – one from the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles writers/producers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz – that will tie into the movie reboot trilogy, much as the Marvel/ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. occasionally intersects directly with events depicted in Marvel Studios’ film releases (while still exploring independent stories that occur in the same universe).
Very little has been (officially) revealed about the story for Genisys, though we know the plot involves a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – one whose biological exterior has aged – and Sarah Connor, John Connor, and Kyle Reese, now played by Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, and Jai Courtney, respectively. We also know that two new characters – being played by J.K. Simmons and Matt Smith – will be introduced in Genisys, as the setup for them to become more important players in the followups (possibly the same will hold true for Dayo Okeniyi as Danny Dyson).
Genisys is based on a screenplay penned by writer/producer Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island) and writer/director Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine, Drive Angry), with Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) serving as helmsman on the project. It’s not clear which, if any, of these three individuals will be returning to work on the next two Terminator films; nor, for that matter, has it been revealed just yet how, exactly, Genisys will re-imagine/update the mythos and/or subtext of the Terminator property.
The Genisys screenwriters have backgrounds in, respectively, science fiction and horror fare, which has us hopeful that the Terminator franchise (soft) reboot will find a way to smartly blend elements from those genres – as James Cameron’s The Terminator and T2: Judgement Day did. We’re also hopeful that Taylor will improve as a director, after having first gotten his feet wet on The Dark World, and make Genisys worthy of being called the “Batman Begins of Terminator movies,” so to speak – thus giving everyone all the more reason to see the story continued over two more films.
As such, the question is – will there be enough audience demand to justify resurrecting the Terminator brand as a multi-platform franchise? Schwarzenegger’s star power isn’t what it used to be, and now superhero/comic book movies tend to feature many of the same elements as the Terminator series – be it time-travel narratives (see: X-Men: Days of Future Past) or advanced A.I. gone rogue (see: next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron) – but in a world of, well, superheroes. That said, best to wait and see what happens with Genisys first, before making bets either way.
Terminator: Genisys opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015, followed by the next installment (Terminator 2) on May 19th, 2017 and the final installment in the trilogy (Terminator 3) on June 29th, 2018.