ByMichael Patterson, writer at
I Write. Sometimes. Follow me on Twitter: @MichaelP93
Michael Patterson

For quite some time, it really seemed like we had seen the last of the legendary Terminator franchise. After 2015's Terminator Genisys didn't meet Paramount's expectations, the planned trilogy was canceled and the future of the franchise was thrown into doubt. But before Judgment Day could arrive for the machines, franchise creator James Cameron announced that he would return to the series that made him a star.

He will indeed return to produce Terminator 6, while Deadpool's Tim Miller will direct. And T6 will be the first in a brand new trilogy, with the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, confirming his return as well.

With things back on track for the franchise, it's imperative that T6 doesn't repeat the mistakes of previous entries, especially their attempts to recreate the magic of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. While it's common practice for worthy sequels to borrow from successful predecessors, almost every Terminator film that came after T2 has tried to rehash that story.

Thus, if Cameron wants to stand out among the sequels, then it's imperative that he steer clear from his masterpiece, T2. Since that was his last entry in the franchise, it shouldn't be hard for him to come up with something new. However, with all that in mind, let's take a look at a different Terminator film which T6 could benefit drawing inspiration from: Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.

T3 Added To An Already Great Story Instead Of Rewriting It

While no sequel is guiltier of rehashing the second installment more than , it did so in a way that complemented the material already there. Being a direct sequel to the first two films, the universe was already built — and thus, T3 never wasted any time trying to make its own mark on the franchise or changing everything we thought we knew about it. Instead, we were instantly reeled back into the world of .

Although Terminator Salvation was also a direct sequel, both it and Genisys were busy trying to reset the franchise as the first films in a new trilogy. The former tried to welcome us to the post-apocalyptic future under Skynet's rule (betraying the reason for the Terminator franchise's very existence) while Genisys was busy trying to introduce us to the complex rules of time-travel. As a result, both latter sequels ended up getting bogged down with convoluted stories, created by the new rules of their own universes.

On the other hand, T3 functioned perfectly as an entertaining, thrilling and all-around great sequel, as it focused on what made the first two Terminator films a success without ever straying too far from the source material. And what we got was a worthy, entertaining follow-up that enhanced the original saga.

Like The First Two, T3 Felt Like Horror, Not Just Action

With graphic violence and disturbing scenes, there's no doubt about it: the Terminator franchise is not for kids. The first two films may have had their own uniquely different tones, but Cameron managed to capture the sheer horror of the respective threats in both films. And as a result, a dark tone is maintained throughout both of them. However, they're not the only two that managed to accurately pull this off.

While Terminator 3 did indeed focus more on action and humor than the previous two, it also made considerable time for the unnerving stuff. From the scene where the T-X impaled the police officer with her arm to the close-up shots of Arnie's charred flesh in the film's closing moments, there was still a fair share of graphic moments.

He's Back: Arnold's charred flesh at the end of T3 was the most extreme yet. [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
He's Back: Arnold's charred flesh at the end of T3 was the most extreme yet. [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

However, both and Genisys sought to cash-in on the action appeal of the franchise and ended up becoming action-packed blockbusters instead of the heart-pounding thrill-rides that we saw from the first three. In an attempt to avoid the R-rating, the respective studios went out of their way to make the films appeal to kids, and thus, the really troubling moments (which the series thrived on) were cut and swear words were curtailed.

While we were treated to epic explosions and awe-inspiring special effects, the real substance — the threat, the heart, the thrills — felt much less prominent in the latter two. And that is why Terminator 3 will remain the most loyal sequel to Cameron's first two films, as it managed to maintain all of what made them a success while adding the right amount of action and humor whenever necessary.

T3 Didn't Spoil The Whole Film In The Trailer

While both Terminator Salvation and weren't received very well by critics, they both contained groundbreaking twists. And these twists were so huge that their originality alone may have led to less harsh criticism.

The only problem is that all of us saw them coming beforehand, as both had their twists spoiled in their respective trailers.

Salvation's reveal that Marcus was indeed a human/machine hybrid gave us an insight into how the machines began making T-800s, while Genisys's John Connor machine swerve had the potential to be nothing short of jaw-dropping. But we were robbed of these shocks thanks to the spoiler-ridden trailers.

While T3 didn't necessarily contain any twists quite as major as these ones, it did have a few jaw-dropping moments of its own, including the birth of Skynet and the T-850's future reveal. And thankfully, it got to keep these secrets as the trailer highlighted exactly what the film was (an action-packed thriller), without ever giving away any of the important plot points. The latter films weren't so lucky. A lot of their success was riding on the twists, so the spoiler-filled trailers did them no favors.

A Really Threatening Villain

Let's face it, after the T-1000's rampage in T2, you could be forgiven for thinking that Arnie would never face a more imposing villain. And then in 2003, along came the T-X. Like the T-800, she too had a metal endoskeleton under her skin. However, she was also poly-mimetic like the T-1000 and thus, she too could take the form of others.

The T-X was an imposing villain. [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
The T-X was an imposing villain. [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

The T-X was as imposing and durable as Arnold Schwarzenegger's villainous T-800 in while being as crafty and reptilian as Robert Patrick's T-1000 in T2. When you think about it, she was effectively a hybrid of the first two films' Big Bads. And that made her arguably the most threatening yet.

While Salvation dropped the single villain in favor of focusing on the collective threat of Skynet and Genisys turned John Connor into a machine, neither of these villains really seemed as imposing as the T-X. She was the last seemingly unstoppable Big Bad, and the next films would greatly benefit from giving us another powerful threat like that.

With Terminator 6 now a reality, it's important that the creative team learns from its predecessors' mistakes. While many previous Terminator films have been busy trying to replicate the success of Cameron's first two films, T6 should take a leaf out of Terminator 3's book and build upon the greatness already there.

Moreover, it should return the franchise to its darker roots — something that we haven't seen since the credits rolled on T3 — and bring the Terminator series back to where it needs to be. And if it follows in the footsteps of Terminator 3, it just might be able to accomplish this.

Would you like to see Terminator 6 take inspiration from Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines? Let us know in the comments below!


Latest from our Creators