ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

After a very rocky start in the US, [Terminator Genisys](tag:34872) has earned enough abroad to be considered a modest hit, taking over $400 million so far. Paramount are still silent on the prospect of [Terminator 6](tag:3495236), but financially the outlook is hopeful. However, the poor critical response and fan backlash to Genisys may cause the studio to think twice about future sequels.

On paper, Terminator 5 is not a bad film. There's a huge dose of nostalgic warm fuzzies as the film emulates the originals, showing an attention to detail that proves the writers respect the first two movies. The characters are nicely developed, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's return as the iconic T100 is no less badass than his previous incarnations, while proving that yes, cyborgs can develop feelings for humans.

Genisys has a lot of heart and a lot of action, reworking the source story in an interesting way. It should be a fun take on a classic story, so what went wrong? And how can Terminator 6 learn from Genisys' mistakes?

The Genisys Problem

A hero gone wrong
A hero gone wrong

If Terminator Genisys proved nothing else, it's that not all press is good press. While the initial trailer established the changes to the original plotline and piquing interest, the second trailer committed one of the biggest movie sins: spoiling a twist.

From the very beginning, the entire story of Terminator has hinged on John Connor being a big damn hero. So for Genisys to turn him into a villain was a bold move, and one that did not win them many fans. And using an already risky plot twist in the trailer did the opposite of provoke fans to see the film, it made many people decide they disliked this story before the film was even released.

Oddly enough, the idea of John turning bad was actually already considered for Terminator Salvation... until a script leak prompted such a negative fan reaction that the twist was cut. Fans might have reacted better to this storyline had they not known about it before seeing the film, and that's certainly what the writers hoped.

Laeta Kalogridis: When you’re writing it, you imagine that people will experience it without that knowledge.
Patrick Lussier: Yes, and it’s very much crafted that way. So, how do you feel about [the trailer reveal]? Well, it is what it is.

You've gotta feel bad for them really - they worked so hard to create a fresh and interesting take on a known story, only for the trailers to spoil all the surprises and cause audiences to judge the film before it was even released.

Another mistake was the rating choice. Terminator as a cult phenomenon took off because of its edgy appeal: T1 incorporated horror elements to really sell the idea of a terminator as a terrifying predator, and T2 examined the psychological consequences of Sarah's experience to give the film a thriller feel. The originals have blood and gore aplenty, ensuring the horrific prospects of a nuclear apocalypse and war with machines really hit home.

And yet Terminator Genisys was a PG-13, preventing the film from packing a punch, and turning it into another glossy action flick. Clearly Paramount wanted a slice of that family filmgoer market but again, they misunderstood the franchise's fanbase. Even those who loved Terminator as a kid are grown up now, and what they want to see is what they loved from the first films, ie: the kind of dark themes that only an R rating can deliver.

Of course Genisys does have its good points, and many fans (myself included) are hopeful for this soft reboot to set the stage for more stories in this new timeline. So how can Terminator 6 learn from Genisys' mistakes?

The Future Is Not Set

Emilia Clarke's Sarah Connor
Emilia Clarke's Sarah Connor

The ending of Terminator Genisys created an open road for future films, with plenty of plot hints yet to be resolved and a new timeline giving limitless story possibilities. Paramount could decide Terminator 6 is viable financially, on the condition that T6 is distanced from the pitfalls of Genisys.

One way to do this would be to give John Connor a redemption plot, which would win back fans and also serve to fill in a lot of the blanks from Terminator 5: we never really get John's side of the story, and we don't know whether he's completely brainwashed or acting of his own free will. Playing off the relationship with Sarah would also be a good selling point: after all, it worked for Judgement Day!

Paramount could also get James Cameron back on board to direct and co-write. Cameron's got a huge fan following, and he has already stated how much he likes Genisys...

"It's very respectful of the first two films... I feel the franchise has been re-envigorated. This is a renaissance!"

He even went so far as to say he considers Genisys "the third film" in the series. Cameron's input would be valuable for the plot, and would also bring in fans, so it would definitely benefit Paramount to consider approaching him.

Finally, of course, the rating could be changed. Giving Terminator 6 an R rating would free up the writers to really take advantage of the darker themes of the concept, and return to the feel of the first two films.

Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese
Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese

With plenty of potential and an interesting interpretation of the original characters and story, the future of the Terminator franchise has exciting possibilities... as long as they do it right. So what do you think: can Terminator 6 live up to the original films? Let us know in the comments, or write your own post!



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