James Cameron is Returning to 'Terminator' Because the Films are Still 'Timely'

Sunday, 13 August 2017 - 1:05PM
Terminator: Genisys
Sunday, 13 August 2017 - 1:05PM
James Cameron is Returning to 'Terminator' Because the Films are Still 'Timely'
TriStar
Director James Cameron has been getting back into Terminator this past year. He's returning to produce new films in the series after not touching the machines since Terminator 2: Judgment Day back in 1991, while also re-releasing a 3D version of T2 at the end of this month.

And while he doesn't think Terminator is quite as important as the four Avatar sequels he's working on - he's handed over Terminator 6's directing duties to Deadpool's Tim Miller - Cameron does believe technology is gradually getting closer to the Skynet he imagined back in the 1980s. And so long as he doesn't make something like Terminator: Genisys that's as soulless as its robots, the franchise has a shot at telling a relevant story.

According to ABC News, Cameron explained how T2 may not be realistic when it comes to time-traveling robots fighting over nukes, but its message about how we deal with artificial intelligence (and how it may deal with us) still holds up:

Opening quote
"I think the film is as timely as it ever was, probably more so less on the nuclear side and more on the AI side and dealing with our relationship with our own technology. And how we do really stand the possibility of making ourselves obsolete?"
Closing quote


Cameron seems to be taking that "Is AI actually about to kill us?" approach to Miller's new film (or possible trilogy) in this early brainstorming stage of the film's production. In an interview with IGN, Cameron specifically brought up drones and ethics in artificial intelligence as things that are, in a way, not so different from what the Terminator series imagined:

Opening quote
"A lot of the things that were science fiction in Terminator are now around us. You know, from predator drones and actual discussions on the ethics of having a robot have its own kill decision possibilities. Things like that. It's actually happening. So, okay, maybe there is room for a film that examines these themes. It just has to be retooled for an audiences' expectations now."
Closing quote


Cameron's plan to retool a Terminator movie for "audiences' expectations now" is probably the most interesting part of his statement, as a modernized Skynet for the 2020s could be terrifying if it's based on the AI tech that's available now. But he may not even have to change much - after all, what are people most afraid of rogue AI doing nowadays? Launching nukes around the world? Killing anyone who tries to turn it off? Skynet's been there, done that.

It's easy to dismiss Cameron as waxing poetic about movies that haven't yet been made, because Terminator movies have struggled for years and, again, he's working on four Avatar sequels. But Skynet is cinema's second most popular evil AI after HAL 9000 (we have to give credit to Stanley Kubrick there), and a modern Skynet that wasn't awful like Genisys could remind people that Terminator is more than just explosions and Arnold. 

At the very least, it would become Elon Musk's new favorite movie as he continues to warn everyone that AI gone awry is potentially the biggest threat to humankind. And even if it doesn't work out, it just means Tim Miller can move on to his planned adaptation of William Gibson's Neuromancer even sooner. 

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Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Terminator: Genisys
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