Its no secret that I love The Terminator. And when I say “The Terminator” I mean the 1984 classic first film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. Of the sequels, only the second was any good, and although theres bits an pieces of the other 2 movies and ill-fated TV show that I did like, I hold the first movie in extremely high regard. To me, it is hands down, the best sci-fi movie of all time and definitely in my top 5 movies from any genre, of all time.
Why do I love the first movie so much? Suspending belief that time travel is, in fact, possible, the movie is perfectly believable. The plot is logical, well thought out, and completely devoid of any plot holes (unlike all of the other movies, including T2). The special effects were state of the art at the time, and still hold up really well to this very day. The overall design of the skeletal T800 Terminator is absolutely perfect. James Cameron once said that the design was like “death rendered in steel”. The look is so iconic, that if real Terminators were to be built, my guess is, they really would look like the design of the T800.
Back in the early 90s, there was a PC game called Terminator 2029, by Bethesda Softworks. The game had you playing an unnamed soldier in John Connor‘s army in the actual war between mankind and Skynet. The game was revolutionary at the time for emulating 3D graphics a couple of years before real 3D polygons were possible on PC hardware of the era. The game play was like a first person shooter where you fought skeletal T800s on the battlefield and eventually had to break into several SkyNet controlled compounds and destroy them in an effort to weaken SkyNet. Eventually, you would get sent to an actual orbiting SkyNet satellite in an attempt to completely destroy it. The game was a lot of fun, and to this day, it is still the best glimpse into what the actual war was actually like. Terminator Salvation came close to showing the battle, but still wasn’t quite the story that I think it could have been.
Every since I played this game in the early 90s, I thought it would be great if there was a movie that focused on the actual war. Over the years, the plot has developed in my head, and I thought that the time was here to actually write down my ideas. Not that I think I have any influence on Hollywood, who knows, maybe through the magic of the Internet, my ideas will inspire the right person to actually make the film I am waiting to see.
As it stands now, my idea could be made into a trilogy of 3 films. It could probably be compacted into one movie, and that would be cool too, but I really think there is enough great material here for 3 movies. I have names for each of the three movies, but I am definitely flexible. So here goes:
Terminator: Rise of the Fallen
Judgement Day happened as scheduled in the late 1990s. SkyNet went online and assessed that mankind was a threat, so they tried to eliminate us. 98% of the worlds population was destroyed in a nuclear attack leaving only small bands of human resistance cells. The movie begins summarizing that for the next 25 years, we lived in the ruins, hiding from the army of Terminators and HKs. SkyNet was too strong for us to fight back, and for the first part of the 21st century, it had looked that humans would eventually become extinct.
The beginning of the movie would introduce us to the main character, which wouldn’t be anyone mentioned in the previous movies. He could be played by any actor, doesnt have to be anyone famous.
The movie would play out like a typical war movie. Think a Vietnam movie like Platoon, except instead of jungles, its a barren wasteland of debris and destroyed structures, similar to Kyle Reese‘s flashback scenes from the first Terminator movie.
War movies are generally pretty popular, so the story and direction of the first movie would involve aspects of guerrilla warfare where our hero learns how to sneak around the wasteland slowly destroying Terminators one by one. The Terminators in this movie would mostly be skeletal Terminators. In the first movie, it is explained that early models used rubber skin and were easily detectable. This movie would introduce the T-800 model which was the design of the Arnold Schwarzenegger model from the first 2 movies. Arnold doesn’t actually have to be in this movie, because as we know, the T-800s could be made to look like a variety of soldiers.
Throughout the first movie, the resistance would get stronger, and better organized. Our victories would start to have more and more meaning. Starting with the destruction of a single Terminator, to a destruction to small depots of SkyNet based defenses.
Throughout the movie, we would learn of a SkyNet base somewhere in the United States that is a central strategic point for SkyNet’s defense system. The human resistance, led by our main character would theorize that by taking out this base would seriously cripple SkyNet’s defense in the area. It would be explained in the movie that SkyNet functions as a collective, similar to the Borg in the Star Trek universe, where destroying one piece doesnt hurt them, but destroying a whole section can cause them to lose focus and need to regroup.
The latter half of this first movie would build on the relationships between our main character and other resistance fighters. Like any war movie, some would die, and others would have to step up to unlikely roles as leaders.
In the end, the human resistance would break into the SkyNet base, just like in Terminator 2029 and destroy it. The movie would end on a high note where the resistance has its first major victory. SkyNet would become aware that the humans are getting stronger and smarter and would need to ramp up its defenses. In the closing moments of the first movie, our main character would receive some type of message and become aware of John Connor who wants to join forces with our hero to help destroy SkyNet.
Terminator: SkyNet Strikes Back
The title of the second movie intentionally sounds like the Empire Strikes Back and would follow a similar story of the second movie of the original Star Wars saga. This movie would be much darker than the first as SkyNet focuses its attention on our group of resistance fighters. There will be a lot of death and destruction in this movie. Perhaps even introducing a new Terminator model (the T-900) that we don’t see in any of the movies since its plausible that SkyNet had many other devices in its repertoire than we’ve seen thus far.
The good news is that the human resistance has gotten stronger and with the aid of John Connor, we are more organized and better equipped to fight back than ever before. Sara Connor would meet Kyle Reese in the timeline of the first Terminator movie, which was set in 1984. In an early scene of the first movie, it is revealed that the movie takes place in the month of May (this is the scene where Reese steals the pants from the homeless guy and then confronts the cop and asks him the date, the cop responds by saying its May). Since babies take 9 months to make, and Sara would become impregnated by Reese within a couple of days, its safe to say that John Connor would have been born around March 1985. Our movie takes place in the early 2020s, so by now he would be in his mid 30s.
I don’t have a particular actor I would want to see play John Connor, but I don’t want it being a hugely popular name like a Leo DiCaprio or Christian Bale. I am thinking someone like Tom Hardy (Bain from The Dark Knight Rises), after all, hes the right age, and has the right “tough guy” look I could see being John Connor.
The focus of the second movie would just be survival. There might be some small battles where the human resistance comes out victorious, but it should be seen that in the second movie, mankind could possibly lose. Our future should be bleak, and there are serious doubts about our ability to take down SkyNet.
The movie would kill off a couple of key characters from the first movie and introduce some others. These other characters could be leaders of other small bands of resistance fighters that we encounter as we try to avoid SkyNet’s devastating blow to the resistance.
At some point in the latter half of the movie, we would discover schematics or some type of map to a central SkyNet facility (ala the Death Star), that the resistance would eventually believe could be the central core of SkyNet’s whole system. The humans would have to decide that going for this central base is the only way to win the war.
Since the whole second movie would be pretty bleak and full of death and destruction, the end of the movie would end on a high note, where John Connor puts together a group of soldiers capable of infiltrating this central location and taking SkyNet down.
The third movie focuses entirely on the resistance plans to infiltrate and destroy the central SkyNet location. This movie would be broken into several key segments, or check points, that the resistance would have to fight their way through, just to get to the final battle. Like the second movie, there will be a lot of death and destruction, but rather than focusing on a bleak outlook, this movie would have a positive and triumphant vibe. Each checkpoint would be a victory for the resistance in our journey towards finally finishing off SkyNet once and for all.
In the early parts of the movie, we would learn of a central SkyNet defense system, sorta like the Eye of Mordor that protects this central location. The humans would realize that this central figure would have to be overcome in an effort to be finally victorious.
The middle parts of the third movie would show that SkyNet is simply too strong to battle head on. So in order to get past certain checkpoints, the resistance would have to rely on strategy and stealth to sneak past certain defenses. I see this kinda like how the Assassin’s Creed games play out. There would be puzzles that need to be overcome rather than brute force. But dont get me wrong, theres still going to be brute force too. I envision a huge budget towards special effects and explosions in this movie. I think that by the time this third movie is released, there should be enough anticipation from the first 2 movies that whatever studio would develop it, would have no problem throwing at least $150-200 million towards making this summer blockbuster film!
As we get closer and closer to our goal at the end of the movie, the tension should keep building, and I envision the final sequence lasting a solid 10-15 minutes worth of non stop battle, similar to the final sequence in New York city in the movie The Avengers. I want audiences to feel emotionally drained by the end of the battle. When the resistance finally penetrates SkyNet’s inner system and destroys it, the feeling of victory should overwhelm the viewer with joy, excitement, and relief.
There should be some type of satisfying ceremony at the end of the third movie where we see the resistance finally able to rest and begin the rebuilding process to restore mankind’s place in the world. I’ve always hated movies that just end with no satisfying conclusion, so this movie would definitely have to deliver a satisfying ending, maybe something like the final scene in Return of the Jedi.
However, the ending won’t really be the ending. In a nod to the original movie, during the celebration, we could have one final scene, where one soldier discovers a room in the SkyNet facility that hasn’t been destroyed. The soldier would go into the room, and see a time portal device, and to his horror, a lone T800 Terminator goes through it. The camera would pan over to a console where we see a display that says “Destination: May 1984″… fade to black.
Reading my words in this post, I am more excited than ever. Try to tell me that each of these stories wouldn’t make a perfect movie! Like I said, you could probably shorten this story down to one single movie, and if done right, I would still be happy. I really want to see a movie based on the actual war against SkyNet. All of the movies mention it, and elude to it, but they don’t actually show it.
Terminator movies dont need to keep involving time travel to the past to change our future. Thats been done over and over again and this series needs something fresh. Something that lives up to the genius of the first movie. I think that if somehow James Cameron could get involved in this storyline, even if it is just as Executive Producer, that the pieces of the puzzle would fall into place. After all, The Terminator is his baby, and I can’t believe he’s been totally happy with the direction of the other sequels and the TV show.
There are plans for 2 more Terminator movies, and according to THIS POST, it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger will have some type of role in the next movies and that time travel will still be involved. Here is a quote from the above mentioned article:
“…if he was given a chance to contribute to Terminator 5 and 6 he would have taken it back to its time travel roots, introducing new Skynet Terminators and bringing back Linda Hamilton, John Conner and Kyle Reese.”
This information doesn’t bode well for my ideas for the next movie, but the same article also says this:
“More importantly he would base Terminator 5 and 6 in the midst of the war…”
The article seems rather speculative, so who knows how much of it is accurate. IMDb does link Arnold to Terminator 5, but there is no other information. Not even an estimated release year. This could mean that the movie wouldn’t be finished until 2015 at the earliest, so who knows what could happen.
For all I know, everything is already in place, but like I said earlier, maybe, somehow through the magic of the Internet, there is enough time for my lowly blog post here to make it to the right people and inspire them for something at least close to my vision for what I think would be an AWESOME trilogy!
Your concept is truly excellent, however I think it may be better if you incorporated more of T2 in your story. I want to see liquid metal terminators, I mean that’s the future right??
Also, I want to see more of Linda Hamilton’s ripped arms. If you could incorporate that, and the black guy from cyberdine systems I think you have a winner.