Despite presumably being in the production process for an Avatar sequel (of which we should expect four, sometime in the next century or so), James Cameron has apparently expressed interest in returning to the Terminator franchise.
With the 3D theatrical re-release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day set for August 25, Cameron revealed in an interview with News.com.au that he hopes to reimagine the franchise with (get this) a “three-film arc.” That is right — he doesn’t just want a regular old reboot; he wants to make a full-on trilogy.
Cameron is no stranger to sequels. T2 and Aliens are two of the most critically acclaimed follow-up films in history and the famed director clearly has big plans for the Avatar franchise, despite the 2009 epic breaking box office records nearly 10 years ago.
Still, with so much on his plate, it is difficult to see Cameron having time to produce Terminator and Avatar films simultaneously, given the massive scope of both franchises. Plus, it is not as if the Terminator series has languished for decades untouched. In the past 10 years, we saw two movies within the fiction: 2009’s Terminator: Salvation was widely panned by fans and critics after taking a more gritty approach, despite the involvement of big names like Christian Bale. While Cameron “didn’t hate it,” he also said that he would not return to the franchise.
In 2015, director Alan Taylor offered a more traditional reboot to the series in Terminator: Genisys, which received mixed reviews. Although Genisys did not perform particularly well — in fact, it grossed less worldwide than 1991’s Judgment Day (without even adjusting for inflation) — Cameron offered praise, claiming that it had “reinvigorated the franchise.”
The rights to the franchise are currently held by David Ellison, CEO and founder of Skydance Media, the primary producer of Genisys. Under U.S. copyright law, though, the rights will automatically revert to Cameron in early 2019; the two have had discussions regarding the potential for future Terminator films.
In January, Cameron had previously announced plans to make a reboot with director Tim Miller (Deadpool) and series star Arnold Schwarzenegger on board; it’s currently unclear whether either man will be involved with Cameron’s trilogy, or what role Cameron would play.
In the meantime, James Cameron will do what James Cameron does — namely, waffling on minor details and repeatedly delaying the Avatar sequels even further. For now, at least fans can explore Disney’s vision of Pandora in the World of Avatar park.