THE SKINNY: It’s going to be a very “TERMINATOR” time for the next couple of years if the pilot for Fox’s new Midseason series spin-off THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is any indication. Not only does it look like they have a winner in terms of a new franchise (it’s airing in THE X-FILES former time slot of Sunday at 9:00 p.m.) but also the proposed TERMINATOR 4, which would kick off a brand new movie trilogy, is in active development.
As Fox presented THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES at the Summer TCA press tours, iF MAGAZINE managed to get an exclusive one-on-one interview with the series’ Consulting Producer James Middleton, who gave us some cool info regarding the new movie which he is attached to as a Consulting Producer as well.
“The franchise is under new ownership,” he explains. “It was owned by C2 Pictures, and now it’s owned by The Halcyon Company, and I’m going to consult with them on a script we developed at C2 [written by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris], which is going to be the basis for their movie they’re trying to finance now. It’s a very good script. I can't talk about it. I was very, very happy with it.”In terms of broad strokes, Middleton will reveal that John Connor is still at the core of the new film project.
“It would include John Connor and it would also include a brand new hero for the movie,” says Middleton. “We envision this T4 would be the beginning of a new trilogy. We had talked about having Arnold doing a cameo and we’ve never been at a point where that could happen. There’s a lot of momentum to getting financing for the movie now that there are new owners for the franchise and I'm sure we’ll discuss it then.”
And will the Sarah Connor character have any involvement with T4 – especially time travel so prevalent in the series?
“She’s not a part of the T4 script,” reveals Middleton. “For me, personally, I want the show, THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES to focus on her character and have the movies develop an entirely new character.”
Ironically enough, many fans had issues with T3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, and Middleton understands their concerns, especially with the absence of the Sarah character, but says T3 was developed originally with the character a major part of the film.
“We developed the first draft of the screenplay to include her character and we were going to have a great thing to her character arc,” says Middleton. “However, Linda Hamilton declined to be in the movie for her own reasons, partly because I think she would only do it with Jim Cameron directing and that was not going to be the case with TERMINATOR 3. So we had to develop a screenplay where she was not involved.”
And what would that storyline have entailed?”She was going to face Skynet in a huge way and sacrifice herself,” teases Middleton. “In the end, I’m very happy with how T3 turned out and happy we were able to resurrect the Sarah Connor character for this TV show. I like T3 and it was very successful. It did a lot of for us for this show, because it reintroduced the franchise to the public, which made my job of selling the show easier. It made the franchise relevant. However, our mythology gives us the ability, because of time travel, to set up new timelines. We’re very happy to use that to explore an entirely different version of Sarah’s mythology on the show.”
While BATTLESTAR GALACTICA certainly paid homage to the past by bringing Richard Hatch on to the new series, Middleton says he wouldn’t be averse to bringing back former TERMINATOR players for the TV show either. Could we suggest Robert Patrick for starters?
“We absolutely thought about that,” says Middleton. “We love Robert Patrick. We studied his performance as a Terminator and think he’s a fantastic actor and we have talked about him a lot. We don’t know what we have for him, but love him as an actor. We have talked about having echoes of the films in a lot of ways, including actors from previous movies.”
Of course, the big question is, if the TV show is successful and the new film franchise takes off, could the TV timeline ultimately fold into the film timeline at some point.
“What we’re trying to do with the TV show is make the best series we can,” says Middleton.
“Right now, the T4 movie has not been made. We can’t really coordinate the two in terms of 'the show progression vs. the movie progression,' but I’m not ruling it out.”