Two years ago, the Terminator franchise was in deep trouble. After the failure of Terminator Salvation, the rights to the series itself were tied up in legal limbo as lethal as the Judgment Day warzones. While studios like Sony Pictures and Lionsgate were bidding to own the post-apocalyptic action-adventure films, Arkansas film distribution center Hannover House decided to bypass the entire auction mess and go ahead and announce their own Terminator film: the 3D CGI-animated reboot Terminator 3000.
The CEO of Hannover House, Eric Parkinson, had decades earlier served as the CEO of Hemdale Home Video, the video distribution center that handled the home video release of the original 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator. Parkinson believed that his new company still retained some rights to the original film and took the opportunity to annonce their own new film. The film (which was aiming for a PG-13 rating) would be centered around the characters introduced in the original film (i.e. Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, and The Terminator). Eventually, the company in charge of selling the Terminator rights, hedge fund Pacificor, sent this message to Hannover House:
Please be advised that developing, producing, marketing or in any other way utilising characters and situations which are part of the Terminator franchise infringes upon and interferes with Pacificor's ownership rights.
Apparently, that has not stopped Hannover House's plans for Terminator 3000. Fansite TheArnoldFans.com managed to contact Parkinson and ask about the project. Parkinson surprisingly confirmed the film was still in development with Annapurna Films (the current owner of the Terminator rights):
It’s in the time being in the hands of Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Productions, whether or not they want to proceed. We reached out to them, communicated with her council and expressed our outline with the basic story structure with the proposed principal creative team and how it can be financed and how Annapurna Productions can make a lot of money with upfront licensing. But there are issues at play that I am not privy to. I think that most people are aware of how long this ticking bomb that this Terminator licensing exists before it goes back to James Cameron.
Of course, one of the biggest detractions from Terminator Salvation was the lack of Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger (his digitally-scanned face had appeared on a T-800 prototype for a brief moment in Salvation). Although Schwarzenegger is too old to believably play a powerful cyborg, an animated film would be an interesting way of having Schwarzenegger reprise his most famous role. Parkinson claims that he has communicated with Schwarzenegger:
I had the opportunity to talk about it with Arnold at the MidCOM Market, when they announced his proposed cartoon series (The Governator). So I was there and he remembered me from Hemdale and I told him, I am still trying to develop an animated thing (T3K), but that’s about when the bad news came out. But my feeling is, he is and will always be one of the biggest stars in the world. I think he’d do the voice of the T-800 in this proposed Terminator 3000. We’re excited about it, and we think it makes perfect sense and with all due respect to Arnold, I think this would be another great and quick way for him to get another movie out with just a short time in a recording studio."
How Arnold will appear in the film was also discussed:
[We] can create a character of him in his absolute peak. What we have in mind is something very similar to what Cameron utilized in Avatar in that we would use motion capture to create the base files of the bulk performers, including The Terminator. But yeah, it would be more of a 3D style motion capture proposed to live actors.
The most important aspect of Terminator 3000 is the story, and while Parkinson is still mute on story details, he says that all is being done to craft a well-made Terminator film:
We have a good outline. We have a great story, and we potentially don’t want to turn it into a script now, because there’s going to be some creative input and we don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner and say, no, we envision it a different way. But we’ve got a pretty good framework for what we think will work. Who knows if this concept fits their overall plan for the franchise? Personally, I think it’s kicks-ass and would be a boost to the Terminator brand by introducing a new generation of viewers.
While personally I'm not too crazy about another PG-13 Terminator film, a motion-capture Terminator does appeal to me. If they can somehow get their hands on similar mo-cap technology (which would be crazy expensive), it sounds like it would work. Would you be glad to see Arnold back?
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