After three movies and one TV series without them, the original Terminator dream team is reuniting for an as-yet-untitled sixth installment in the franchise. James Cameron announced at a private event Tuesday night that the original Sarah Connor, Linda Hamilton, will join Arnold Schwarzenegger for the next chapter in the Skynet saga currently scheduled to premiere in 2019.
Cameron made headlines (and not in a good way) last month when he unfavorably compared Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman to the female action stars of his films. We should have sensed then that he was, perhaps, priming the pump for this Hamilton announcement when instead of leaning on Sigourney Weaver’s slightly more well-known Ellen Ripley (a part famously written for a man), Cameron brought up Sarah Connor.
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” Cameron told The Guardian. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie, but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious,” Cameron continues. “I mean, half the audience is female!”
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins swiftly responded to Cameron’s criticism with a statement that concluded: “I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress.”
Now Cameron is responding to her, in a way, by announcing the return of the 60-year-old Hamilton to the role that sent the women of 1991 scurrying to the nearest pull-up bar. “There are 50-year-old, 60-year-old guys out there killing bad guys,” Cameron said according to The Hollywood Reporter, “but there isn’t an example of that for women.” Wonder Woman stars Robin Wright (51) and Connie Nielsen (52) might disagree, but Cameron certainly has a point when it comes to lead roles. Five years after it was first announced, the proposed Expendabelles answer to The Expendables franchise still hasn’t gotten off the ground.
But will Hamilton be the lead? After all that age-positive messaging, Cameron did say that Hamilton and Schwarzenegger will serve to pass on the franchise to a new generation of talent. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story. We still fold time. We will have characters from the future and the present. There will be mostly new characters but we’ll have Arnold and Linda’s characters to anchor it.”
Though the original team of Schwarzenegger and Hamilton will be back in front of the camera, it will be Deadpool’s Tim Miller, instead of Cameron, directing this time around. Still, this is the first time producer Cameron, who has reportedly been patiently waiting for the Terminator rights to revert back to him, will be involved in the franchise he created since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
The story belongs to Cameron and there’s no word yet on how much retconning of the previous non-Cameron installments (which involved plenty of time-travel-inspired retconning themselves) will be involved. According to THR, Miller and Cameron are treating this film as a direct sequel to Judgment Day. But the story (and potentially an entire trilogy) was also born out of a think tank writer’s room (not wholly uncommon for franchises these days) that also included Josh Friedman who created the well-regarded spin-off TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles starring Lena Headey in the title role of badass mom extraordinaire. David Goyer (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight) and Charles Eglee (Dark Angel) were also in the room where this new rise of the Skynet machines happened.
According to Schwarzenegger, filming will start on the new adventures of Sarah and potentially John Connor as well as whatever terminator model Arnold is playing in March 2018.