And now for a bit of narcissism. If you’ve watched my appearance on Diego Crespo’s Wafflepress YouTube Channel you will have seen me give this sequel pitch and descend into a fit of manic laughter. If you haven’t watched it, then strap in.
I have been vocal about my opinion concerning the need for sequels to the first two Terminator films, and my opinion is that no sequel is needed. However, if a sequel had to be made, I would like to pitch my idea for a perfect (or at least very good) Terminator sequel.
Terminator 3: No Fate
The only way to follow T2 is to go into the future. Taking inspiration from Kyle Reese’s speech in The Terminator, we begin in a work camp set in the future. The last surviving humans are being worked to death, loading bodies into disposal units, and helping to build plants for Skynet. Kyle is our hero here, and it’s clear that hope is running out for the human race. Enter John Connor, the same age as Kyle, and he’s a man with a plan. He inspires the stragglers, and they storm the wires and escape the camps.
What follows is pretty standard. John rallies his troops, weeds out a traitor or two, encounters the first batch of Terminator models (and then, later, the first T-800s and T-1000s), and gradually turns the tide of the war.
The element that makes this movie stand out, though, is established in the dynamic held between John and Kyle, which is wholly unique. Imagine meeting your own father when he was your age, and having him worship you like a God. You are teaching him to be a better person and fighter, and the lessons you teach him he will pass on to your mother, who in turn will pass them back on to you. You can’t let him know your relationship to him, as it is imperative that you make him fall in love with your mother based only upon a photograph you give him and the stories that you tell him about her. In the right hands, that kind of story is ripe for some clever writing and some great character analysis.
Eventually the rebels will storm one of Skynet’s labs only to discover them sending the T-800 from the first film back in time to kill Sarah Connor. Predictably, Kyle Reese volunteers for the suicide mission, and John realizes he will need to send his father/best friend back into the past to die and there’s no way around it. Again, done well, that’s emotive as fuck. So Kyle goes back in time, and the movie ends.
Except as the credits begin to roll, we hear alarms, and the movie continues. The rebels run down a corridor just in time to see the T-1000 get sent back in time to the 1990s.
“What are we gonna do,” shouts one of John’s grunts.,,
“Follow me,” says John.
John leads them to a huge warehouse, full of rows-upon-rows of inanimate T-800s that spreads out into an infinite distance.
“We’ve got work to do,” intones John.
Ba-bom bom-ba-bom, ba-bom bom-ba-bom.
Now, the best thing about this pitch (especially considering the time travel trickery of the franchise), is that it makes for a trilogy viewing order that becomes quite fluid. The movies can be watched numerically, while also allowing for a third film that could also be seen and understood as a prequel. In addition, T3 can stand as a sequel to The Terminator, and a prequel to T2, meaning these films could also be seen with the third installment falling in the middle of the trilogy.
And that, my friends, is all the proof you need that I may have lost my mind.
Since writing this, I have seen Terminator Genisys, and am happy to see some of the elements I’ve been looking for in the weirdness of the Connor-Reese relationship, particularly in the opening scenes.