Free Sequel: Terminator 5

The Free Sequel idea: A sequel is inevitable, certain requirements are in the mix, and we want the best movie we can get while meeting those requirements. Full-on reboots are off the table but sequels that pass proverbial torches are allowed. These are not complete treatments. These are sketches.

This time: Terminator 5.

Requirement: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Requirement: Follow after Terminator: Salvation

Pitch: The war against Skynet rages on in the ravaged future. Humanity’s got some broken bones but is on its feet. Skynet has developed is plasma-rifle technology but we’ve stolen enough of them we can use to keep up the war effort. With John Connor’s reputation growing, he and a small group of believers in his time-travel story know that their success in the war is a matter of not fucking up the decisions he’s destined to make—a matter of not giving up the fight.

On this bleak battlefield, Connor discovers one of the Terminator design and production facilities where human skin and blood are grown. In this facility he finds living humans who have been used as the blueprints for Terminators. One of these survivors wears a familiar face—that of the Terminator that Connor knew back in 1991 (Schwarzenegger).

After verifying that these people are not Terminators themselves, Connor frees them, knowing now that there are Terminators based on these people roaming the land. Connor sets out to warn the resistance about these faces, to reveal the Terminators in their midst.

But all is not right with these survivors and, before long, Connor and his people discover frightening new information about Skynet’s reach and ambition. Ultimately, Connor must face his fate: is he sure he’s got his future history right? Can he leave humans to suffer now so he can win the war later?

In the finale, [Schwarzenegger] and Connor deal a painful blow to Skynet that serves to rally the human resistance to new levels of passion and organization. That leaves one more movie for Connor and his Tech-Com soldiers to smash Skynet and use her time-travel technology to save the world. Go forth, Connor, and make your fate.

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comments ( 2 )

  • ReplyRyan Macklin 5 Nov 2012

    All the past Terminator movies have had as their through-line saving someone of future importance. Are you breaking that here on purpose, or is that a casualty of making a sequel work?

    (Note: I don’t see that element as sacrosanct, just interesting.)

    – Ryan

  • ReplyWill 25 Nov 2012

    Sorry, I missed this when you posted it. The element of the Terminator/protector relationships in the existing Terminator films is something I’d actually feel comfortable ditching for the future-war era. In the time-travel movies, protecting humanity means protect a particular human. In the future-war movies, protecting Reese doesn’t quite work (I think it fails in Salvation) and the issue at hand isn’t protecting a human but the surviving remnants of humanity. That alteration to the dynamic is important.

    There’s a neat riff on this idea, though, if you bring in a character who dies to protect Connor under the belief that only he can save humanity (maybe this character believes in the Connor mythology, maybe not) and that Connor’s future is not fixed—or that the fixed future requires this character’s sacrifice. If Connor and this character can question the role of others around him in the timeline and then have the character’s death address (but not necessarily answer) the question of what it takes to fulfill fate… that’s interesting to me. That character could believe the future depends on saving Connor while another character believes that fate will take care of it and that Connor’s effectively invincible.

    But, to your original point, we could have a charming inversion of the dynamic if the goal of Terminator 5 is to protect Arnold’s human character as part of a future-war mission to smash (part of) Skynet. I would feel comfortable abandoning that chase-picture killer/protector dynamic for the sake of making the future-war stories work, if that’s what it took, though.