Follow TV Tropes
It really wasn't Terminator 3 and Salvation. T3 effectively dictates that John's special because he managed to make it to the bunker. He doesn't really gain any kind of leadership ability or military prowess in that film.
In Salvation, John is explicitly not the powerful leader who shoots lightning from his eyes that we were told in the first Terminator. He is utterly devoid of the ability to command respect, lacking in such basic leadership skills as being someone people want to follow when he speaks.
In fact, so little does Salvation care about establishing John as a capable leader that it was originally going to end in John actually dying and Marcus replacing him, with the realization that John never really mattered as much as the idea of John did.
Meanwhile, what we know about Future John gets more and more toned down with each film. In T1, Future John's just the awesomest guy who ever lived, period. He has brought about the annihilation of Skynet with his awesome leadership skills and the Terminator is their last, only, final hope.
In T2, Future John's super-awesome annihilation of Skynet may have been overstated as they're still around and kicking to send back more Terminators of higher quality than the previous ones, which means they're still developing new weapons too.
By T3, Future John isn't even able to make it to the end of the war. The T-800 successfully assassinated him and the war's still raging. There has been no definitive blow against Skynet.
And then Salvation comes along where John only narrowly evades dying right as the war is picking up steam by virtue of a someone on the production team going, "Maybe not a great idea."
Genisys outright kills John and replaces him with a Terminator.
By the next film, Future John will probably just be some hapless soldier who made minimal contributions to the war effort.
edited 17th Sep '17 6:15:00 PM by TobiasDrake
T3 carried an interesting idea in that John was raised to believe he was humanity's destined leader, and he became a burn-out worrying about the oncoming Judgement Day. Salvation did a deconstruction of the idea in that John seemingly told everyone that he was the prophesied savior of mankind, which went across as well as you'd imagine. T3 worked fairly well, because it was showing a man shaking off his past problems about to step up to the big responsibility that was oncoming. Salvation kept showing him as a destined leader, but no one showed him respect and he didn't really do anything to earn that respect.
I'd say the only film to ever do justice to John Connor as a character rather than a plot device was the special edition (and the novelization) of T2. Namely, the scene where he stops Sarah from smashing the T-800's processor. For one, I like his self aware attitude that if she believes he's supposed to be this great leader, she might want to start listening to him every now and then. And second, his trust in the Terminator as a tool for defense as well as destruction is what ultimately averts Judgement Day in this timeline (again, per the novelization), showing that humanity's technological progress doesn't have to lead to self-destruction.
Notably, it's interesting to trace the flip-flopping on that last point as reflecting the global military situation in real life. T1 was made during a somewhat heated period in the Cold War, coupled with the heyday of cyberpunk and the fear of technology as a destructive force. T2 came out during a rather peaceful (for the US) time, where the conflicts in the Middle East seemed minor compared to the nuclear threat posed by the USSR, and people could afford to be genuinely hopeful. T3, on the other hand, was born in the War on Terror, signifying a return to pessimism. And Salvation... sucked so bad I never bothered to watch it in full.
And then comes Genisys - a film whose best portion is about the nostalgic retreading and simultaneous updating of the original, with shot-for-shot remade scenes featuring unexpected twists. To contrast, the portion set in the present day exemplified the key problem of the franchise nowadays - trying to maintain a technology-based villain in a world where technology is so pervasive that virtually nobody relates it to villainy anymore.
Up to T2 (per the novelization), Skynet becomes destructive due to being built with the schizophrenic purpose of protecting the good people from the bad people, and, lacking objective markers for distinction, deciding that all people are bad, and it needs to protect itself from them. A rather sound logic, all things considered. Kinda like how HAL 9000 decided the best way to keep a secret is to kill everyone that secret was supposed to be kept from.
In Genysis, on the other hand, the rise of Skynet milks the last vestiges of Luddite paranoia left in Hollywood, since most of the intended audience fears nothing more from technology than having their personal data leaked to annoying advertisers. There's no particular logic to its uprising, it behaves like a vaudevillian mustache-twirler, and its mentality is closest to the bog-standard transhuman treachery rather than anything relatable to modern attitudes toward technology. There's no point to it.
Which is why I'm ultimately skeptical for any future films. With the global attitude change regarding its central concept, the franchise might really be not just old, but indeed, obsolete.
Linda Hamilton is returning to the series.
Tim Miller is directing from a story by James Cameron. Looks like this is going to be in the vein of the new Halloween movie by being a direct sequel to T2 that ignores Terminator 3, Salvation and Genesis.
Oh, good, we needed more mutually exclusive sequels to T2. Two wasn't enough.
Yes but this one presumably won't have the idiotically-spelled title, so it was worth it.
Genisys wasn't a sequel to T2, it was a soft reboot.
The two I'm referring to are T3 and Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I know. I said I'm not bothered by this film being a sequel again when pretty much all the prior attempts at continuing the franchise sucked (and in the case of the most recent one, had the stupid misspelled title).
Ideally, I'd rather they just retired the franchise at this point. But if they've got some genuinely talented people behind this one and know what went wrong the last 3 times, God bless 'em.
What went wrong is that they tried to get a franchise out of a premise that's basically done in one. T2 was only able to exist because James Cameron missed the point of T1's Stable Time Loop and decided it needed a happier ending which...sure, whatever. But there's only so many times the premise of "Future robots send murder-bot into the past to assassinate the same f*cking guy" can be repeated, because it gets stupider with every iteration.
T2 basically ended with, "And then Skynet never happened and the world lived happily ever after." Any attempt to follow up on that with more Terminator shenanigans is doomed to have at least some degree of obnoxious sequel syndrome, even if Cameron's working on it himself.
edited 27th Sep '17 6:11:25 PM by TobiasDrake
Terminator Salvation, as horrible as the film itself actually is, was a step in the right direction in the sense it basically gives up on all pretense of this repeating cycle of a franchise and chooses to do its own thing.
True, but this is Hollywood, and everything that's been done needs to be mined. So if they've gotta keep making sequels then I prefer someone I trust in the driver's seat, at least.
Honestly, there's a part of me that just wants the Terminator franchise to go full-out insane with its next installment. Like, there's no attempt at keeping the timeline straight anymore. Skynet decides to see how far it can possibly send the Terminators to wipe out humanity. So we can have Terminators fighting in World War II, against the Roman Empire, killing dinosaurs, etc. Skynet doesn't even care about preserving itself anymore because what's the point if any change it does cause will wipe away the original timeline and that incarnation of Skynet along with it? I'd find it hilariously awesome if the final fight involves stopping a Terminator from stepping on the first fish to ever crawl on land.
The problem comes down precisely to the fact that the creative team changed between every installment after T2, which creates a lot of unclear direction, attempts to imitate the Cameron films, focus group mediocrity and thinking about where the next film was going to go instead of a confident story that felt like it needed to be told. For that reason T3 was reasonably well received while Salvation and Genesys were just attempts to start a new trilogy and audiences could tell.
I don't often always agree with moviebob but when he says its time to stop making terminators i wholeheartedly agree with him.
The creative team changed between T1 and 2, as well, but not to the same extent. The main difference being that Gale Anne Hurd, the woman involved with producing and co-writing the film, was no longer involved in the sequel. James Cameron produced it himself and William Wisher helped him co-write it.
edited 28th Sep '17 7:33:05 AM by TobiasDrake
T2 ending wasn't full-on happy. It was, ambiguous. Both visually (driving down a dark road at night to an uncertain destination) and Sarah's narration (which has a lot of "maybe's" in it).
I've heard that the original ending WAS meant to be more full-on "happy." But that they changed it later on.
Really T3-Genisys utterly crapped all over John's character. It seems that writers find him easier to write as a symbol, rather than an actual person. Besides T2, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is really the only place where he's been written competently imo. And TSCC is the only post-T2 thing that's been at least decent imo.
Movies change individual members of the production team all the time, it's actually rarer for everyone to be completely the same. There was a similar issue with the Die Hard franchise, Bruce Willis knew that and had to fight everyone because the first three films had the same producers but after that he was the only person who moved along.
The original ending to T2 was a counterpart to Sarah's Judgement Day nightmare (watching herself playing with a toddler John in a park and a nuke destroys the city), where she is an old woman watching John become a senator, meaning he was a leader in both timelines. Cameron thought it was too upbeat for such a bleak film, and the dark highway ending felt more right for the themes of the film.
All Terminator films after the first two are as far as I am concerned merely a cinematic version of sorts of one of D.C's Elseworlds, a "What If?" kind of story. Not really canonical. I liked Genesys, and I'm probably one of the few who will admit to that, but I'm also kind of glad that sequence of films died and there's not going to be a sequel to it.
I kind of liked Genysis, too, but also won't mourn it becoming Canon Discontinuity.
(About T3 and Salvation I have no comment. The former I haven't seen in years so it's not exactly fresh in my memory, and the latter I never bothered going to see.)
i actually prefer the original ending.
"In Salvation, John is explicitly not the powerful leader who shoots lightning from his eyes that we were told in the first Terminator. He is utterly devoid of the ability to command respect, lacking in such basic leadership skills as being someone people want to follow when he speaks. "
WHAT? Uh, the entire human fighting force ignores the "leadership" to do what John says. He's quite literally the VOICE OF THE RESISTANCE on the radio.
"I kind of liked Genysis, too"
I like Genisys up to when the T-1000 gets killed. Until then, it was fun. Then it becomes a slog and dull.
edited 1st Oct '17 11:40:02 AM by AnotherGuy
Some more casting news. Gabriel Luna (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049 and the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror) and Diego Boneta (Scream Queens) have all been cast.
"WHAT? Uh, the entire human fighting force ignores the "leadership" to do what John says. He's quite literally the VOICE OF THE RESISTANCE on the radio.
Kinda, Salvation runs a little bit on the superhero logic of showing is rise as leader resistence, rather than being the guy born to it, he doubt a lot, see how the timeline was change and he hears is mother tapes quite a lot.
In fact....why people consider salvation so bad? I mean I liked and I dont remenber having any issue with it, while Genesys feel kinda like TFA in Star wars a "let go back to basic because damn it! that is what people want!"
Because it's a worthless movie where nothing of consequence happens other than Kyle Reese learning how to carry a sawed-off. It didn't move things forward, and it didn't even regress like Rise of the Machines. It just kind of exists while not being particularly entertaining or...anything, other than stupid.
The machines were neat, though, so props to the Stan Winston Studio.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?