James Cameron In Talks to Reboot Terminator Franchise

By Savannah Sanders Updated:
James Cameron Terminator

Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron is interested in rebooting one of his original franchises.

In addition to directing the Avatar franchise, the highly-successful Aliens, and a sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien, the blockbuster director built upon his Terminator film with the much-beloved Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991. 

While that particular franchise has fallen short in the 30 years since then, new comments from Cameron suggest that, in true Terminator form, he'll be back. 

James Cameron to Relaunch Terminator Again?

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In talking with Will Arnett on his Smartless podcast, James Cameron revealed that rebooting his Terminator franchise "is in discussion." 

The director shared this bit of information in talking about Avatar 2's use of technology and how that contrasts with the message of his Terminator films.

In fact, his own association with technology, both behind the camera and on the big screen, is known within the scientific communities as well. 

According to Cameron, whenever he raises his hand at an AI scientific seminar, he's referred to as "that Skynet guy:"

"Oh, absolutely, well, I'm not afraid, but I'm certainly pretty concerned about the potential for misuse of AI. I think AI can be great. I also think it could, you know, it could literally be the end of the world. I mean, you talk to all of the AI scientists, and I know a bunch of them. Every time I put my hand up at one of their seminars, they just start laughing, 'Oh, that's that Skynet guy, yeah, sure, we really wanna hear from you,' right?"

The director went on to point out that "the point is that no technology has ever not been weaponized," and even joked that AI could've already taken over, explaining "how absurd everything is right now:"

"And you know the point is that no technology has ever not been weaponized, and do we really wanna be fighting something smarter than us that isn't us on our own world? I don't think so. I mean, look, an AI could have taken over the world and already be manipulating it and we just don't know because it would have control over all the media and everything, and what better explanation for how absurd everything is right now because nothing makes a damn bit of sense to me I don't know about you guys."

When asked if he feels a responsibility in terms of these themes, the filmmaker noted he's not dealing with AI in Avatar but would with Terminator if he tried "to launch that franchise again, which is in discussion:"

"Well, I mean, the Avatar films are about the environment. I'm not dealing with AI, you know. If I were to do another 'Terminator' film and maybe try to launch that franchise again, which is in discussion, but nothing has been decided, I would make it much more about the AI side of it than kind of bad robots gone crazy."

Will Fans Need AI to Understand Terminator Canon?

While there are six Terminator films in total, James Cameron only directed the original 1984 film and its 1991 sequel. 

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, and Terminator Genisys have all attempted to continue and/or reboot the franchise, but with little success. 

Cameron was creatively involved with 2019's Terminator: Dark Fate, which ignored all of the films following 1991's Judgement Day and which reunited Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor with Arnold Schwarzenegger's titular machine. 

However, the film failed to perform and was deemed a failure. 

Given the franchise's complicated timeline and multiple attempts at a reboot, it's surprising that Cameron is interested in trying again. It's even more surprising since he has ideas for Avatar films beyond the 2024 threequel, which would keep him incredibly busy with one franchise alone.

However, for Terminator fans, this is good news as it means new hope for the franchise. 

Also, since Cameron has yet to have a filmmaker other than himself churn out a quality sequel, perhaps a directing credit - and one that doesn't involve Pandora - may be in his future.

Avatar: The Way of Water is playing in theaters worldwide.

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.