With very few exceptions, reboots and remakes don’t usually please the masses for film or TV. Myself, I consider Battlestar Galactica to be one of the few truly successful TV franchises to be rebooted, considering it’s now known life as 5 different series, and is currently in development for a full on film. The Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles was one of the few times a film franchise had traversed to TV series, and with a healthy measure of success and critical acclaim. Star Trek (09) was pretty damn successful at the box office, albeit many hardcore Trek fans didn’t care for it, it HAS brought a completely new influx of potential fans to the classic series(s). Planet of The Apes had ALREADY had a ‘reboot’, which was horrible, until the 2012 version with James Franco; successful enough to have a sequel coming out later this year. Total Recall and Dredd were both rebooted as well in the past three years, doing not-so-well at the box office, but mustering a HUGE and vocal fanbase.
How lucky are we to have not one, but TWO new versions of Terminator being worked on right now? Ok, so maybe you don’t care for reboots/prequels/sequels, but when it’s for something with so much possibility as the Terminator world, I’m all for it. Especially when it’s being written/developed by a writer I have the utmost confidence in. Ashley E. Miller most recently penned screenplays for Branagh’s Thor, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, tv shows Fringe, Andromeda, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
At WonderCon and San Diego Comic Con, you can find Ashley sitting on any number of panels, usually sponsored by GEEK Magazine and the most entertaining of the weekend (Starship Smackdown might just be my favorite panel ever, check it out at SDCC). But this particular time, it was during an hour slot dedicated to the films of 1984, one of which being Terminator. Considering Miller’s experience in the Terminator world, I was completely thrilled when his name was attached to the new TV series that happens to coincide with the upcoming film from Alan Taylor Terminator: Genesis, which started it’s principal photography on Monday.
While we’re still not sure on details, how the reboot film and subsequent TV show will connect with each other, we DO have a quote from Ashley during the Geek Magazine 1984 panel at WonderCon this past weekend detailing what the original film franchise was, why it worked, and why it continues to resonate with audiences and creators so many years later:
Ashley E. Miller: “The uninitiated believe it works because Jim Cameron is an amazing action director. The action in Terminator and in T2 pound for pound dollar for dollar is astounding. But that’s NOT why it works, that’s not why we’re still talking about it today, that’s not why 30 years later we’re still talking about what other stories exist in that universe. Why is that resonate, why does it matter? The reason we’re still having this conversation is two fold. One, on an emotional level, the BEST Terminator stories have always been love stories. The Terminator was boy meets girl, under the weirdest possible circumstances, but really it’s boy meets girl, and yeah, it’s creepy as shit, but that scene, where Kyle Reese is looking at that picture, John Connor gave him a picture of his MOM. But we go with it, because it’s romantic as hell, and we watch Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor fall in love, and we understand WHY. We understand why Kyle Reese has come back through time, “I’ve come back for YOU, Sarah,” and there’s no better reason. He doesn’t talk about the plot, he doesn’t talk about stopping Sky-Net, he doesn’t talk about any of that. He talks about Sarah Connor because of who she is, what she is and represents and more than that in his head. And in reality, because of his experience with her, he’s fallen in love with her. T2 is also a love story, but it’s different. It’s a boy and his dog. I mean IT’S AN INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS DOG, and it has an austrian accent and that’s weird, but it’s like E.T. but with lots of guns and violence. It’s still at it’s core about an emotional connection. And we follow both of those movies through the chase structure and all that and it’s great, but we follow because we care about the people at the center, we care about those people because THEY care about each other. And when you really boil down what the Terminator is about, what the franchise is about- [Moderator: Shoulder pads!] Oh yeah! Everything totally comes down to shoulder pads and amazing hair. I mean, holy. Shit. Sarah Connor can stop bullets with what’s happenin’ up here (mimes her trademark 80s hairstyle). I mean she can spoof the Terminator radar with it, but it doesn’t matter. We love it because those two people love each other. [Moderator: And you love it because it’s the gift that keeps on giving.] Well, yeah, I mean it pays my bills. But *I* love it as a storyteller, because you can tell stories all day long about people who have lost everything, and are just looking for something to connect to, and as audience members, we resonate to that. We resonate to Kyle Reese and to Sarah, and we watch her lose everything and search for something to hold onto. And it’s real. And it’s emotional. And it’s this big sci fi action piece with a goddamn stop action killer robot, and it works, because it’s about something that simple and elemental. And if every sci fi movie was that awesome, well. Yeah, you know.”