“We can’t talk about Arnold, but perhaps in not talking about Arnold I’ve said it all as far as what our plans are. Let’s just say there may be some surprises...”
Not a straight yes, but as good as. Pending future casting announcements, where director McG (yes, he's *really* called that) can enlighten us further is the film's timeframe: “You know, this is the future the fans had been clamouring for,” he tells Total Film from the set of T4, aka Terminator Salvation (not aka The Future Begins).
“It's not Logan’s Run and spaceships and one-piece jumpsuits and Farrah Fawcett hairdos. It’s a dirty, difficult future.”
Aiming to do for the Terminator franchise what Nolan and Bale have done for Batman, McG has taken that series’ star and decamped to Albuquerque, New Mexico – where local residents will be thrilled to discover he’s been busy re-imagining its barren wastelands as a vision of a post-apocalyptic future.
“We’d only ever seen films that were present day and then Terminators from 2029 and beyond,” he says. “What about that space between, the space between judgment day and 2029?”
What indeed. Set in 2018, McG is looking at Terminator Salvation as the first of a trilogy that will initially depict John Connor’s rise from the silos to his place as leader of the resistance, but also plot the technical evolution that led to the creation of Arnie’s forceful T-800 and Robert Patrick’s fluid T-1000.
“We’re going to see what Skynet had to go through with all the different machine expressions on their way to the T-800 and it’s not pretty.”
By way of demonstration, he leads us into an edit bay and screens a few heavy-on-the-action clips, including the scene where Bale as John Connor and Sam Worthington as Marcus first come face-to-face.
“I tell you, that’s going to be my favourite scene in the whole movie,” he says, spinning round in his chair. “I couldn’t have a better John Connor than Christian Bale – there’s no actor alive I would prefer to have in those shoes – and I’m very, very pleased with Sam Worthington.”