I’ll give this to the Terminator franchise: it’s about as unkillable and unwavering as its namesake. A couple days ago, we learned that Tim Miller’s reboot, which has James Cameron on board as a producer, is set to film this summer. Today, Variety reports that Mackenzie Davis has landed a key role, and will star alongside franchise veterans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. Per Variety, “Davis would be the face of the rebooted franchise, in the vein of Hamilton’s character Sarah Connor in the first two movies that Cameron directed. Sources say Davis has been the studio and Miller’s top choice for a while, but the casting needed sign off from Cameron, who is currently filming the Avatar sequels.” THR adds that Davis’ character is a soldier-assassin, and that the true lead is a Latina character who would be the main character of an intended trilogy.
I’ve got no problem with Davis, who seems to have been on the verge of a breakout since her critically acclaimed performances in Halt and Catch Fire and Black Mirror as well as supporting roles in tentpoles like The Martian and Blade Runner 2049. The larger issue is whether or not the Terminator franchise still functions, and if there’s really anything left to say with the killer robots. The concept behind the Terminator movies seems to be that since they were popular movies at one point, they will continue to be popular movies if a studio just has the right take on the material. I would counter that fans of the first two movies have now soured on the property and that it hasn’t picked up any new fans in almost 20 years.
That being said, I think it’s a wise move to hand off the series to a new character rather than continuing to get stuck in the interminable John Connor-Sarah Connor-Kyle Reese loop that has doomed other entries. Those characters had their shot, and it wasn’t a matter of finding different actors or different timelines. People just didn’t care, so it’s better to maybe create a new heroine for a new era, and Davis should be a good choice for that.
The new Terminator opens July 26, 2019. Davis will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s Tully and the Amblin thriller The Turning.