James Cameron is writing Terminator 7, but there’s one big challenge that’s getting in the way. Released in 2019, Terminator: Dark Fate was an attempt at relaunching the long-running sci-fi/action franchise via a legacy sequel, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton returning alongside a cast of young actors. The attempt largely failed unfortunately, as the film grossed just $261 million on a reported budget of $185-196 million. After Dark Fate met its somewhat dark box office fate, the Terminator franchise went into seeming deep-freeze, with Schwarzenegger recently proclaiming that he is done with the series for good.
Schwarzenegger’s Terminator director Cameron is not done with the series however, and in fact has been working on another Terminator sequel, as he just confirmed. But according to Cameron, there’s one big obstacle that’s gotten in the way of his continuing work on Terminator 7. Speaking to the crowd at a Dell Tech World conference (via @rcmercado), the filmmaker said he started writing a new Terminator three months ago, but paused because he wants to see how things develop with real-world AI before he goes any further.
Terminator 7 Will Focus More On AI Than Cyborgs
AI has always been a major part of the Terminator mix thanks to Skynet, the self-aware super-intelligent system that is the series’ true antagonist. Previous Terminator films always kept Skynet in the background however, focusing instead on the cyborg assassins the system is constantly sending back in time to alter the past. That will all change with Terminator 7 though, as Cameron says the new movie will be more about the AI. As he told the Smartless podcast in 2022, “If I were to do another ‘Terminator’ film and maybe try and to launch that franchise again … I would make it much more about the AI side of it than bad robots gone crazy.”
Even in the few months since Cameron made those remarks, developments in AI have accelerated to the point where now, even the daring director of the Terminator and Avatar films has had to put a pause on his writing process in order to catch up. Given that AI advancement seemingly won’t be slowing down any time soon, it’s fair to wonder if Cameron ever can catch up to the point where whatever Terminator 7 script he writes won’t be doomed to almost instant obsolescence. Indeed, all sci-fi writers of 2023 face the same problem: technology is going so fast that even the most imaginative minds are struggling to stay ahead of the game. This new reality is indeed more frightening than any bad robot gone crazy.