Los Angeles (E! Online) - The Terminator is making good on its coming-back word. The Governator, not so much.
The Halcyon Company has announced plans to revive the cyborg-battling movie series with at least three more films, after the production company purchased all rights to the dormant franchise for an undisclosed, though likely eight-figure, sum.
But while Halcyon founders Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson are looking to begin preproduction on Terminator 4 as soon as possible, they will do so without a leading man. Or man-machine.
Plot details for the fourth film have been kept under tight wraps, though are said to pick up with John Connor, heir to the rebellion, in his thirties, leading the remainder of the human race in its ever-worsening battle against the machines. As the film will mark the beginning of a new trilogy, rather than a continuation of the previous three installments, its unlikely that the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will even take part in the film reinvention, other than perhaps a cameo.
Of course, there are other reasons why the Ah-nuld won't be featured on the big screen. He has a bit of a schedule conflict due to matters of a more gubernatorial nature.
T4 has already been fast-tracked for production, with Halcyon looking to get the installment in theaters by summer 2009. As it is, Schwarzenegger will be leading the state of California through 2011.
While a spokeswoman for the governor asserts that "no law says he couldn't" star in the reimagined flick if he wanted to, the project was nonetheless "not even on his radar."
Still, the franchise's new minders aren't worried about extending the brand beyond Arnie.
"With T3, we included many incidental details and plot points that, along with the ain narrative, set the stage for an entirely new set of inter-related stories covering the future adventures of John Connor and the Terminators," producer Moritz Borman said. "This new Terminator trilogy will build upon the already huge worldwide Terminator fan base, which was both revitalized and expanded with the global success of T3."
In fact, T3, along with T2 and, well, plain old T, have grossed just over $1 billion worldwide since Terminator was first released in 1984.
"The Terminator franchise represents by far the most popular and successful franchise not owned by a major studio," Kubicek said. "We see this global franchise as a cornerstone of Halcyon's future business plans."
A very large cornerstone.
In addition to the big-screen cyborg saga, the company snapped up all future merchandising and licensing rights to the franchise, future revenue generated by T3: Rise of the Machines and a portion of the rights to an almost guaranteed TV series based on the films.
Warned Bros. has already filmed a pilot for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, an hourlong show based around the Terminator character and mythology surrounding the movies. According to Variety, Fox has already expressed interest in the project, and could opt to pick up the series at next week's upfronts, when the fall prime-time schedules are unveiled.