Why “Terminator 7” Can’t Reboot the Franchise Timeline

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The Terminator movie series needs a fresh start, but Terminator 7 can’t afford to reboot the entire franchise timeline once again. From the point of view of the plot, the Terminator films were originally uncomplicated blockbusters, since the series began in 1984 with the Terminator. However, as the franchise evolved and its reviews gradually got worse, the Terminator timeline became completely impossible as retcons and reboots tried to bring back the luster of the early Terminator films.

After the 2009 post-apocalyptic war drama “Terminator: Salvation” failed with critics, the creators of the franchise made the sensible decision to reboot the entire timeline of the series and follow the remade incarnation of Sarah Connor and the new version of the Terminator. However, Terminator: Genesis lost its original director, Justin Lin, and became a tonally inconsistent and overly complex addition to the franchise. This problem prompted the next sequel, 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fates, to reboot the franchise’s already rebooted timeline, creating a third, new story for the series.

By topic: “It’s too late for Terminator 7 to bring back John Connor”

Almost inevitably, Terminator: Dark Fate’s third timeline proved even less successful in winning over critics than Terminator: Genisys. With each new timeline, the events of the Terminator sequels became less impressive, as it was clear that the series could just start over if someone important died. The Terminator franchise has used the timeline reboot trick too often, making it harder for viewers to care about any version of the main characters. While “Terminator: Genesis” killing John Connor could be tragic, “Terminator: Dark Fates” killing another John Connor in an unrelated timeline smacked of desperation. Thus, Terminator 7 cannot reboot the timeline for the third time, as it will undermine the original films even more than before.

The Terminator franchise has a history of confusing timelines

Both “Terminator: Genesis” and “Terminator: Dark Fates” began their action by abandoning the canon of earlier sequels and following a new timeline, which gave the franchise two separate attempts to reinvent itself. In both cases, the sequels soon got bogged down in convoluted stories that turned out to be complex remakes of the original Terminator films with several new twists. While “Terminator: Dark Fates Rev-9” could have been a memorable villain, the character was trapped in a movie that felt like a facsimile of a facsimile. Similarly, it was difficult for viewers of Terminator: Genesis to invest in Sarah Connor’s new invention by Emilia Clarke, since the film also showed her son John Connor’s new invention along with a new version of the T-800.

As a result, the Terminator franchise needs a fresh start, but ironically, for a time—travel-focused series, a new timeline is the worst way to ensure that. This has already been proven twice by the most recent films in the series, and the new Terminator 7 can only succeed by providing an original look at the series with new characters, rather than inserting remade, rebooted repeats of the same formula. If “Terminator 7” does come out, the “Terminator” reboot should replace everything except the original franchise timeline.

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