I think many of you are missing the point of this particular exercise. I’m trying to point out that these are terrible ideas that should never be applauded. A violent exploitation sequel to Manos? Be serious.
And yes, I know that all of these ideas are, without fail, based on some other existing series. I told you, my creativity is completely sapped. Lacking original ideas, the only thoughts I have are slipshod attempts to resurrect or repair already-perished franchises. I lack the ability to create anything new.
That being said, here’s how I’d utterly ruin Terminator!
At first, I was thinking something along the lines of “John Connor must die” to save the franchise. From the beginning, the series has been somewhat shackled to the belief that John Connor is this mythical “chosen one” who would rally the last remnants of humanity and lead them against the machines. It’s a cool idea, but perhaps something that’s better left to the imagination. I was, to be blunt, unimpressed with the way Terminator Salvation portrayed Connor as humanity’s savior. Why was he so highly-regarded? What made him such a big damn hero as opposed to the others? Because he gave useless advice to people on the radio? Please. We only know he’s the savior of humanity because people from the future told us that he is.
And that’s what killed John Connor. More assuredly than a T-800 shooting his mother between the eyes, knowledge of Judgment Day irrevocably changed the future. It gave Sarah and John forewarning, allowed them to prepare, and set into motion a chain of events radically different than the original timeline. More terminators were sent back, people died, and John was a completely different person than he was in the original timeline when Judgment Day came around. In fact, when John destroyed Cyberdyne, he delayed the original Judgment Day and the timeline really took it in the ass. Now we’re talking about a completely different war, where Connor might not have been important to the war effort at all!
John Connor was a dead man whether Kyle Reese went back in time or not. You could argue that John would never have been born without the time paradox, but that’s the nature of a time paradox; it’s impossible to find the endpoint of a circle, and it had to start somewhere.
Here’s the real truth about John Connor, the first time around, before any robots were sent back to screw the timeline up: he singlehandedly held an assault base perimeter against a sustained, night-long attack when infiltrator terminators killed nearly everyone else on sentry duty. If not for Connor raising the alarm and holding the perimeter for hours against those insane odds, thousands of refugees might have been overrun and killed. Connor became a symbol of heroism, of courage, and of hope. His name became a rallying cry to inspire others to heroic acts, and his voice on the radio inspired fanatical loyalty and suicidal obedience.
He died about six months later.
He died when HKs plasma bombed his command post two years before Skynet even figured out time travel. Skynet didn’t even know Connor had been killed. Neither did most of the Resistance– there’s no way in hell Resistance Command would let that bit of news out.
Look. John Connor was a great warrior, and an inspiring commander. But he was just a man like any other soldier. He was a hero, no doubt, but let’s face it, he got lucky, and Command exploited his name and embellished his story to legendary proportions because the Resistance needed to boost morale. Things were looking hopeless, and Connor was just the kind of story people could latch onto. But really, it could have been anyone.
In fact, that’s the point. He could be anyone. John Connor is a name and a voice, nothing more. He’s the Uncle Sam on recruiting posters. Right now, HQ has about six John Connors running around whipping the troops into shape, leading forlorn hopes into suicide missions. John Connors are dying all the time. Your average Resistance fighter doesn’t know what he looks like; it’s not like he’s on TV. All they might have heard is that he has a scar over his eye, so when Command sends a guy over to lead them and says it’s Connor, who are they to argue?
Skynet doesn’t know what’s hitting it; it doesn’t have the creativity to think that the Resistance might have created a fictional character. It doesn’t know anything about the value of symbolism or the hope Connor inspires in people. To Skynet, this John Connor bastard is everywhere, and he has to die.
Skynet is wasting its time, chasing a phantom and wasting invaluable resources on a target it believes is pivotal to the human war effort. That suits Resistance Command just fine. The longer Skynet devotes resources to killing a dead man, playing whack-a-mole with the half-dozen Connors in the present, the more unfocused it is and unprepared when the Resistance finishes its preparations to strike its final blow.