Let's face it, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is going to be the best movie of the franchise. It's one of those movies that actually outdid the original movie in almost every aspect. For some reason, we think that a franchise that was started in 1984 still needs to continue in 2019.
When The Terminator was released, audiences were amazed by the movie as a whole and even stated that Arnold was perfect for that robotic role. The action and momentum of the movie kept everyone engaged and waiting to see what happens next. It was the best start any franchise could ask for. Then, Terminator 2: Judgement Day was released in 1991. This installment blew the original out of the water and it set the standard for sequels from that point on. It had everything the audiences wanted. It had pop culture referenced throughout the entire movie, it had even more exciting action sequences and it kept audiences on the edge of their seat. One of the more common praises from that movie is the visual effects. Of course, they're nothing like today's standards, but they were amazing for that age of movies. All of a sudden, the franchise went silent. It seemed as if the story had been told and that it was etched in history for everyone to enjoy and compare to modern movies. That is until Hollywood decided to jump-start the batteries on the franchise.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003. At first, everyone was skeptical because it was a 12-year gap in the events in T2. Everyone still went to see it, but it didn't quite capture everyone's imagination as it did back in 1991. It was still fun for audiences to watch, but T2 still had that stronghold and no one was going to touch it. Could it be that James Cameron did his thing and created a movie so amazing that no one could match his directing skills? Maybe. Remember, it took Marvel nearly 4 months to take the number one spot for the biggest movie of all time previously held by James Cameron.
When a franchise doesn't do as good as it should in the third installment, that's usually a good time to call it a day and leave with your head held high. In this case, they saw the dollar signs and said, "Hey, there's still money to be made here, let's make another one!". In comes Terminator Salvation. If T3 wasn't an indication that they should stop, it should have been this one. This installment didn't garner anything near the amounts that even T3 had received. Audiences had lost interest and there wasn't anything anyone could do to save it from the critics. The main reason for this is that the story was weak and it lacked substance. Of course, the executives behind the scenes said, "Well, we didn't have Arnold in for this one, that's why we lost money. We need to bring him back so we can make money again."
Terminator Genisys was released in 2015 and this one featured something unique. It was the start of digital recreations of older characters, i.e. Arnold in 1984. This movie was a better success than the last 2 installments, but it still can't beat T2, as if that's a surprise. The executives were right about one thing, they did need Arnold to come back to breathe life back into the franchise. It still wasn't enough to break even for the movie, lacking roughly $50 million. James Cameron even tried to support the film, but his support was only there because of his friendship with Arnold. What most people won't tell you is that this movie was supposed to be the 2nd installment of a trilogy that is directly tied to the 2nd installment of the whole franchise. How the math works on that is beyond me, maybe you can figure that out...
Now, the executives are pulling out all the stops for this next installment. Terminator: Dark Fate is set to release in November and it is now preped to be the direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day. They pulled a Vince McMahon and want you to forget everything you've seen so far and just pay attention to what they're doing now. They brought back James Cameron to help produce the film and "hopefully" make this film the success they've been looking for for almost 20 years and they brought back, you guessed it, Arnold.
The question remains, should we really be putting Arnold back in the saddle? Should executives be calling him up and telling him he needs to keep playing the robot? Arnold has had an impressive career and he was even Governor of California. He is the epitome of success and a great example of the American Dream. In my book, he doesn't have anything left to prove. The executives are treating him like Vince McMahon treats his legends. He keeps calling his legends back to the ring for "One more match" and he does it as often as he can to guarantee money that he knows he will make just off their name alone. It doesn't matter how much older they are or what health they are in, he still manages to give them the right amount of money to be in the ring for 20 minutes and drive the crowd wild. The same thing is happening to Arnold before our very eyes.
Honestly, All I want Arnold to say is, "You know what, I've had a great career, I've done a lot in my life and I think I just want to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Good luck with the film. Asta la Vista, Baby." Of course, he won't be able to enjoy much of anything in California in the state that it's in, but that's a whole different conversation. It's time for Arnold to log off the franchise and move on.