SDCC: Live Bloggin’ the Terminator Salvation Panel! (Updated!)

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Warner Bros. Pictures is presenting director McG’s Terminator Salvation at the San Diego Comic-Con right now and we’ll be bringing you updates as the panel goes on, so be sure to refresh often for the latest! Opening May 22, 2009, the anticipated film stars Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin (he plays the young Kyle Reese, who was played by Michael Biehn in the first movie), Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Jadagrace and Helena Bonham Carter.

In Hall H and getting ready for the panel to begin.. they have a 12 foot tall moving model of the new Terminator with glowing red eyes on stage next to the moderator’s podium… see the pictures below!!

Josh Horwitz from MTV News just took the podium to moderate the panel and he just introduced director McG.

McG is telling the people in the audience that they listened to the fans before making the picture and that he talked to James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzegger, and had the designs by the late Stan Winston, plus it’s written by Jonathan Nolan who just co-wrote The Dark Knight. He talked about hiring Christian Bale to add credibility to the fourth movie by having him play John Connor. He says they’ve been through a lot in the deserts of New Mexico and that he’s doing a great job.

They say that they’re going to just make the picture and worry about the picture and then worry about what the rating is after they finish making it. It could be Rated R, could be PG-13, but not they’re making it for a specific rating. McG just got on the phone to call Christian Bale, who’s in Japan to promote The Dark Knight and couldn’t be at the panel. They’re about to show some footage. There was a lot to watch and describe so that’s coming soon, but they just brought out the cast including Common, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood and Sam Worthington.

McG was just asked about whether this is a war movie but this takes place in the near future in the year 2018 and we’ll see the state of the war at that period.

He said that one of the reasons they wanted to do the movie is to show some new tech including “Harvesters,” “Hydrobots” and others. We saw the claw of the Harvester in the footage which crashes through the ceiling of a building and grabs someone. Still have to write up the footage but it’s really hard to keep up since this panel is moving very fast.

McG hinted that the T-100 model is a part of the mythology of Terminator which means we might see a cameo from Arnold? Hmmm….

He’s saying that they’re hoping to do with Terminator what Chris Nolan did with Batman Begins and they’re not too worried about the Sarah Connor television show and they’re doing their best to honor the previous three movies but it’s more important for them to tell a good story. He suggested that there was misinformation deliberately leaked about the end of the movie to throw people off.

Anton Yelchin is talking about the development of Kyle Reese to become the guy played by Michael Biehn in the first movie and that the “hellish environment” is what contributed to the man he would become.

They’re showing footage and there’s so much that it’s hard to describe what’s all going on, but it starts with what looks like a helicopter crash with a body lying next to it, and as the radio calls “Bravo 10, Bravo 10,” we see that it’s Christian Bale’s John Connor who gets up and then there’s another scene of Bale confronting Sam Worthington and Bale says, “You’ll kill everyone in the room,” and the response is “Not everyone… just you.”

The images were of the desert and warfare, looking a lot like “The Road Warrior” with lots of vehicles, Christian Bale flying through the air on a motorcycle. It’s a desolate place and a lot of the scenes are of Bale and Moon Bloodgood being chased by Terminator machine gun fire and a close-up of the Terminator foot crushing a skull. Connor is confused and has no idea what’s going on but we see Anton Yelchin’s Kyle Reese say to him, “Come with me if you want to live.” Connor asks him “What day? What year?” and he’s told “Judgment Day happened.” Otherwise, it’s a lot of really fast images, very hard to keep up with although we do see a giant mechanical hand crashing through a ceiling and grabbing someone which we learn later is a Harvester.

(More footage description coming.)

Someone dressed like Robert Patrick’s T-1000 just held up a picture of Edward Furlong and asked if anyone had seen that boy.

Sam Worthington said that they were filming at Skynet this morning and we would see what it would look like in the year 2018.

McG introduced original “Terminator” producer Gale Anne Hurd, who was in the audience for the panel, and he now just asked a guy who’s talking like Arnold to ask his question from the podium… and he’s joined by someone in the audience dressed like Sarah Connor and the T-1000… this panel just got surreal.

McG says that Stan Winston and him have been friends for a long time and that he was so key to the design of the Terminator in the movie.

McG says that in the movie you’ll see a lot of the T-600 which is one of the original models which is easy to spot because it’s more of a robot and the T-800 is the first one that started looking human.

“We wanted to make it feel like giant Soviet tanks crushing everything in their path,” McG added.

Most of the footage shown earlier takes place in the desert and we see lots of exploding cars and one shot of Bale in the rain covered in what looks like oil. There’s a voice-over “This isn’t the future my mother told me about” and later, we’re back to the confrontation between Bale and Worthington and Bale tells him, “You tried to kill my mother, you killed my father, you will not kill me.” The footage ended with a lot of fast-cut images with the words “The”, “End” and “Begins” and there’s an image of a Terminator claw on Bale’s face as he lies on the ground. (It’s amazing they have so much footage already to show, considering they’re only halfway through photography.)

McG just said that they wanted Common and Moon Bloodgood to show that not everyone in charge in this future is white and they wanted to add some ethnicity. It sounds like most of the actors are part of the resistance and Common is in charge of it. Moon plays a pilot who takes John to this outpost where he meets the other characters, while Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kate Connor, John’s wife, who the T-800 is trying to kill. McG mentioned that she gets to fire some pump shotgun action ala Sarah Connor in the movie. Common’s talking about how excited he is to be in a Terminator movie. “I’m just glad they do have a black man in the film and we have a multi-cultural ensemble in the film to save the world.”

McG says that Common’s character is John Connor’s #1 guy and described him and Kate like “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Not sure why they’ve allowed the Asian Arnold impersonator to be on stage during the whole panel adding his commentary… his name is Tim apparently and he builds roads. What the hell?

They’re showing the trailer again but McG is making everyone in the audience yell really loudly to convince him and he’s getting different sides of Hall H competing against each other to see who can yell the loudest.

McG announced that the new trailer will debut with Quantum of Solace on November 7.

That’s it! (we’ll update the footage descriptions above later).

Okay, so here’s some more description of the footage we were shown, and on seeing it again, one can get a much better idea of what’s going on in terms of the story.

Apparently, Connor was in a helicopter crash and he has no idea where or when he is, and as he walks through a desolate area lined with burnt-out cars trying to figure things out, he is first attacked by the T600’s machine gun fire. Kyle Reese shows up and saves him and they go on the run. On the second viewing, I got more of the dialogue between Bale and Worthington (who plays a resistance fighter named Marcus Wright, not the T800 as I erroneously stated earlier), and as they face off, Marcus says to Connor, “I didn’t even know your name until two days ago” and Connor tells him that they’re in the middle of a “war that’s been going on since before either of us existed.”

Part of what made me think of “The Road Warrior” was all of the footage shot out in the New Mexico desert with a car driving along the road in the distance, and in another scene, an armored truck is driving through a gauntlet of broken-down cars on a similar desert road. Reese is on the back of the truck shooting a shotgun (or other type of gun) at someone and there were lots of shots of cars and buildings blowing up, as well as images of soldiers rapelling off a cliff and a guy in a parachute caught on a telephone line.

Some more of the dialogue I caught on second viewing is that when Connor asks what year it is, Reese tells him “2018” and Connor asks “What happened here? ” to which Reese responds “Judgment Day.”

There is a few glimpses of the new machines that are being used to fight the resistance including a giant tank-like bulldozer (the tank treads grind a pile of human skulls adding to that imagery from the first movie about the future run by Skynet). The full line from Connor mentioned earlier was, “This is not the future my mother talked about. Something has changed” followed by a scene of Connor confronting a mechanical claw that looks like the face-hugger from Alien.

There was a lot of quick images of Moon Bloodgood in the footage as she’s running, punching someone and getting all into the action and towards the end of the footage, she has a great line to John Connor, “You saved us once in another future, you can save us in this one.”

It all seems very heavy and serious but it looks like it will probably be done very dramatically with lots of action ala Batman Begins and during the press conference that followed, McG mentioned that Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men was also a big influence on the movie.

We still have more stuff said by McG about the fourth “Terminator” movie from the presentation that hopefully we’ll post in a bit.