ComingSoon.net has your exclusive first look at images from Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future, written by David S. Cohen and featuring a foreword by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Insight Editions’ new coffee-table book follows the creative journey of the filmmakers behind this game-changing new adventure as they set out to reset the Terminator story while paying affectionate homage to James Cameron’s original films.
Illustrated with striking concept art and candid photography from the set, Skydance Productions’ Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future tells the complete story of the making of the film, from the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the role that made him an icon, to the action-packed shoot and groundbreaking special effects. Featuring interviews with key members of the cast and crew, including director Alan Taylor, producers David Ellison and Dana Goldberg, and stars Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney, Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future is the ultimate insider’s guide to the most thrilling Terminator adventure yet.
In Terminator Genisys, the filmmakers felt it was time to build upon each of the iconic aspects of the saga. “Everything is about getting an upgrade,” says visual effects producer Shari Hanson in the book. “The time-travel sphere gets an upgrade. Arnold gets an upgrade. John Connor is an upgrade. The T-1000 gets an upgrade. Even our endoskeletons got an upgrade.” In the new film, there were three opportunities for never-before-seen effects: the digitally youthful Arnold Schwarzenegger “synthespian,” the Schwarzenegger vs. Schwarzenegger fight scene, and the new T-3000 that would be the film’s main villain.
The Future War sequence was always expected to rely heavily on visual effects, but Hanson calls the sequence “extraordinarily difficult.” First, it featured a crucial moment in the Terminator mythos—when Reese and John Connor finally beat down the machines and discover the Time Displacement Device—that had never been depicted on-screen before, so fans would have high expectations.
Second, despite the enormous effort that was put into shooting the Future War, the visual effects team would have to add enormous scope and scale to the battle. The battle scenes had flying Hunter-Killers, Spider Tanks, helicopters, and armies of resistance fighters, plus thousands of T-800 endoskeletons, fighting on a battlefield miles across, all of which would have to be created digitally. “You’re taking the part that was filmed,” says Hanson, “and it’s a postage stamp in a shot that’s actually a hundred times larger.”
MPC’s visual effects supervisor, Sheldon Stopsack, oversaw the creation of the Spider Tanks, a new weapon in the machines’ arsenal. “A Spider Tank is a four-legged robotic machine that acts more like an advanced ground troop,” he says. “It is certainly bigger than the endoskeleton, certainly more complex in terms of its firepower and its size and its agility.” Spider Tanks are actually integrated into the familiar, flying Hunter-Killers that were introduced in The Terminator. “Certain Hunter-Killers have a Spider Tank mounted on the belly as part of their armor basically and are able to drop these wherever needed to get them engaged into the ground battle.”
In the Future War battle, the Hunter-Killers engage a fleet of helicopters piloted by the resistance. In a full-on war movie, the production might have paid to rent those helicopters or at least some of them. But for a single scene, it made more sense to let the visual effects team add both the helicopters and the Hunter-Killers.