Yesterday we reported that an animator had made an open pitch to current Terminator rights owner Skydance Productions with a new direction for the Terminator franchise. It was called “Extermination”, a visually stunning animated trailer that explored humanity’s struggles after the John Connor led Resistance won the war against the machines. Today we had an opportunity to talk with the man behind this trailer, creator Bruce Stirling John Knox, to discuss the genesis of his vision for the Terminator franchise… and what he hoped to accomplish with it.
SKYNET’S ARMY : What inspired you to create “Extermination”? Where did the idea come from?
BRUCE : My predilection toward the original Terminator film began young. A reverence toward the unstoppable force of death. I had seen it as a cautionary tale, and the underlying message was one of human tragedy. That was what had attracted me, it was the concept. Like my Alienated pitch from 2011, I had no intention on focusing on past characters, it was the setting that had potential. It was centered around those primal human concerns of extreme isolation, the fear of the dark, and being trapped in a hostile environment. It’s the simplest ideas that inspire me, however, the more violent the better.
Shakespeare and Israel were two major influences. I was in Israel for the first time in April 2015, when I wrote down the initial concept. That’s why Jerusalem is featured at the end of the trailer. It’s there that I saw how finely balanced these opposing cultures faced each other, and broke down on a regular basis. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Julius Caesar were a major inspiration for the plot: war, betrayal, good intentions vs human nature, in a no-win situation. Psychical and psychological aspects of conflict have always been my source of creativity.
SKYNET’S ARMY : The events of the trailer occur in 2047, long after the events Terminator fans are familiar with and seemingly absent of iconic characters like John Connor and the T-800 Model 101. Is this where you feel the franchise needs to move to in order to stay relevant?
BRUCE : The concept of the end of the world should never be limited to one protagonist or one group. For the enemy (the machines) are the only element that should remain constant. The plot of “Extermination” has nothing to do with John Connor. There is a type of T-800, but no Arnold flesh. These infiltration units all have unique meat-disguises.
Limiting a franchise to one character like Connor, or one face like Arnold only degrades the integrity of the story, and insults the audience.
SKYNET’S ARMY : Towards the end of the trailer, there are some visually horrifying endoskeletons that are seemingly hybrids, made of metal and bone. Can you elaborate on what we’re seeing?
BRUCE : If you leave a person (or a machine) to think for themselves for too long, they might just go insane.
SKYNET’S ARMY : Interesting! Have you been able to present this pitch to the current Terminator rights holder Skydance Productions yet?
BRUCE : Of course not. It’s impossible gaining any direct contact within big production houses unless you have a foot in the door with some serious contacts… That’s why I made this pitch: as a BIG FOOT to reach out and trip over someone in the right place.
SKYNET’S ARMY : Is the ultimate goal to get your vision realized cinematically via live action, or an animation feature? And would you be open to your concept being applied to a television series?
BRUCE : I know when approaching anyone with a pitch you need your parameters clearly defined. So this is a 2D animated feature film pitch. That said however, I see nothing wrong with a live-action version. If it were to become a TV series, then 2D would be best. And I have even heard people suggest it should be a game. I am open to possibilities, but I would not tolerate dumbing it down or making a kids show.
We at SKYNET’S ARMY : Terminator Fans United would like to thank Bruce Stirling John Knox for discussing “Extermination” with us. We hope Skydance gives him a chance to present his vision and bring it to fruition.
We’ll be back.